The Italian region of Emilia-Romagna is more known for the native cuisine of the region than the wines. Parma ham, thinly sliced, is a great delicacy, while a hard crumbly chunk of Parmesan cheese is one of my favorite irresistible indulgences. Even the vinegar produced here, oak aged Aceto Balsamico di Modena, has achieved revered status amongst foodies.
But what about the wine? Emilia-Romagna is really two different regions with enough in common to be united by a hyphen. If you were to ask people in Bologna, the capital which lies between the two where they were from, most would call themselves either Emilians or Romagnans, but not both. This difference is apparent in the wines as well. Emilia to the west of Bologna is the home of Lambrusco. Yes the same wine made enormously popular in the US by Riunite.
To the east of Bologna is Romagna where the terrain is more mountainous and the Sangiovese grape is king. Just to the south of the hills of Romagna you enter Tuscany the home of Chianti and Chianti Classico. While Sangiovese di Romagna is relatively unknown to most Americans, there are some gems to be found in the region.
Drei Dona is one of those gems in the hills of Romagna. Brad Lewis and I tasted the wines of Drei Dona last year at VinItaly and were impressed by these outstanding Sangiovese-based wines.
Drei Dona is a historic estate dating back to 1481. Since 1992 the family has operated by the philosophy of sustainable/organic agriculture. Like all good farmers the main concern is to protect the soil’s natural fertility. In addition the winery runs completely on solar panels to supply electricity to the estate. All of this is great for the environment but ultimately the wines must be good.
If you are a fan of the wines of Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and even Brunello di Montelcino (the world’s greatest Sangiovese-based wines), you owe it to yourself to try Drei Dona Natturno and Drei Dona Palazza. These are passionately produced wines meant to be enjoyed tonight.
Paul Quaglini, Wine & Spirits Supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinepaulq