When Rome –what we think of today as Italy– was split between west and the east, Ravenna in Romagna was the eastern Roman empire seat. With eleven UNESCO sites and plenty of Roman ruins in the unexplored areas, plus being the gastronomic and economic hub of Italy with the oldest University IN THE WORLD (Bologna), it’s no wonder in 2018, the Lonely Planet guide named Emilia-Romagna as the best place to see in Europe!
While it may be well known gastronomically, the region is less well known for its wines, which is why for this month’s Italian Food Wine Travel prompt host Susannah includes the area when she suggests “focusing on wines from those regions perhaps you know less about such as Valle d’Aosta, Lombardy or Liguria in the North, Emilia Romagna and Lazio in Central Italy or Basilicata, Molise, Calabria in the South, among others.” She invites us to investigate an area of Italy that we haven’t explored recently…but for Sue and I in Ventura, those wines can be hard to come by without a trip to Winehouse LA or shopping online!
Enter Italian Wine Ambassador and importer Sheila Donahue of Verovinogusto. I contacted her to see if she had any wines for us to write about because her US warehouse is located only a few miles from my house! More importantly, she’s based in Bologna, knows the region well, and imports a number of wines from Lombardy and Emlia-Romagna. In fact, in June we wrote about two wonderful Lambrusco that she imports from Lombardy.
Today we are also going with surprising sparklers but this time made from sangiovese and albana. According to Sheila, “Albana was a very popular varietal, going back to these Roman times. Bertinoro, which is an area known for sangiovese, actually got its name from Albana, from the daughter of a roman emperor Galla Placidia who lived in Ravenna around year 400.
She said that drinking albana was like drinking gold,
in italian ‘bere oro’ hence Bertinoro. Funny though today Bertinoro area is known for sangiovese not albana!”
The three surprising sparklers are from Terramossa, a project of two small producers in Romagna (Cantina Braschi and Podere Palazzoin) which Sheila describes as making “sparkling wines from Romagna native varietals, grapes not ordinarly made into charmat method or classic method wines. All interesting and fun, especially with the holidays coming up.”
Browse https://www.verovinogusto.com/shop to check out other wines available. In 2020, we’re looking forward to featuring the unique wines of Cantina Braschi including more Albana as well as Famoso!
We went with an easy meal because sometimes during the holidays you don’t have time to cook but you still want bubbles for a celebration! Our menu was inspired by a Thanksgiving blog post from Sheila and from these recipes by Rachel Ray.
- Langres and other cheese from Trader Joe’s, fennel salami, purchased grilled onions and peppers
- Spinach salad with apples:
one small clamshell carton (5 ounces) baby spinach, kale, chard
2 apples, cored and chopped into bitesize pieces
next time I make this I would add crumbled feta or mozzarella
dressing: 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 T apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp whole grain mustard, 1 T honey
- Pasta with pumpkin and Italian sausage
Brown 1 pound Italian sausage in 1 T olive oil. Drain oil, remove sausage.
Saute in pan 2 large shallots and 4 garlic gloves.
Add 1 bay leaf, 2 T chopped sage, 1 C white wine; bring to boil and reduce by half.
Add 1 C chicken stock and 1 can pumpkin; bring to boil.
Add sausage and 1/2 C half n half.
Toss with 1 pound cooked penne or fusilli pasta.
Serve with grated parmesan.
Terramossa – No. 01 – Vino Spumante Rose Brut – 12% alcohol SRP $21
Terramossa – No. 02 – Vino Spumante Brut – 12% alcohol SRP $21
Terramossa – No. 03 – Vino Spumante Brut – Blanc de Noir – 12% alcohol SRP $32
Terramossa – No. 01 – vino spumante rose brut – 12% alcohol SRP $21
Sample for my review consideration.
Terramossa 1 is a Rose brut charmat method made from sangiovese. Charmot is how they make prosecco.
Color: Palest rose gold
Nose: Cinnamon, like Red Hots cinnamon, nectarine, cherry, cherry blossoms, fruit trees in bloom.
Palate: Light on the palate, hints of fresh wild strawberry up front, mid palate there is cinnamon and baking spices, cleansing tangerine, maybe even pomelo on the back of the palate. Bubbles are present, but not overwhelming at all.
Pairing: With our anchovy wrapped capers it was a beautiful friendship. The wine cut the salinity of the anchovy, and the anchovy brings out a clean fresh brightness with a citrus flower essence in the wine. With the fennel salami, it was awful, there was a weird fattiness that showed up in the salami. What does make you happy with this wine is the Parmesan cheese and the mozzarella balls. I wanted a capresse salad. Great with the roasted red peppers and balsamic onions. No. 1 would love an antipasto salad. The spinach salad with the vinagarette, the apples and the spiced pecans made us so happy. The wine with our pasta brought out the nutmeg in the sauce, but so much better with the salad. A perfect first course pairing.
This would be a great greater wine and would carry through to the starter courses, appetizers and salads.
Terramossa – No. 02 – Vino Spumante Brut – 12% alcohol SRP $21
Sample for my review consideration.
Sheila says that this organic wine is “a blanc de blancs brut charmat method made from Albana (acidic) and trebbiano (fruity) which is a nice balance between the two.”
Color: A hint of pale straw
Nose: Nutmeg and vanilla, gardenia, tuberose, asian pear
Palate: Bright acidity blooms on the palate, up front waxy white flower, nutmeg and baking spices, and asian pear, mid palate, eureka lemon, and white pepper finish that hangs out with you.
Pairing: With sparkling wine made in the traditional method, you usually don’t think about pairing it with parmesan cheese, however No. 2 is the exception. It brings out a nice ripe asian pear in the wine, and a beautiful nutty sweetness in the cheese. No. 2 loves the fennel salami, bringing out lovely baking spices in the wine. The anchovy wrapped capers were very intense. It is a nice pair, but super briny, and No. 02 loves the salinity. With our Langres cheese, the flavor is earthy and nice, but the texture of the two on the palate brings on a strange creaminess. This is not a wine for Camembert cheese: it brings out such a weird bitterness in both the wine and the cheese.
We brought out some mozzarella balls to se how they would do and Bing! what a fabulous pairing.
I wanted fennel and fennel pollen with No. 2. The salad with No. 2 is a completely different experience than with No. 1. With this wine there is a lemon curd experience that is not experienced with No. 1. The pairing is rich with bright acidity. The salad with No. 2 is the star; it’s alright with the pasta, but not as exceptional as with the salad. Maybe it is the sausage that throws the wine off. It is exciting with the salad, but not as much with the pasta. It might be better with a pumpkin soup.
Terramossa – No. 3 – Vino stupante Brut – Blanc de Noir – 12% alcohol SRP $32
Sample for my review consideration.
Terramossa 3 is a traditional method made with 80% sangiovese, 20% Barbera with 36 months on the lees. Only 500 bottles were produced.
Color: A bit cloudy, pale straw, persistant bubbles rise up from the bottom of the glass.
Nose: Yeast and cotton candy is what Sue thought of right away. I found cardamon when it was first opened.
Palate: Brioche, apple, marzipan.
Pairing: I wanted this with food right away. I immediately started thinking about linguine with clam sauce and shrimp scampi. Even baked halibut in parchment paper, even chicken piccata. No.3 loved our appetizers, fantastic with the anchovy wrapped capers, great with parmesan cheese and the fennel salami. While I would not go near the roasted red peppers, Sue found them to pair quite nicely with the wine when placed on top of bread like a bruschetta. No. 3 would also be great with an antipasto salad. No. 3 was fine with the Langres but did not want to dance with the camembert at all. I wanted to stay with the Italian and thought about how great this would be with a pesto.
Sue took a bite of sausage then took a sip of the wine and thought she had “died and gone to heaven”
The fennel in the sausage is so beautiful with No. 3. The yeast in this wine with the rich creaminess of the pasta dish is perfect together. You could totally omit the sausage in this recipe to create a fantastic vegetarian meal– but it’s the sausage that really sings with No. 3.
Posts from Fellow Italian Food, Wine and Travel Lovers: Take a look below at all the great ideas for exploring Italy from the comfort of your own home. If you see this soon enough, please join our chat on Twitter at #ItalianFWT on Saturday, December 7th at 11:00am EST. We will be taking you all over Italy; our discussion topics follow. We hope you can join us!
- Jennifer from Vino Travels Italy sshares “Sangiovese from Le Marche with Agricola La Canosa”
- Wendy from A Day In The Life On the Farm adds “Venison Stew with the Hidden Gem of Sicily, Nero d’Avola”
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Cam brings “Italy Meets Argentina: Empanadas de Carne + Azienda Bisceglia Terra di Vulcano Aglianico del Vulture 2016”
- Here on Wine Predator we join with “3 Surprising Sparklers from Emilia Romagna’s Terramossa #ItalianFWT“
- Cindy from Grape Experiences will post “Montecucco – An Obscure, Delicious Slice of Tuscany”
- Linda from My Full Wine Glass writes about “Discovering Torrette from Tiny Valle d’Aosta.”
- Lynn from Savor the Harvest adds “Head to Italy’s Lazio Wine Region for Cesanese #ItalianFWT”
- Katarina from Grape Vine Adventures takes us to Calabria with “Sustainable Wines for the Curious Mind from Calabria”
- Host Susannah at Avvinare, will be posting about “Basilicata and its Viticultural Gems – #ItalianFWT”
Here’s what we will be discussing during the Twitter Chat on Dec. 7 using the hashtag #ItalianFWT:
- 11:00 am ET Q1 Welcome to the #ItalianFWT chat about Italian wines from less well known regions. Where are you tweeting from? Please introduce yourselves, share a link to your blog if you have one. Visitors too!
- 11:05 am ET Q2 Let’s start with talking about the region you are writing about, which region is it and what wine did you try? Have you ever tried a wine from this region before or your chosen grape variety? #ItalianFWT
- 11:10am ET Q3 What did you discover that surprised you about the region or the wine? Tell us a bit about your impressions. #ItalianFWT
- 11:15am ET Q4 Was it difficult to find the wine you chose for this chat? Which regions are most represented in your market? #ItalianFWT
- 11:20 am ET Q5 Tell us a bit about the wine you have chosen and whether you were surprised by it. If you had to share it with a friend, what would you compare it to so that they could understand it? #ItalianFWT
- 11:25 am ET Q6 Have you visited the region that you are writing about? What did you think of it? Any favorite experiences there? #ItalianFWT
- 11:30 am ET Q7 Did you pair your wine with food? Please tell us about your pairing and show photos. #ItalianFWT
- 11:35am ET Q8 Did you learn something new about Italy through this experience and this wine? Did it make you want to learn more about the region and your chosen grape? #ItalianFWT
- 11:40am ET Q9 If you haven’t visited yet, is the region you wrote about now on your list?. #ItalianFWT
- 11:50am ET Q10 Any last thoughts or discoveries you’d like to share in our last 10 minutes? #ItalianFWT
- 11:55pm ET Thank you for joining our chat this month about the wines from lesser known Italian regions #ItalianFW
- 12:00 pm Look out for Jeff from https://foodwineclick.com/and his invitation post for January’s #ItalianFWT called Introduce A Friend to Italian Wine
What else did we discuss in #ItalalianFWT in 2019? Here’s the 2019 #ItalianFWT Calendar with links to posts on Wine Predator (which links to everyone’s posts). I’m proud to point out that we participated every month!
- January: Camilla M. Mann hosts “Italian Wines for Cold Winter Nights” with our contribution
“4 Montepulciano Paired with Osso Bucco Warms Up Winter Italian Style plus #ItalianWFT plans for 2019”
- February: Jeff Burrows hosts “Umbria, with a focus on Sagrantino”– our post–
“Get to Know Sagrantino #ItalianFWT”
- March: I hosted a Focus on Sustainable Agricultural Practices in Italy
“La Maliosa Biodynamic Procanico and a Pasta Bar with Santa Barbara Uni and Mussels #ItalianFWT #WomensHistoryMonth”
- April: Jason Or Jill Barth hosts “Island Wines of Italy” and we contributed
“Island Wines of Italy: 3 from Sicily paired with pizza #ItalianFWT”
- May: Lynn Gowdy Marche and the Pecorino grape
“Pairing Pecorino d’Abuzzo from Ferzo: Lemon Caper Shrimp #ItalianFWT”
- June: Katarina Andersson hosts “Lambrusco” and we have
“Bugno Martino’s Organic Lambrusco Defy Expectations #ItalianFWT”
- July: Camilla M. Mann hosts “Prosecco” and we have
3 Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG and Calamari with Lemon Caper Sauce #ItalianFWT
- August: Kevin Gagnon hosts “Northeastern Italy” and we did
“Celebrating Summer with 4 Wines from the NE Mountains of Italy with 4 Vegetarian Courses #ItalianFWT”
- September – Jennifer Gentile Martin hosts “Passito Wines” and we offered
“Let Pasqua Put a Little Love in Your Life Appassimento Style #ItalianFWT”
- October – David Crowley hosts “Abruzzo” with our contribution
“Beautiful Abruzzo: 3 Montepulciano and 1 Trebbiano with simple Italian cuisine #ItalianFWT”
- November: Wendy Klik hosts “Chianti” and we have “Tasting Tuscany: Tuna, Beans, EVOO, Chianti, Vermentino #ItalianFWT”
- December: Susannah Gold hosts “Lesser Known Wine Regions of Italy (Molise, Basilicata, etc)” and we offer up “3 Surprising Sparklers from Emilia Romagna’s Terramossa”
And what’s coming up in 2020? Presently we are planning on: