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Albana di Romagna Wine

The white Albana di Romagna wine, which now has the D.O.C.G. label is typically produced not in the province of Rimini but in the nearby provinces of Forli and Ravenna. It’s readily available throughout Romagna to drink though, and is well worth tasting.

Fans of the wine – of whom there are many – often refer back to a great legend surrounding the Albana. It dates back to the travels of the Empress Galla Placida in Romagna sometime in the early 400s. It’s said that the Empress (the imperial seat was in Ravenna during this time) stopped unexpectedly one time and asked for some wine. A rough and ready cup of Albana di Romagna was brought to her, after the tasting of which she is reputed to have said ‘Non così umilmente ti si dovrebbe bere, bensì berti in oro, per rendere omaggio alla tua soavità!’(Not so humbly should you be drunk, rather you should be drunk in gold to pay homage to your sweet taste). From that day on, according to the legend, the wine was drunk from ornate golden goblets at the Imperial court in Ravenna, and the place where the Empress had stopped to drink was renamed Bertinoro – which is its current day name.

Aside from folklore, wine historians will tell you that the Albana grape was brought to Romagna by the Romans during their imperial expansion – the same expansion which saw Rimini founded as Ariminum. Sometimes confused with Trebbiano, with which it holds little in common, the grape takes its name from its whiteness (Albus = white in latin).

In the 13th Century writers like the Bolognese jurist Pietro Crescenzi (also known as Petrus di Crescentiis) were documenting the production and storage of Albana di Romagna. Crescenzi described it in one of his famous agricultural treatise as ‘a powerful wine with an excellent taste, but at the same time easy to be preserved’.

The wine comes in a number of varieties. The dry wine, which is perfect for fish in general, for shellfish, soups and fish broths should be served at a temperature between 10-12° celcius. It also goes well with goose liver (which figures largely in the cuisine of northern Emilia-Romagna) and with white meats.

The medium sweet, and sweet wine are best served with fruit or desserts. The Passito dessert wine is traditionally served with la ciambella – a traditional cake baked in Romagna.

One other great combination is the Albana Passito with the Formaggio di Fossa – a particularly strong local cheese, along with chestnut honey!

The wine Albana di Romagna was given official DOCG status back in 1987.

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