The first region to be covered in this unit is Emilia Romagna, a region with one foot in the north and one in central Italy. The photograph above shows some of the vast agricultural area in the Po River Valley in Emilia Romagna.
Emilia Romagna is a major wine region even though it doesn’t have a high profile in the export market. It produces more wine than any other Italian region except Veneto. There are 2 DOCGs and 19 DOCs in Emilia Romagna, along with 9 IGPs. The primary red grape varieties grown in Emilia Romagna are Lambrusco and Sangiovese.
The region’s most famous red wine denominations are its three DOCs named after the Lambrusco grape variety. From north to south, they are Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce, Lambrusco di Sorbara, and Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro. All three produce varietal Lambrusco wines—that is, wines that are made from at least 85% Lambrusco grapes—that are always either frizzante or fully sparkling. The method of production will be described further in Unit 7 in the context of sparkling wines. Lambrusco wines can be red or rosato, dry or sweet.
In addition to DOP wine, Emilia Romagna produces a large volume of IGP wine in many types and styles—white, red, and rosato. IGP Emilia and IGP Ravenna in Emilia Romagna are two of Italy’s largest IGPs in terms of wine production. Exported IGP wines are often varietals made with international varieties.