Emilia-Romagna is an administrative region of Northern Italy comprising the two historic regions of Emilia and Romagna. The capital is Bologna; it has an area of 20,124 km² and about 4.3 million inhabitants.
The best Emilian wine is perhaps Lambrusco, a sparkling, joyous red made from grapes grown on high trellised vines in four DOC zones in the Modena, and Reggio Emilia provinces. Lambrusco is made for consumption within the year and very few consumers abroad have tasted the wine in its authentic dry style. Most exported Lambrusco is sweet and 'amabile'. Though both types count in historical traditions, the dry variety is considered the best match for the area's rich cuisine.
In the foothills of the Apennines to the south of the region, fun-loving white wines are made from Malvasia, Trebbiano and Ortrugo as well as zesty reds which are made from Barbera and Bonarda grapes. Though in the areas of the Colli Piacentini, the Colli Bolognesi and the Colli di Parma, more serious wines are made from Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot, Barbera, Cabernet and Merlot, the majority of Emilian wines are frothy and somewhat lightweight.
In Romagna, wines are made primarily from the native Sangiovese, Trebbiano and Albana grapes. Albana di Romagna, which became Italy's first DOCG white wine in 1987, is usually dry and still with a distinctive almond undertone and finish. The traditional semisweet and bubbly version of Albana Spumante is a rich and sweet passito made from partly-dried grapes. Another Romagna white, the Trebbiano di Romagna, is often light and fresh and, whether still or bubbly, has a fragility that renders it best in its youth.
The king of Romagna wines, though, is Sangiovese, usually a robust red with pronounced fruity flavors, reminiscent of the great variety of produce and fruits gracing the area. More and more often, though, local producers of Sangiovese are making superior reserve wines of greater depth of bouquet and flavor, capable of aging gracefully.