Today, about 15% of the wine produced in Emilia-Romagna falls under the region's 20 or so DOC titles and only a tiny fraction under its two DOCGs (Albana di Romagna and Colli Bolognesi Classico Pignoletto).
Emilia-Romagna lies to the south of the Po River, and the fertile Po valley is the source of the region's agricultural wealth and high standard of living. Bologna is considered Italy's centre of gastronomy, and a variety of distinctive wines are cultivated in the area to match the specific flavours of local products such as Ragù Alla Bolognese (bolognese sauce) and balsamic vinegar of Modena.
The dry wines of Romagna, like Sangiovese and Albana, are not very well known among casual wine drinkers, but the signature beverage of Emilia -- Lambrusco -- was popularized by the Riunite brand and became one of the most popular American imports during the 1970s.
Emilia-Romagna's viticultural heritage dates back as far as the seventh century BC, ranking it among the older of Italy's wine regions. Vines were introduced here by the Etruscans and later adopted by the Romans.
The vine varieties used here for many centuries were of the Vitis labrusca species rather than the Vitis vinifera used around the world today; Emilia-Romagna's famous Lambrusco varieties are derived from the Vitis labrusca species.
Emilia-Romagna's wine production is divided evenly between whites and reds, the dominant vine varieties being Malvasia and Lambrusco (both in their various forms), Trebbiano, Barbera, Bonarda and of course Sangiovese. A large percentage of these grapes are used to produce sparkling wines, either frizzante or spumante, of which the most notable are from the five Lambrusco DOCs: Salamino di Santa Croce, di Sorbara, Grasparossa di Castelvetra, Modena and Reggiano.
Try a Lambrusco from Emilia- Romagna for an out of the world experience today!
Source(s): recipes.howstuffworks, jancisrobinson, wine-searcher