As a spectator of the wines from Emilia Romagna for a few years, and an importer for the last couple, I can say with reasonable confidence that this region is going places in the world of fine wine. The fact that ER doesn’t have years of legacy as its famous Tuscan counterpart does is, I believe, a blessing in the digital age of 2016. Now the area is able to craft its own future, shining the light on both its unique microclimates and clone of Sangiovese, rather than raffia bottles and questionable DOCG classifications. That is precisely the aim of Tenuta Pandolfa with their Noelia Ricci label; wines driven by the vineyard.
Around 4 years ago, the winery decided to convert the 8ha dedicated to Noelia Ricci to fully sustainable practices, first through integrated farming and most recently (just this year) a full schedule of biodynamic farming using only organic fertilisers and pest control. Winemaker at Tenuta Pandolfa, Francesco Bordini says of the conversion, 'We would love to be faster, but nature takes time and it is part of our seriousness go with it’. He tells us that the soil needs time to recover its fertility and its microbiological activity, not over weeks or months but over years. Thus, 2016 will see the first year of truly natural winemaking, where the wines in vintages preceding it were the incredible products of this gradual conversion.
So incredible were they, that the Cru Sangiovese Godenza was one of only six Sangiovese di Romagna wines to win Tre Bicchieri in Gambero Rosso’s 2017 guide. That is reason enough to be taking the wines of Noelia Ricci seriously not only on the local stage, but also on the international one. Godenza took up the mantle from Il Sangiovese, effectively the junior red wine, which won it the year prior. A lot can be said for the validity of these awards, however most respected commentators do place the annual Vini d’Italia guide from Gambero Rosso at the top of the (growing) pile of Italian wine publications. It, along with the huge response we’ve had so far from these wines, is enough justification for us to really believe that Emilia Romagna’s wines are here to stay