This week’s indigenous variety is Melara Bianco which hails from the province of Piacenza in Emilia Romagna. It is used in the denomination Colli Piacentini DOC and Vin Santo di Vigoleno. As a grape, Melara is well suited to being dried and used in sweet wines such as Vin Santo, together with other local varieties. Melara is named for its sweet aromas and flavors, reminiscent of Miele or honey. I had never heard of this particular type of Vin Santo. Apparently, there is a group of producers of this sweet wine, located in the area around the town of Vernasca. Melara together with a grape called Santa Maria must make up 60% of the grapes used in this wine while the other 40% can be a blend Bervedino, Ortrugo and Trebbiano Romagnolo. The wines are released not before 60 months or five years after the harvest and spend a minimum of 48 months in wooden barrels not larger than 500 liters. This Vin Santo was first mentioned in writings from 1826. It is one of the smallest DOCs in Italy. On the website there are seven producers listed who make this particular Vin Santo.
Emilia-Romagna has a number of DOC wines, although few that are very well known. I spent a considerable amount of time tasting wines from the Colli Piacentini while staying with friends in Bobbio, a wonderful town in the northern part of the region.