Exploring Sangiovese di Romagna

Sangiovese is as we know the premier red grape variety of Central Italy. While Tuscany is the region most associated with it, Emilia Romagna is not far behind.  I love Emilia Romagna and spent a great year of my life in graduate school there at SAIS in Bologna.

Romagna Sangiovese comes from seven towns around the province of Bologna, 24 in the province of Forli/Cesena, five towns in the province of Ravenna and 19 in the province of Rimini. The Consorzio has a wealth of information on the area.

I also spent a fair number of summers on the Adriatic in Romagna at Lido degli Estensi and Lido delle Nazioni and have fond memories of many experiences in that part of the world. Not least, I am a huge fan of some musicians from Emilia Romagna, namely Vasco Rossi and the amazing Luciano Ligabue. Rockers Italian style, I feel like I am 16 when I listen to their music, check out this song from Vasco, Vivere and this one from Liga….

This I know is a wine blog, I’m getting there. On the hunt for a variety of wines from Emilia, I went to San Patrignano.

For those who don’t know San Patrignano, it is an rehabilitation facility for those with drug abuse problems. It also involves the same people in the making of various food products and wines. It is a wonderful institution that has helped over thousands of people since it started in 1978.

The wine above  is called Aulente Rosso IGT Rubicone. It ferments in stainless steel at controlled temperature to preserve the fragrance and freshness of the variety and ages in large oak barrels containing 30 hectolitres.

Emilia Romagna represents about 8% of Italian vineyards and 13% of national production. About 75% is red or rose wines and the remaining percentage are whites. The signature red variety from the area is Sangiovese di Romagna. It is similar to its Tuscan cousin but is unique as well. I find it rounded and softer than the Sangiovese from Tuscany, on the whole, often with less acidity because of the warmer soils, more clay based soils with lots of limestone and organic materials in them..

This particular wine ages for a short period of time in tonneau but not new oak. It has a relatively high alcohol content, 13.5% and would go very well with a pasta and ragu or lasagna.  A seasoned Parimigiano Reggiano or a nice plate of salumi could do the trick for summer though.

This wine is dedicated to the founder of San Patrignano, Vincenzo and is a Romagna Sangiovese DOC Superiore Riserva. The designation was created in 2011. AVi  was a nice expression of Sangiovese di Romagna with supple tannins, good acidity and red fruit and spice aromas and flavors. The wine spends eight months in traditional 30-hectolitre Slavonian oak barrels and then ages in bottle for over a year before being released into the market. I like this wine and I like to support the projects that San Patrignano undertakes. I think it is a good value for the price albeit not inexpensive. Riccardo Cotarella,  the famed oenologist, works with these wines and his touch is clear. All of his wines I find to be very polished, the opposite of rustic, these were no different.

Join the  Italian Food Wine and Travel group June 6th as we explore Sangiovese around Italy and talk about our findings during a live Twitter Chat  at 11 AM ET.  If you are a wine lover and want to learn more about Sangiovese, please join us following #ItalianFWT.

Here are the topics we will be discussing……..


  1. Thank you for such a well rounded picture of the region. Your personal experiences add so many nuanced details. The musical interlude was much appreciated and let me really experience the region as you did.
    San Patrignano sounds like a wonderful organization, I love that you chose a wine from there, and I appreciate you helping us to see a Sangiovese from outside Tuscany!

  2. Cool…I used to go to Lido delle Nazioni sometimes too…and Lido Estense when living for a couple of years in Bologna… the house of Anita Garibaldi is close by there too. 🙂 I haven’t tasted the wines of San Patrigno…but an applaudable cause.

  3. San Patrignano sounds like such an amazing institution. Thanks for sharing about it and your experience in the region. It’s so wonderful and uplifting to hear about projects like these.

  4. I’m yet to have Sangiovese from Emilia-Romagna. Thanks for the education. And I’ll bet its absolutely beautiful in the sumer.

    • Hi Martin –
      Thanks for reading. I took it to mean grapes from the Caucasus Mountains – Georgia and that area. Like Saperavi and others, that was my assumption. I don’t know much about the area and have never visited. Have you?
      Cheers friend,

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