Emilia-Romagna is one of the most influential regions in all of Italy and is located fairly close to the northern borders of the country. The region is an amalgamation of the Emilia and Romagna regions, both of which have their place in the history of the great country. It currently plays host to more than 4 million citizens and is home to the city of Bologna.
The region is extremely influential simply because it is one of the wealthiest and most well-developed regions in Italy. In fact, it is also one of the most developed regions in all of Europe, with Bologna in particular being considered a place that allows for an extremely high quality of life in addition to maintaining social services that are a cut above those in most other cities in the country.
Furthermore, the region is also one of the cultural centres of the country, with a rich tradition in art and education. It plays host to the University of Bologna, which is the oldest university in the world, and also has plenty of Renaissance era architecture and artwork for tourists to enjoy. Couple that with the fact that it is also the place where such famous vehicles as Ferraris and Lamborghinis are made and it is clear why the area is both so popular and so wealthy.
Of course, like many other great regions in Italy, it is also home to a dedicated wine culture and some of the best Italian wine comes from the region. Among them are the wines produced by the Castellucio winemakers, who are fairly new on the scene of Italian wines but have quickly established themselves thanks to the quality of the wines that they produce.
History of the Castellucio Winemakers
Unlike many other great winemakers from the region, the Castellucio wine estate did not come into prominence until the 1970s. However, thanks to the guidance of renowned enologist Vittorio Fiore, it soon began to build a reputation for itself thanks to the high quality composition of its wine and the dedication that was put into growing the very best grapes.
The company prided itself on delivering high quality products using techniques that were considered both bold and innovative for the time period. This led to impressive results very quickly, with that first 6 hectares of vineyards producing such quality wines as the Sangiovese Ronco delle Ginestre and the Sauvignon Blanc Ronco del Re.
While Fiore had been heavily involved in the production of these wines, it wasn’t until the late 1990s that hetruly began to put his own personal stamp on the company as a whole. This led to his purchasing the majority share in the winemaker in 1999, alongside his brothers Ermanno and Gianmichele and his son Claudio. As Claudio is an enologist himself, it was clearly felt that the company would be in good hands for a longer period of time if it was brought into the family.
This move cemented Vittorio Fiore as one of the truly great Italian winemakers of his generations, as the respect that he had gained by acting as the consultant for wines that were produced by the estate soon gave way to genuine admiration of his talents and a growing international fame that came about because of the quality of his wines and his dedication to using innovative techniques to achieve new flavours.
The Castelluccio vineyards are located between Faenza and Forli, and are usually as high up as 750-1500 feet depending on the location of the vineyard. The region also has a close tie to that famous winemaking area of Tuscany, though the vineyards are actually located in what is no known as ‘Ancient Tuscany’.
All told the company maintains about fifty hectares of land, twelve of which are dedicated to vineyards, allowing for a fairly small level of production. However, the pure quality of the wines produced by the company more than make up for that.
This is because the land itself has been marked out as being of such a composition that it is able to facilitate growth of the Ronchi grape, which is known throughout Italy as a grape that is used in the composition of extremely high quality wines.
However, the region is perhaps best known for its Sangiovese and Sauvignon varieties, with the likes of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc all being popular grapes for the producer.
The company’s Sangiovese, in particular, has achieved a level of acclaim that extends far beyond that enjoyed by its brethren. The grape is of particular high quality thanks to the composition of the land and the wines produced there have quickly gained a reputation as being amongst the world’s best. Perhaps most famous of all of the Sangiovese wines produced in the region is the Castelluccio Sangiovese Ronco delle Ginestre 2001.
The strong and powerful taste of the Castelluccio Sangiovese Ronco delle Ginestre 2001 owes much to the land from which the grape is grown and is a reflection of the strength of the region and the quality of the workmanship that has been put into tending the vineyards and composing the perfect wine.
The wine is perhaps most notably for its ability to mature into a truly great drink, with many people choosing to age it for at least eight year before opening the bottle. In fact, it could be argued that the 2001 vintage is only now reaching its prime in terms of maturity and taste.
Once opened the wine delivers aromas and hints of pine needles, chocolate, cinnamon and various herbs and spice. It is a complex and full-bodied drink that is better taken as an accompaniment to a meal than as a light refreshment, as its complex tannins are likely to overwhelm the palette if the wine is simply consumed on its own.
Regardless, it is truly one of the great Italian wines and later vintages are proving that they can also live up to its reputation. If there is a single reason for the increasing international acclaim achieved by Vittorio Fiore, then wine like this are it.