In more recent years there are many winemakers who are making their devotion to their land and their intrinsic links with the soil that bears the fruits of their labours an even more important part of the production process.
This has led to the introduction of organic and biodynamic farming methods that not only take greater care of the land that provides producers with the ability to create spectacular wines, but also allows consumers to experience the products in a way that offers them increased perspective on the terroir and what it actually brings to the process.
One of the spearheads of this shift towards more land-conscious wine production is a small producer named Zerbina, which is located right in the heart Emilia-Romagna region. Here we are going to take a look at the history of this amazing producer and one of the spectacular organic wines that they have to offer.
Zerbina was founded back in 1966, when Vincenze Geminiani made the decision to purchase the farm that carried the name. Rather than using it for the traditional farming purposes that the previous owners had dedicated the land to, he had a vision to produce amazing wines that would be of an exceptional calibre.
That vision was achieved in very short order, with the first wines to be produced by the company receiving a high level of recognition for their quality, which is something that Zerbina has taken forward in the years that followed, as shown by the numerous awards that the company has received for the quality of their wines.
However, it was not until 1987 that the company really began to make waves in the Italian wine industry. It was then that Vincenzo’s granddaughter, Cristina, took the helm of the winery. She made the decision to fully commit herself, mind, body and soul, to crafting spectacular wines that would not only honour the fine work that had been done by her grandfather over the course of the previous twenty years, but would also set the company up to move forward into the new millennium and establish itself as a force to be reckoned with in Italian wine.
She came into the endeavour with the sole objective of reaching quality levels with Sangiovese and Albana that has never been reached before. Upon being joined by her younger brother, also named Vincenzo, Cristina began the work that would help her to realise her vision. With his business savvy allowing for all of the administrative and financial work surrounding the winery to be completed, Cristina was free to focus on her work and slowly moved the vineyards to organic production methods over time.
Since that time, the company has become renowned for making a number of amazing innovations in the field of viticulture, helping it to stand out as one of the most creative winemakers in the entire industry.
Their work with Sangiovese involved the planting of the first gobelet-trained, head-pruned, high density vineyard. While this is something that is being adopted by other producers in the current age, Zerbina spearheaded the idea and were able to experiment with a wide variety of clonal selections from Tuscany and Romagna as a result, offering their wines a level of quality that others were not able to provide at the time.
Their work with Albana is equally impressive. As a grape that was more known for being easy to cultivate in large quantities than it was the quality of wines that it produced, Albana had not really developed a reputation as a grape that you would find in many fine wines. Cristina was able to change that perception by returning to the ways of noble rot, allowing Zerbina to harvest the grape in successive passages throughout the vineyards. This allowed for the quality to be increased, while still allowing for the quantity that has been the grape’s most impressive feature over the years.
With the work done in establishing the two grapes that mean the most to the Zerbina winery, the company has most recently been focusing on creating unique blends. Their Marzieno wine is an excellent example, as it combines the elegant Sangiovese that the company has become renowned for with Cabernet Sauvignon to create a wine of truly spectacular quality.
Of course, the move towards organic farming methods has also been massively influential when it comes to the quality of the wines that the company is able to produce.
Cristina and the team at Zerbina are truly connected to their vines and the secret voice that they communicate with. This has led them to adopting techniques that ensure the vines are as nourished and protected as possible, which also allows their grapes to be bolstered by a natural quality that is absent in many non-organic variants.
It was a tough choice in terms of determining which of Zerbina’s wines should be given a spotlight on the Xtrawine blog, but we eventually picked a vintage that demonstrates both the company’s efforts to change the perception surrounding the Albana grape and its continued commitment to organic farming methods.
The Fattoria Zerbina Albana Passita AR 0.375L 2010 can, in many ways, be seen as the culmination of the hard work and dedication that Cristina Geminiani ane the team at Zerbina have put into their work.
This stunning still white carries a golden yellow colouring with just the slightest hints of amber, though it really comes into its own when the bottle is opened and it is poured.
To the nose if features rich and intense flavours, but the true elegance comes in the more subtle notes. Attentive drinkers will be able to pick out aromas of dried fruits and citrus amongst the many wonderful scents on offer.
Of course, it is the taste test that matters most to wine lovers, and this wine passes it with flying colours. Featuring a full body that carries with it a broad freshness, the wine is a perfect refresher after a busy day. The lingering notes of bitter orange that round off the package are just the final reward granted to drinkers but this exceptional wine.