With Gian Alfonso Roda, president of the Enoteca Regionale Emilia-Romagna, I got to taste a cross-section of the wines of the region in the Enoteca's castle headquarters in the little hill town of Dozza - from semi-sparkling Lambruscos to Albanas in table wine and passito versions to the Gutturnio blends of Barbera and Bonarda to Pignolettos. The Sangioveses would come later. I'm the kind of drinker who likes a large variety of wines, which means that I enjoy the diversity of E-R. It can be confusing, however, as Roda notes: "For the novice drinker, Emilia-Romagna is a little like the Forrest Gump movie - it's like opening a box of chocolates when you're not sure what you'll get."
Then there are the Dozza walls. About 50 years ago, the town of Dozza, with its stone and stucco walls and narrow streets, started a Biennale competition (the next is September 2011) in which artists from around the world execute permanent paintings in all styles and subjects on the outside walls of the locals' bedrooms and dining rooms (see below). I found it fascinating walking around, and I hope I get an invitation to come back in a 18 months. :)
Third, I got a cross-section of the region's cuisine with three pasta dishes - the passatelli ("a handful of grated bread crumbs, a handful of parmigiano reggiano and an egg" in brodo with some grated nutmeg) of Ristorante Canè in Dozza, the signature tagliatelle bolognese ("no onions, no tomatoes, no garlic") at Daniele Minarelli's Osteria Bottega in Bologna and the uovo in ravioli (an orange-hued yoke ravioli with lots of cheese and truffle slices) at the elegant San Domenico in Imola.
Then there was the diverse array of ceramics from around the world - holy and profane, ancient and modern, utilitarian and whimsical - at the International Ceramics Museum (top) in Faenza (yes, the word source of faience ceramics).
Finally, there were the tastings of barrel samples and old bottles of Sangiovese di Romagna put together by the Convito di Romagna, headed by Enrico Drei Donà, pictured below at the family estate. It is my belief that Romagna is proving itself the fourth region of great Sangiovese, moving up to conversing terms with its more-famous Tuscan neighbors.
But more about all of this later. I'll keep you posted as articles appear over the next several months. For more on the region, go to www.enotecaemiliaromagna.it/
Until the next time....