Unlike what might be thought, Romagna did not appear on then wine-growing scene in the last 20-30 years: its history is very ancient and dates back in the mists of night.
years: its history is very ancient and dates back in the mists of night. Remains of this past are not rare: patterns related to grapevine and wine can be found in several sculptural decorations of plutei, transennae, early Christian sarcophagi which were found in various areas of Romagna, not to mention the renowned ivory throne of the archbishop Maximilian in Ravenna.It is ascertained that vine was first brought into Italy by the Greeks about one thousand years before Christ. In Romagna the first vineyards were grown by the Etruscan, who came from Central Italy bringing plants as the elm and the ash, and vines as the Albana and the Trebbiano.
During the first century before Christ a wine produced on the hills around the town of Cesena, called "Cesenate", was regarded as a top quality wine for the time being. In 1968 some Roman wine amphorae were found at Casticciano, near the town of Bertinoro: this finding makes us assume that at that time a prosperous wine production of wines existed.
Said wines were due to be shipped from Rimini, which was then the most important harbour of the Adriatic coast. The rabbi Ovadyah Yare Ben Abram, born at Bertinoro in the XVI century, writes in some letters to his brother from Israel of having seen vines grown in the same way they were grown in Bertinoro. In those times, as it is nowadays, Bertinoro wine production ought to be kept well separated from the productions which take place in the plain, east of the Via Emilia, and in some other less vocated parts of Romagna.
The totally different characteristics of soil and climate take part in definitely distinguishing the quality of the wines we produce. In our dialect wine is called "e bè", that is drinking, since there can be no other drink but the one coming from grapevine.
The characteristics of a certain wine are determined by various factors and not just by the grapes used, as they believe. An enormous influence is also due to the climate and to the soil type.
Bertinoro is rather happily sited: its geographical position enjoys constant breezes which mitigate the climate, though with heavy temperature ranges which, as everybody knows, generate the aromatic characteristics and the qualities of the wine.
The average temperatures range between 12 and 18 °C, which means that this is the ideal climate, temperate, warm enough to suitably ripen the grapes.
Rain is usually concentrated between October and March.
Climate conditions are of primary importance for the grapes ripening degree. Most of the hilly territory around Bertinoro is formed by a calcareous- marly and arenaceous compound, according to the rock of origin, and by a medium compact structure, loose or even pebbly, usually very rich in skeleton and often rather deep and fresh.
The resulting profile is very undulating: this makes drainage easier allowing the vine good agronomic conditions. Remnants of shells and other organic residues, which bound together, nowadays form a large limestone barrier, the so-called "Spungone Romagnolo". The limestone presence gives the wines, particularly the white ones, marked scents, elegance and softness, richness and structure.
Established in 1963, it belongs to the families Sirri and Casadei (nicknamed Bron and Rusèval) since 1965. Since then the accurate selection of grapes, coming from small local farms, has been giving interesting results as far as quality is concerned.
In 1985 the renovation of the vinification systems began, together with a new company philosophy: the continuous pursuit of quality and of the wine typicalness.
In 1995 the company develops the agricultural section by buying and planting new vineyards. At present we carefully select grapes coming from 39.40 ha of vineyards located in the most vocated areas of Bertinoro commune.
Bertinoro is known as the "balcony of Romagna" for its splendid view on the sea and the hills; it is also a historic village which has kept its ancient structure, with cobbled alleys and foreshortened views of the past.
The heart of Bertinoro is the large and elegant Piazza della Libertà (Square of Liberty) which on one side opens out to the plain of Romagna and on the other one lines up the Cathedral, the Town Hall, the Tower and the Column of the Rings.
Underneath the square there is the Museum-Wine Shop Cà de Bè, where the Bell of the Albana is to be found: this bronze bell, showing high relieves representing the grape harvest, was cast in 1987 when the wine Albana di Romagna was awarded the D.O.C.G.The age-old fortress dominates the hill: after a careful restoration it now houses the University Residential Centre of the Alma Mater Studiorum of Bologna and is the seat of the inter-religious museum.
Bertinoro and Romagna are a mine of oeno-gastronomic products: the "pit cheese", with unique aroma characteristics; the "squacquerone", a soft paste cheese; the "piadina", sort of local bread; the bread of Romagna; the "savor", a sort of jam made of vine most and fruit in season: nuts, pears, dried fruit, figs, candied fruit and so on; the extra virgin olive oil.
Worth mentioning is also an old pork-butcher's tradition which is revaluing the salami and the various kinds of cold meat (sausages) made from a breed of pig named the Mora Romagnola.
Bertinoro is also well-being, as the thermal baths at Fratta -for ages renowned for its water qualities- are under renovation.