According to Cristina Geminiani, Albana is “certainly the most original” variety in Emilia-Romagna, not to mention that Albana di Romagna (now Romagna Albana) was the first white D.O.C.G. in Italy.
In the glass, the wine has a pale, shimmering green-gold color, with flashes of platinum on the swirl. Aromas of ripe orchard fruit, including fresh golden apples and green pears, along with ripe honeydew, star anise, and lemon blossoms emerge when the wine is first poured, adding flat leaf parsley, lemon curd, and wet gravel, as the nose evolves in the glass.
On the palate, the wine is bright, sunny, and refreshing, with an insistent lime-citrus element that seasons the generous core of orchard fruit, and fleeting suggestion of honeycomb and just underripe pineapple. Palpable saline minerality and green peach-skin tannins mark the decidedly lemony finish, “che pulisce la bocca,” in the words of my colleague, Dr. Joseph DiLuzio.
About this wine producer: Fattoria Zerbina is named for the warm southerly wind that blows through the Marzeno Valley, where the land begins to rise towards the Apennine Mountains that divide Romagna from Tuscany. The estate was established by Vincenzo Geminiani, who purchased the farm in 1966, and immediately set out to estate-bottle his wines, rather than sell them in bulk. Quality skyrocketed when his granddaughter, Cristina Geminiani took over in 1987.
After graduating with a degree in Agronomy from the University of Milan, Cristina studied enology at the University of Bordeaux under Denis Dubourdieu, where she observed the value of high density planting of low-vigor clones, and returned to Marzeno with a passion for indigenous varieties, including Albana, Sangiovese, and the rare Ancellotta, which she calls “our region’s petit verdot”.
In the vineyards, Christina practices sustainable farming, and she takes great care to make the best choices for each plot in terms of clonal selection, vine density, and training system. The results have been stunning. “Sometimes the impact of a winery is so positive that it enriches a whole area with its quality, consistency and continuity,” according to the prestigious Gambero Rosso Wine Guide, “this is true of Fattoria Zerbina.”