A Deep(er) Dive Into Romagna’s Forlì

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Forlì's Poderi dal Nespoli

While Predappio Sangiovese seems to get all the media love (hey, I’m guilty!), there’s quite a bit more to the region—Forlì—that birthed Romagna’s latest potential foray into DOCG territory. During my media visit to the region last year, we braved the record-breaking Summer heat wave to sit in the presence of multiple, enormous fans and taste through a selection of wines from Forlì.

What’s notable about the general Forlì-Cesena area, apart from having a collection of impressive winemaking talent, is that the IGT permits more freedom for its producers, allowing them to stretch out beyond the varieties and methods dictated by the DOC laws governing other parts of the region.

Of course, our session featured several Predappio reds, because why wouldn’t it, but as you’ll see below, Forlì’s producers have taken full advantage of the freedom afforded to them…

crowd pleaser

2020 La Pandolfa ‘Bro’ Romagna Trebbiano, $NA

Bro! This affably named white is, well, affable. Sourced from the Pandolfo hills, and focusing on indigenous varieties, this producer pulls together two different Trebbiano clones for this semi-aromatic, Organic white. Floral, herbal, and citric, with white fig, lemon, and minerals, it’s quite friendly on the nose, while texturally complex in the mouth thanks to a bit of skin contact.

elegant

2022 Poderi dal Nespoli Orange Rubicone, $30

You knew this was coming once we said that the DOC gloves were off, right? The second vintage of this skin-contact white is honeyed, with very ripe mandarin notes on the nose. A mix of Pinot Bianco and Trebbiano, it’s clean, structured, and fruity in the mouth, with orange rind, jasmine, and exotic fruit flavors. Did I mention it was clean? YES!!

kick-ass

2019 Drei Donà Tenuta la Palazza “Magnificat” Cabernet Sauvignon, $65

Sourced from the eastern part of Predappio (see my previous coverage of this producer for more details), they’ve been doing this Cab since `88, but it now sees about 20% aging in clay amphorae. Black currant, cassis, black plum, all of it deep, meaty, and concentrated, and topped off with mint and some funk… This red is on overdrive. Balsamic, with lots of grip and wood notes, it’s not a bargain but it’s a good bet if you dig your reds full-throttle.

kick-ass

2016 Drei Dona Tenuta la Palazza Pruno Superiore Riserva Sangiovese di Romagna, $NA

Deeeeeep. Savorrrrrryyyy. Biiiiiiiiig. This single vineyard red sourced from the northern part of the subzone is powerful, muscular stuff. Black cherry, prune, dark spices, graphite, tons of grip… it never really quits its assault on your senses, but manages to do it in a way that’s totally entertaining.

elegant

2020 La Pandolfa ‘Godenza’ Sangiovese Predappio, $NA

I loved this Sangio, sourced from a single vineyard planted at 350m elevation, and made in small quantities. It’s earthy, spicy, deep, mineral, authentic, and just classic. The mouth is so well balanced, with saline, mint, dark red fruits, freshness, and enough structure to ensure a nice, long, elegant life ahead in the bottle.

kick-ass

2019 Fattoria Nicolucci ‘Predappio di Predappio Vigna del Generale’ Rosso Riserva, $35

This producer has ties to the area going back to 1885. This is their flagship red, and it delivers with savory, authentic, structured, fruity, and fresh aplomb. Black cherry fruit flavors dominate, but they’re flanked by impressive wet stone notes. Delicious.

kick-ass

2016 Fattoria Nicolucci ‘Vigna del Generale Selezione Annivers’ Romagna Sangiovese Riserva, $NA

From the same vineyard that sources their ‘Generale’ flagship comes this special edition red, a berry-by-berry hand selection meant specifically for this 1,500 bottle production run. There’s a lot going on here, with extremely savory, chewy, and grippy cassis fruit, earthy hints, minty notes, and intense minerality. And it is still a mere babe at this stage.

kick-ass

2018 Conde ‘Raggio Brusa’ Romagna Sangiovese Predappio, $NA

Even with a few years on it, this red is young, young, young. It’s also mineral, mineral, mineral. Sourced from a single Organically certified vineyard, with rocky soils, this red sees three years aging in oak casks. It has a smoky edge to it, with plummy and spicy red and black fruits. Lots of structure here, both in terms of tannins and acids. Gorgeous stuff.

Cheers!

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