Is wine producing just for men? Not in Romagna. The so called “ladies of Sangiovese”are a bunch of women, very capable and determined who, since their childhood, have developed a passion, knowledge and intimate connection with their homeland and its wine.
During our last trip in Romagna, we happened to stop at the Neri vineyard along a road heading from Cesena towards the internal hills. Here, time seems to have stop. Everything follows an ancient rhythm, connecting your soul with nature and far from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Cesena and the hills of wine
The town of the Malatesta, so it is known; a noble family of bloody mercenary leaders, which governed the area between Cesena and Rimini for a couple of centuries. They left important sign of their strength and power, like the imposing Rocca Malatestiana with its 7-meter wide walls. Dante spoke of them in his Divina Commedia. He told of the story of Paolo and Francesca who were murdered by Giovanni Malatesta because of his jealousy.
Carpineta, the heart of the Neri vineyard, is in the secluded hills of this lovely town, just a few kilometers from the sea and the colourful nightlife of the Adriatic Coast. The landscape is very similar to the rolling “waves”found in Tuscany but much greener, due to the wild trees and the many cultivations covering this area.
Not only is this area known for its wine, but also for the olives and fruit which explode in colour in spring; white and various shades of pink. Cesena is considered the capital of Fruit.
Wine and nicknames in Romagna
Neri’s story goes back to 1951 when Luigi Neri decided to grow grapes and produce wine. His nickname was Pasquinon, and as with other nicknames in Romagna, it had a special meaning. Valeria Neri is his niece. She grew up amongst the green of the grape leaves, the red of the Sangiovese grapes and the profume of vine maturing in the barrels.
Her passion naturally has led her to take over the family’s activity after her father and grandfather. The estate is one of the largest in the area, covering about 62 hectares, 21 of which are dedicated to wine. Not only Sangiovese, Trebbiano or Albana wine, but also the well-known Merlot, winner of numerous international awards.
Technology plays an important part, but the vineyard isn’t one of those high tech places where everything is aseptic and impersonal. Valeria’s touch is very visible as well as that of the wine maker who’s experience and skill result in wines full of aromas and intense in colour.
Valeria and her husband organize numerous events, both in the vineyard as well as in their home, and if the occasion arises, one shouldn’t miss out. These events are the perfect example of the “Good Life”Romagna has to offer with local foods and wines where all are welcomed as if one of the family.
Info and tips
Carpineta, Celincordia, Lizzano, Saiano are just a few of the places to visit. After a bit of shopping in the charming shops of Cesena, from the centre of town, drive towards the hills and enjoy the splendid landscape, the cool breeze of the late afternoon and stop along the way for a nice glass of wine. If interested in contacting Valeria Neri for an exclusive wine tasting, visit her website http://www.tenutaneri.com/contatti/
Photo courtesy of Tenuta Neri