Albana is a white grape variety mostly found in the Emilia-Romagna region of central Italy, where it has been cultivated since the Thirteenth Century. Albana is light-bodied with high acidity. It's light and refreshing when made into regular dry wine, but acquires a round flavor, reminiscent of apricot and old honey, when semi-dried and made into Albana Passito. Albana di Romagna is Italy's first white DOCG wine, a very controversial choice.
The history of this grape variety unclear and confused with legend; it is believed that it was introduced to the region by the ancient Romans. The name Albana refers to the colour of the grapes (Albus = white in Latin).
In the XIII century Pier de' Crescenzi in his famous Treatise on Agriculture, describes Albana as "a powerful wine with an axcellent taste, but at the same time easy to be preserved". Also in the XIII century, agricultural writer Petrus di Crescentiis mentions the grapes used in wine being produced in the Emilia-Romagna region. In the XVIII century, the agronomist from Bologna, Vincenzo Tamara, mentioned this grape variety.
The origins of Albana di Romagna are so ancient that it is no longer easy to distinguish between history and legend. It is reported that in 435 Galla Placida, the beautiful daughter of the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II, arrived early one morning in a small village in the Romagna riding a white donkey. The princess's beauty astonished the inhabitants of the place, who, as soon as they saw her, offered her a large terracotta jug of the area's sweet and excellent wine, the Albana. Galla Placida was so taken by the wine that she remarked, "You should not drink this wine in such an humble container. Rather it should be drunk in gold (berti in oro) to render homage to its smoothness."
Since then, the village has been called Bertinoro. And, at the court of Ravenna, Albana was thereafter drunk exclusively in precious goblets. Bertinoro is today an important center for the production of Albana.
There is also a report that the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who was a guest of Countess Frangipane at Bertinoro, was another great admirer of the wine. Setting aside legend, the first historical account concerning Albana di Romagna is contained in the celebrated treatise on agriculture written by Pier de' Crescenzi of Bologna in the 13th century. The treatise contains in fact the first description of the wine and of its production area: "a potent wine with a noble flavor that is quite drinkable and moderately subtle...the best of this type of grape can be had at Forli' and throughout the Romagna."
Very popular in Emilia Romagna, was mentioned in the thirteenth century medieval author Pier de 'Crescenzi (1495). The clone is the most common Albana Gentile di Bertinoro, followed by Albania of the Serra or fork, the Albana Compadrana, Albana Albana and the Bagarona of Gaiana. Its name comes probably from the Alban Hills near Rome, but it may also derive from the quality of its wine, it was estimated that among the best made from white grapes (Albania). In the past there was also a variety of Albana grapes from blacks. It has a good strength but poor fertility of basal buds, so long pruning needs.
Emilia-Romagna region of central Italy
Viticulture and winemaking
Environmental and cultural characteristics and needs: It has large leaves, pentagonal, three-lobed or five-lobed, the cluster can be large (Gentile di Bertinoro Albana Albana and the Compadrana), elongated (Albana Serra or fork), medium-large (the Albana Bagarona ), small (of Albana Gaiana), generally sparse, rarely more compact, with one or two wings, medium berry, iron, peel, yellow-green or golden load, tending to amber, waxy, thin but consistent. It has good tolerance to spring frosts and drought. He does not like the wind, it prefers hilly clay soils, well-exposed and low to medium fertility. It has a good strength but poor fertility of basal buds, so long pruning needs.
Diseases and adversity: Tolerates quite well the major fungal diseases, is quite sensitive to Botrytis and powdery mildew, rot easily attacked by acid and esca. In case you notice biotype Albanone millerandage sweet.
Follows, by region, a list of all D.O.C. and D.O.C.G. where it is permitted to use this vine
- Albana di Romagna - 100%
- Colli Bolognesi: 60-80%
- Reno: 40-100%
- Romagna Albana Spumante: 100%
Albana is also known under the synonyms Albana a Grappo Longo, Albana a Grappolo Fitto, Albana a Grappolo Lungo, Albana a Grappolo Rado o Gentile, Albana dell'Istria (?), Albana della Forcella, Albana di Bertinoro, Albana di Bologna, Albana di Forli, Albana di Gatteo, Albana di Lugo, Albana di Montiano, Albana di Pesaro, Albana di Romagna, Albana di Terra Del Sole, Albana Gentile, Albana Gentile di Faenza, Albana Gentile di Ravenna, Albana Grossa, Albano, Albanone, Albuelis, Biancame Sinalunga, Forcella, Forcellata, Forcellina, Forcelluta, Raccia Pollone, Ribona, Riminese, and Sforcella.
There is also a rare Spanish variety called Albana.
Albana is also used as a synonym of the grape varieties Albula, Elbling, and Tempranilla.