NOELIA RICCI, Fiumana di Predappio

As much a project as an estate, the story of Noelia Ricci traces her family to 1941, when her father purchased an historic estate of 140 hectares near Predappio in the eastern part of Romagna (not far from Rimini). The history of the estate goes to the 13th century, and it’s been the site of many tragic and heroic events. During WWII, Villa Pandolfa was occupied by German forces.

In the 1970s Noelia planted vineyards and built a beautiful winery. The Villa Pandolfa wines she produced reference Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, a military leader from the 1400s who gave his name to the estate.

Finally in 2012, Noelia’s grandson Marco Cirese created the Noelia Ricci project by segregating the best 7 hectares of vineyard, and establishing a winery-within-a-winery. These vineyards, considered to be the best on the estate, are at higher elevation (250m), and give more character to the wines due to calcium-clay soil and the presence of a sulphur spring adjacent to the block. Marco’s goal is to create an estate recognized for excellence, while celebrating his family’s remarkable history in the region. Francesco Bordini (see Villa Papiano) oversees vineyards and winemaking. Minimal intervention and organic farming allow the traditional Romagna Sangiovese & Trebbiano to show their most refined, complex personalities.

Interesting fact: while Sangiovese is the signature grape of Tuscany, it’s birthplace is Romagna – the hills of the eastern portion of Emilia-Romagna.