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 the Pandolfa vineyards, 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. He brought Francesco Bordini (see Villa Papiano) to orchestrate the revitalisation of vineyards and winemaking. Paolo Salvi, cellar master at iconic Montevertine estate (and protegé of Giulio Gambelli) is now consulting, to take Noelia Ricci to the next level. Minimal intervention and organic farming allow the traditional Romagna Sangiovese & Trebbiano to show their most refined, complex personalities. The style of the wines is intended to reflect historical & traditional wines of the region, without the influence of oak to mask the terroir. Godenza is the ‘cru’, a sophisticated, structured bottling from a single vineyard at 340 metres elevation. Bro is the distinctive, mineral-driven white wine, crafted from 2 clones of Trebbiano (Trebbiano Romagnolo and Trebbiano Espagnola).

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