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Bosco Eliceo DOC: The Only Denomination Making Varietal Fortana Wines

Bosco Eliceo DOC: The Only Denomination Making Varietal Fortana Wines

Introduction

Emilia-Romagna only makes 2 DOCGs: Colli Bolognesi Classico Pignoletto and Romagna Albana DOCGs. In this case, the main grape varieties are the whites Pignoletto and Albana (a little trick, memorize the grapes’ names and you won’t need much to learn the two DOCGs!).

Both of them are indigenous varieties cultivated in Emilia-Romagna. It’s a pity that they aren’t well-known around the world. Especially because Romagna Albana was the first white DOCG in 1987.

Even more surprising is the fact that none talk about its 18 DOCs. People usually tend to focus on regions with the highest number of DOCGs (and we can’t blame them…).

However, there are 5 Italian regions with no DOCGs that are really worth your attention. We are here today to give credit to an indigenous grape variety, Fortana, and the Bosco Eliceo DOC.

Sit down and make yourself comfortable. You might like a lot what you are about to read.

Figure 1: Tagliatelle alla Bolognese and a glass of Bosco Eliceo Fortana DOC (roma.dalbolognese.it, 2017)

The Grape

This late-ripening and declining Italian red variety is particularly priced for its high yields.

The variety belongs to Emilia-Romagna, located in north-central Italy. It appeared as early as 1550 and was known as “Uva d’Oro” (“Golden Grape“). Studies suggested that the weird name for a black-berry variety may have something to do with the variety’s high yields.

The Italian census of 2000 recorded 1,109 ha of Fortana.

The Origins

The name Fortana is much more recent than the one gave in 1550. In fact, the name appeared for the first time in the 1970s and some argue for a related etymology since Fortana means “very fruitful“.

DNA profiling and ampelographic observation proved that Fortana is identical to Canina Nera and possibly is related to Lambrusco Maestri and that it could be also genetically close to Malbo Gentile from Modena (Boccacci et al., 2005).

Studies have proven that Fortana is identical to Rapa, a rare variety of the Italian-speaking Swiss canton of Ticino.

Given its original name, Uva d’Oro, some suggested that the variety may have come from the prestigious Côte d’Or. However, the hypothesis isn’t reliable and can’t be accepted fro three main reasons:

  • The parent-offspring relationship with Lambrusco Maestri and Uva Tosca;
  • The Fortana’s DNA shows no relation to that of Pinot or any Burgundian variety;
  • Fortana’s DNA clustered with many Lambrusco and other central Italian varieties in a genetic study (Boccaccio et al., 2005);
Figure 2: The vigorous bunches of Fortana (carpevinum.it, 2016)

Viticultural Characteristics

  • Late ripening (harvested the first two weeks of October);
  • Vigorous;
  • High acidity levels;
  • Medium tannin levels;
  • Medium alcohol content;
  • Susceptible to powdery mildew;

Bosco Eliceo DOC, Its Styles, And Best Producers

We will talk about Bosco Eliceo DOC because this is the one and only denomination that can make varietal Fortana wines. This is why we thought it could be insightful to give you some information regarding the grape variety first.

The area of ​​the Bosco Eliceo DOC appellation is one of the hottest of the Emilia-Romagna viticulture. However, the proximity of the sea mitigates the climate. This provides a considerable diurnal range between day and nigh-temperature, which ultimately helps retain acidity and enhance aromas.

Bosco Eliceo DOC can make several wines with different varieties such as Fortnana, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and, for the “bianco” style, Trebbiano Romagnolo, and Malvasia Bianca di Candia.

In the table below, we pointed out the characteristics of Bosco Eliceo Fortana DOC:

DOCGrapeStyles
Bosco Eliceo Fortanamin 85% Fortana

max 15% other grape varieties allowed in Emilia-Romagna
Standard

“Vivace”

“Frizzante”
Table 1: Bosco Eliceo Fortana DOC (The Wine Jokers, 2021)

Finding these wines online is nearly impossible. Some producers only make 10,000 bottles yearly indeed. Fortunately, we were in Emilia-Romagna to enjoy ourself and we managed to find some interesting wineries around Ferrara making this DOC. Hence, door-sales are the best option if you want to get one of these bottles. We tasted the wines of these two producers and we liked them (especially considering their prices!). Therefore they are the Wine Jokers recommendations:

Both of these wineries make the standard version of Bosco Eliceo DOC as well as the Frizzante style. So, consider it as an interesting alternative to the usual Lambrusco.

Figure 3: Bosco Eliceo Fortana DOC in its “Frizzante” style (tgcom24.it, 2020)

Conclusions

We like to call Emilia-Romagna “the land of approachable wines”. But why? Well, because there are positivity and happiness in every bottle of wine!

Think about Lambrusco, the fizz red wine that Italians enjoy in Summer (slightly chilled of course!). This wine, especially the dry styles, are becoming more and more popular as time goes on. Just like the sparkling Australian Shiraz… None admits they like these wines, but almost everyone does instead (we love it and we admit it though).

Once again, we hope we persuaded into trying Bosco Eliceo DOC just like we previously did when we wrote about Tintilia del Molise and Scimiscià (to mention two of them).


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