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Al di la del Fiume Fricando


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Vintage: 2019
Region: Emilia-Romana, Italy
Viticulture: Biodynamic
Grape varieties: 100% Albana

Danila’s Fricando is an amphora fermented and macerated Albana, grown on the slopes of the Apennine Mountains. This ancient, almost unknown thick-skinned grape is native to the Bologna region just north of Marzabotto. Whole clusters are added to terracotta vessels and after a long, slow ferment in the Tuscan clay jars, the wine is bottled unfined, unfiltered, and un-sulfured, for a brightly oxidative, slightly ripe wine with herbal accents, a wonderful umami mouthfeel, and a mineral-driven finish.

Song: Take Me to the River by The Talking Heads

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This is old school wine made by Danila, Gabriele, and Adriano on a 66-acre ‘farm beyond the river’ (Al di là del Fiume) in Emilia Romagna. However, only 7.5 acres are planted with vines. Known as Elbling in Germany, the grape can be light and fruity, but Fricando Albana is at the other end of the spectrum. This is where the Old School aspect comes in. Way back in wine’s history, the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans used terracotta to make, store, and transport wine as well as olive oil and foods. Wooden barrels did not become common until the Middle Ages. Not many modern producers use amphora, but the Mongardis like the sheer simplicity and magic of stuffing a Tuscan clay jar with whole clusters of Biodynamic Albana and letting them macerate and ferment with ambient yeasts. After a long fermentation with skin contact, the orange-colored wine is bottled unfined, unfiltered, and without sulfur. Not overly funky or esoteric. Very drinkable.

Most likely the name Albana comes from white grape quality, which is considered the best of white grapes, from which “albus” (white per excellence), then Albana. Legend tells that the beautiful blonde-haired woman, Galla Placidia, in 435 BC came in the hillside village in the plain between Forlì and Cesena: impressed by so much beauty the hospitable villagers offered, in a crude terracotta jug, the sweet and strong wine of the place; she, ecstatic from the goodness of that nectar that sloped gently into veins making her happy, exclaimed: “not so humbly you should be drank, but I must drink you in gold (“berti in oro” in Italian).” Since then, according to the legend, the village where the monarch had quenched is called Bertinoro. The first who made us reach precise information on the origin of the wine was Marcus Terentius Varrone (116-27 BC), who in his “De Rustica” states that “the Etruscans drank down the vast marshes and filled in with a vast network of rivers and canals, the Po Valley where he planted trees and vines from Central Italy, like the elm, ash, albana, trebbiano, the hips, and the pergola”. In Marzabotto, home of Al di là del Fiume, stand the ruins of an ancient Etruscan city. At the time of our grandparents, it was the wine of the everyday life of the peasants.