L'albana is a white grape variety characteristic of Romagna. In history, it was known as a wine of great prestige, so much so that Empress Galla Placidia, when she first tasted a cup of albana wineand proclaimed: 'Not so humbly should you be drunk, but drunk in gold, to pay homage to your suavity'. And from these words legend has it that the name of a town known for its Albana di RomagnaBertinoro.

Synonyms and clones

  • SynonymsGreek, Greek of Ancona.
  • Clonesalbana della Bagarona, albana gentile di Bertinoro, albana della Compadrona, albana della Gaiana, albana della Serra.

Albana: Characteristics

... of the plant

  • Appearance: leaf large, pentagonal, trilobed or pentalobed; upper page dark green, opaque, wrinkled or blistered and glabrous; lower page grey-green, slight downy tomentum spreading over the entire edge with conspicuous veins. Petiole short, thick and hairless.
  • Maturationlast ten days of September. Bunch cylindrical 20-25 cm long, the leaves turn yellowish.Grape medium-sized, spheroid. Peel golden yellow in colour with amber highlights. Pulp juicy with a particularly sweet simple flavour.
  • Productivityfairly good and constant everywhere, except in Marche.
  • Vigourremarkable.
  • Resistance to adversity: quite sensitive to powdery mildew and rot.
Grapevine albana leaf

... of wine produced

  • Visual examination: more or less intense straw yellow for dry wines, intense golden yellow, also with amber reflections, for late harvest or passito wines. Regardless of the type, it is always fairly consistent.
  • Olfactory examinationAlthough it is not classified as an aromatic variety, it offers sweet and rather intense aromas of broom and acacia flowers, yellow fruits such as peach and apricot, and in the case of late harvests and passito wines it is also enriched with hints of hazelnut, fig, date and honey.
  • Taste-olfactory examinationIt does not shine with freshness, with the exception of a very pleasant savouriness, because it is almost all shifted to its soft components, in particular it has a high alcohol content. The structure is always powerful and, in some cases, needs to be contained. The finish is bitter and, in raisin wines, also very persistent. In most cases it can be defined as a red wine 'disguised' as a white wine.

Cultivation zones

  • Italy: (suitable areas) Emilia-Romagna, Liguria, Marche, Tuscany, Umbria.
  • WorldBefore phylloxera it was (perhaps) cultivated in Istria, now it has disappeared.

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Albana: Italian DOCG and DOC wines where allowed

  • DOCG: Romagna Albana.
  • DOC: Reno, Romagna.
Albana grape variety bunch

Conclusion

Albana is a grape variety little known outside Emilia-Romagna, and often the Albana wine that reaches inexpert tables does not live up to expectations. In the region, although many producers are now quality-oriented, there is a great lack of homogeneity in the production of Albana di Romagna. Furthermore, there are excellent productions of Albana wine from grapes attacked by Botrytis cinerea in both passito and dry versions.

Sources:

© Ministry of Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies, National Catalogue of Vine Varieties.

© Bassi C., Sommelier: the illustrated manual, Cammeo DiVino, Monte Isola, 2022, pp. 131-132

Other white grape varieties to be studied:

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