The Geography of a Great Wine

The story of Noelia Ricci began in 1941, when Noelia’s father purchased a 13th century estate near Predappio in the eastern part of Romagna. Predappio is an historic region for Sangiovese, with wine production as far back as 1383, and one that is remarkable for its unique soils, hilly environment and strict quality rules for winemaking, including lower yields, longer aging and wines made exclusively from Sangiovese. The most interesting vineyard sites in the region are located high on the hillside, more than 250 metres above sea level, in Predappio Alta, San Zeno, Rocca delle Caminate and San Cristoforo, where you will find Noelia Ricci’s vineyards.

The soil here is rich in minerals, a combination of three different geologic matrixes: fossil-rich biocalcarenite from Bertinoro, sandstone from Modigliana and sulphurous marl from Predappio. This intriguing combination lends great complexity and minerality to all of Noelia Ricci’s wines and in particular to the elegant and long-lived Godenza.

Godenza is made from 100% Sangiovese from the historic Vigna Godenza, which you can see from the map below is a prized location, with southeast exposure at an altitude of 340 metres above sea level. In combination with mineral-rich soils, grapes in this vineyard enjoy long, sun-filled days moderated by winds from the Adriatic Sea that keep humidity in check and bring cool nights. This exceptional terroir results in ripe and balanced fruit that maintains freshness along with the added complexity of a deep mineral core.

Grapes for Godenza are handpicked and fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. The grapes are left on their skins for 28 days to allow a long, slow extraction of tannins and flavours and the wine is aged for nine months in neutral steel to allow the essential nature of the fruit to be expressed. The finished wine is then aged a minimum 12 months in bottle before release. The result is unadorned Sangiovese with sapid fruit, savour and a salty, mineral finish, a wine that truly reflects all the elements of the place it calls home.

Noelia Ricci 2019 ‘Godenza’ Sangiovese Superiore Romagna, Emilia-Romagna
Retail: $44.95 / btl

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The Wine

Noelia Ricci 2019 ‘Godenza’ Sangiovese Superiore Romagna, Emilia-Romagna
91 points – Eric Guido, Vinous, November 2021
“Sharply focused, spicy and perfumed, the 2019 Sangiovese Godenza mixes tart cherries, wild strawberries, sage and underbrush with complementing hints of leather strap and cocoa. It’s much more restrained on the palate than its bouquet would lead you to expect, with a silky wave of red and black berries offset by brisk acids and salty minerals that saturate toward the close. Through it all, zesty acids maintain balance even as grippy tannins saturate, leaving a classically dry yet angular impression through the finale. The 2019 Godenza will require a few years of cellaring to fully blossom.”

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About Noelia Ricci

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.

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Noelia Ricci is represented in Ontario by The Vine Agency.

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