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2000 Burson "Rosso Ravenna", Consorzio Il Bagnacavallo, Italy

Halfway between Bologna and Ravenna, Italy sits the little town of Bagnacavallo. Those with a background in Spanish, Italian, or Latin will easily pick out the origins of the name which, depending on who you talk to, can be read as "Horse Bath" or "Water for Horses" or something like that.

Indeed, historical legend has it that the town was so named when the Emperor Tiberius discovered a spring in the town that had amazing curative powers for horses who drank it, the first of which being the war horses commanded by the Emperor himself. In all likelihood the spring and the town were founded as early as the bronze age and have been continuously occupied since. Today Bagnacavallo and the surrounding area has about 16,000 inhabitants, most of whom work in agriculture, the primary products of which are apples, pears, apricots, and of course, wine, most of which is made from the Trebbiano grapes that are common to the Emilia Romagna, the DOC in which Bagnacavallo falls.

This wine is most likely a Trebbiano, but may have other varietals blended in, including Barbera or Cabernet. Other than knowing it's made by a group of vintners in the town of Bagnacavallo, I was unable to find out much about it.

Tasting Notes:
The wine is dark, inky purple in the glass, which is a good preview for its nose, which is heavy and dark with scents of tar, manure, leather, dirt, and cassis. In the mouth it is velvety with lots of tannin underscoring flavors of earth, figs, woodsmoke and dried currants. It has a spectacularly long finish.

Food Pairing:
This demands some pretty hearty fare. Its earthy tones will do well with mushrooms and dark meats. Try it with this beef stew with mushrooms, shallots, and potatoes.

Overall Score: 8

How much?: $13

I get mine through Wine Expo, down in Santa Monica, CA. As far as I know, they are the only ones in the states who get it. Give Roberto down there a call at 310-828-4428 and see if he can get you some.

Comments (2)

Dr. Max Merighi wrote:
08.28.05 at 9:06 AM

Burson is not a blend of varietals...: Not sure where our blogger Alder got that info, but it is totally wrong. Burson is produced from "uva Longanesi", or Longanesi grape, a unique grape variety recently discovered in a 200 year old monastery in the Classe area (Ravenna province, Italy). It probably escaped the fillossera epidemics of the mid 1800s and grew in the wild until its recent discovery by Longanesi.
As far as I know, genetic analyses have revealed a unique fingerprinting profile, clustering this varietal away from all the grape cv currently grown in the Emilia-Romagna region. I have not found the actual scientific publication but enologists friends of mine told me this story. Some even believe it may be an ancient roman varietal once grown in the nearby Classe wood, known to be used by the roman empire army as a source for timber for their fleet based in Ravenna. Whether this is true or not adds little to the unique character of this wine.

The vinification process includes 4-5 days maceration for full extraction of the pigments, aging in barrique for up to 24 months.

Produced by Ercolani winemakers in a 500 acre local vineyard, Burson is an experiment in the making, a unique wine with the mistique of a unique history and with great potential for the future.

In my experience, this wine is best consumed after areation for seveal hours, which helps to fully develop the amazing bouquet.


Cambridge, MA

Alder wrote:
08.28.05 at 2:45 PM

Wow Max,

It seems you know a lot more about this one than I was able to find out on the internet. Thanks for the correction. Since I wrote this review, the Consorzio Il Bagnacavallo has put up a website, and they confirm that you are indeed correct on the varietal.

Thanks for reading Vinography.

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