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.
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.
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.