To achieve quality, short cuts are of no use. Even more so when wine is involved. What is needed are time, dedication, focus, and competence. And much courage. All of this is present in the spirit with which Cristina Geminiani works: a way of cultivating the vineyard, harvesting the grapes, transforming them into wine which is infused with the wisdom of tradition and the force to dare the new.
Every wine of her Fattoria Zerbina estate is born from her profound link to the soil and from her attention to the hidden language of the vines, whose voice finds expression through Cristina’s sensitivity, instinct, and passion. Only then is her native soil transformed into wine. And becomes a work of art.
Zerbina’s story began in 1966 when Vincenzo Geminiani purchased the farm of the same name and decided to plant the first vineyards. The first wines to be produced acheived, from the very start, a certain recognition.
A new quality level arrived in 1987, however, thanks to Vincenzo Gemigniani’s granddaughter Cristina, who decided to throw herself body and soul into running both the vineyards and the cellars of the estate with one sole objective: reach new and higher quality levels for both Sangiovese and Albana.
Some years later, Cristina’s younger brother, Vincenzo, began to work side by side with his sister, taking charge of the administrative and financial aspects of Zerbina.
Since that early phase, innovations, all conceived and studied with a full respect for tradition, have been many indeed (and continue today).
A few examples:
With Sangiovese, the planting of the first gobelet-trained, head-pruned, and high density vineyard (a decision which was even more than avant-garde for Italian viticulture at that moment in time) and the experimentation with the first reliable clonal selections of the variety, both those from Tuscany and those from Romagna. With Albana, a variety known up until then more for its generosity than for its finesse, Cristina Geminiani decided to try the route of noble rot in the vineyard and a harvest in successive passages through the vineyard, just as in Sauternes. Then there was the project for the wine which became Marzieno, taking as an example what had been taking place in Tuscany at the time: a wine conceived as a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon which, over these last eight years, has received much recognition. The most recent years, however, have seen an even more complex blend with the addition, in varying proportions according to the vintage, of Merlot and Syrah along with Cabernet. A practice with a longer history, instead, and with Sangiovese as well, is the presence in the blend of Ancelotta, a traditional grape of the hills of Romagna and one which Cristina has always believed in, to the point of defining it, perhaps with a slight exaggeration, “our Petit Verdot”.
The valley of Marzeno river runs along the Apennine slopes which divide Romagna and Tuscany, a series of rolling hillsides which lead from Faenza to Tuscany; the Zerbina vineyards are located alongside Marzeno itself, to the south of the village on the western side of the river. All of the vineyards are located on hillsides and are planted to gobelet-pruned bush vine vines.