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On the first slopes of the Tosco-Romagnolo Apennines, on the gentle hills that connect Faenza to Tuscany, we come to the Marzeno valley and village of that name; on the right side toward the south the lie the vineyards of Fattoria Zerbina, all strictly hilly and bush-trained.

The lower areas, characterized by more fertile soil and damper microclimate, at least in the latter part of the season, are planted in Trebbiano, and especially Albana, in the most suitable conditions for the development of noble rot.

The higher areas are characterized by variable soils, ranging from a clay and limestone matrix to alluvial, each ideal for growing Sangiovese. Less extensive is the area described as calanchifera, characterized by gullies and ravines with a strong presence of grey clay, more suitable to the cultivation of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Viticulture

The single pole albarello

Introduced in 1990 in the Pozzo vineyard, this form of cultivation, with a high vine density, recalls the ancient traditions of the hills of Romagna. The main advantages are the 360° exposition of the foliage, which allows optimal photosynthetic activity, and the ease of harvesting from any direction (not possible in normal espalier vineyards).

This planting was also the first to include many clonal selections, whose response to this kind of training guided our choices in reconverting vineyards in the following years.

New plantings

Due to the excellent results realized by the first single pole albarello planting, but also taking into account the high costs of maintaining the system, with the reconversion plan of vineyards started at the beginning of the 1990s we introduced an espalier style of training very similar to the “gobelet” of Bordeaux. This enabled us to maintain high density planting and albarello bush training with more rational mechanization. This espalier system prevails in the vineyards of Fattoria Zerbina and is destined to remain so in the future.

Albana and noble rot

Choosing to produce a noble rot wine from white grapes—even more so than from red grapes—means to rely on the mercy of nature, with all the joys and sacrifices that can bring.

One more rainfall, at the wrong moment, can negatively influence the final result, or even compromise an entire harvest. A regular and imponderable alternation of dry and damp spells can result in grapes of such complexity and richness, that only those who have tasted them can fully understand.

Even in the best years, the almost maniacal task of selection, sometimes even grape by grape, is the key to obtaining a wine that can bear the label Scaccomatto.