Celli, Romagna Albana Secco DOCG (Italy) “I Croppi” 2019

($20):  The Albana grape is uniquely suited to the Bertinoro subregion of Romagna where Celli is located thanks to the calcium rich soil, locally known as spungone, a vestige of its underwater location 3.5 million years ago.  Celli’s 2019 I Croppi is outstanding.  A substantial wine, it conveys subtle nutty and stone fruit character, similar to a white wine from France’s Rhône Valley, but with vibrant and penetrating acidity.  You feel the underlying mineral component—a captivating salinity — and an ever so slight and welcoming bitter tannic component that results from a short period of skin contact during fermentation.  It’s an elegant and balanced “orange wine” without emphasis on the “orange.”  (Orange wines are white wines fermented like red wines, that is, with extended skin contact.  Some can be unbalanced and overpowering.)  Cutting and clean, Celli’s I Croppi’s power and verve make it an excellent choice for those otherwise hard-to-match tomato-based or other highly-flavored seafood dishes.  But frankly, the wine is so satisfying, I’d be tempted to drink it with most anything.
95 Michael Apstein Feb 23, 2021