Colli Piacentini Wine Region Guide

Colli Piacentini: Beyond the Vines, Discover Wine's Hidden Chapters


Last updated: May 23, 2024


Colli Piacentini is a misunderstood wine region in Emilia-Romagna. People often characterize it as a workhorse producer of international styles – Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are two classic examples – that rarely set the world on fire. Both Italians and outsiders pigeonhole these cookie-cutter labels as highly derivative. This is only half true. Growers have planted a sizable volume of French grapes in the hills of Piacentini and use them to make very respectable (if unexciting) varietal and blended wines. Yet, this area also serves as the home of Gutturnio, a unique concoction of Barbera and Croatina (Bonarda) that has been in production since the days of the Romans. Indeed, the name Gutturnio derives from the Latin word Gutturnium, a silver goblet filled to the brim with wine during Roman feasts and celebrations.

History even records that Julius Caesar’s father-in-law – Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus – built an impressive estate in the area, surrounded by acres of vines. However, his rival Cicero condemned Lucius for excessively enjoying the local tipple, much to the latter’s embarrassment and shame. Back then, wine was inevitably sweet and adulterated with herbs – quite different from the mainstay of production in 2024.

Colli Piacentini DOC offers a wide variety of wine styles, from dry whites to late-harvest sweet wines and traditional method sparkling. The region’s ‘invasion’ of New World varieties has led to an increase in local specialties like Trebbianino Val Trebbia, Malvasia di Candia, and Ortrugo. While the most influential brands may be the easy-to-sell Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, the region’s vineyards also hide some real esoteric gems waiting to be discovered.


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James lawrence

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