Short guide to the DOP wines of Emilia

A journey through the vineyards of the Emilian hills, able to hold high the flag of the uniqueness of a special corner of the Food Valley, where, starting from the bottle and the glass, it tells us the history of the place of production, of its spirit and its tension towards excellence

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In the territory of Piacenza, Parma and Reggio Emilia, a relatively small land but very rich in food and wine, we can hardly count the wineries that work tirelessly on vines, clearly distinguished by their organoleptic and historical characteristics. However, this wineries are capable of keeping  high the flag of uniqueness of this corner of Food Valley, proudly involved in spreading the typical taste of Emilia that, starting from the bottle and the glass, tells the history of the place of production, of its spirit and of its striving for excellence.

Various literary sources report evidence of the presence of  wine variety on the Piacenza hills already in Etruscan and Roman times. Such a deep-rooted experience has given rise to an extremely renowned wine area that extends over 5,000 hectares of land, between 150 and 450 meters.

The wines produced in Val Tidone, Val D’Arda, Val Trebbia and Val Nure are a total of 16 DOCs, grouped into 3 main PDOs: Ortrugo, Gutturnio and Colli Piacentini.

The last denomination, "Colli Piacentini" in particular, refers to white wines such as:

  • Malvasia
  • Monterosso Val d’Arda
  • Trebbianino Val Trebbia
  • Valnure
  • Sauvignon
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Vin Santo e Vin Santo di Vigoleno

And to red wines:

  • Barbera
  • Bonarda
  • Novello
  • Pinot Nero
  • Cabernet Sauvignon

As excellences recognized worldwide, they are protected and promoted by the Consorzio Tutela Vini D.O.C. Colli Piacentini. Red or white, sparkling, still or for meditation: the rich variety of Piacenza DOC wines lends itself to countless combinations and blends in perfect harmony, of course, with the rich gastronomic tradition of Piacenza.

Almost a quarter of the production of the area is dedicated to Gutturnio DOP, a red wine obtained from a mix of Barbera and Bonarda grapes. Through their respective personalities, this grapes affect the identity of the wine, giving to him a good structure, an intense color and a dry and vinous taste, both in the sparkling version and in the still one.

On the other hand, hints of citrus, fruit, flowers, herbaceous notes, honey, spices and minerals constitute the aromatic complement of the Malvasia di Candia variety, which gives life to the Colli Piacentini PDO Malvasia, present in various types: dry, sparkling, sparkling, sweet and passito.

Among the true symbols of the tenacity typical of these places, we cannot fail to mention the Ortrugo-Colli Piacentini PDO, son of the autochthonous vineyard of the same name that is the basis of a fresh and pleasant white, with a bitter aftertaste and a delicate perfume. 

The origin of the wine-growing vocation of the hilly area between the Enza and Stirone streams dates back to the Napoleonic era, where the officials of the court of Maria Luigia grafted the vineyards from which it all began: at an altitude between 200 and 800 meters, the land was suitable to start a production that today has among its symbols the municipalities of Langhirano, Felino and Sala Baganza.

The Colli di Parma PDO denomination includes a wide variety of vineyards, such as Malvasia di Candia aromatica, Sauvignon blanc, Barbera and Bonarda alternated with Croatina - which derive from those historic settlements. Over the course of time, additional vineyards capable of perfectly adapting to the land  were added.

This particular original area includes:

  • Pinot nero
  • Pinot bianco
  • Pinot grigio
  • Chardonnay
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Lambrusco (varietà Maestri).

From these vineyards derive the PDO Colli di Parma wines: 

the red wines:

  • Bonarda (dry and sweet)
  • The still Rosso
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Sparkling Lambrusco (with a minimum of 85% of the variety Lambrusco Maestri).

The white wines:

  • Malvasia (dry or sweet, still, sparkling and “spumante”)
  • Dry wines in the still, sparkling and spumante Pinot Bianco types
  • Sauvignon
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot grigio (still and sparkling).

You can't talk about Reggio Emilia without feeling the unmistakable taste of a strong wine like Lambrusco on your palate: sparkling ruby ​​red with a lively and evanescent foam and a fragrant, fruity and floral scent, Lambrusco Reggiano PDO tells a peasant story that evokes sweat among the vineyards and consumption reserved for the family, a kept secret and an Emilian passion capable of producing Lambrusco varieties such as:

  • Salamino
  • Masters
  • Oliva
  • Sorbara
  • Marani
  • Grasparossa
  • Montericco

Together with Lambrusco characterized by the contentive power and the tactile pleasure of a sparkling wine, Marzemino, Malvasia and Spergola are the three white wines from the Colli di Scandiano and Canossa DOP: while the first was adopted by the people of Reggio after a trip from Venice, passing through Trentino, descending into the Po valley, the second, thanks to the name Malvasia di Candia, brings to mind lush Mediterranean sceneries.

Finally, Spergola has an history of resistance to oblivion that tells a lot about the character of a white grape, perfect for sophisticated vinification, stubbornly clinging to a territory that has not been able or wanted to forget it.

Last update 30/06/2021