The Piacenza hills have been producing wine since the time of the Etruscans. However, the most detailed evidence of vineyards growing in the area dates back to Roman times: according to sources, Cicerone publicly reprimanded his political opponent Lucius Calpurnius Piso, who came from Piacenza, accusing him of praising in an excessive way the wines from his land.
Since then, Piacenza hills were transformed into a very significant wine-growing area, including four valleys - Val Tidone, Val D’Arda, Val Trebbia and Val Nure - covering 6,800 hectares of land, almost all of it hilly (from 150 to 450 metres above sea level). The wines produced in this area are protected and promoted by the Consorzio Tutela Vini D.O.C. Colli Piacentini, founded in 1986, and celebrated during the Monterosso Val d'Arda Festival (in spring) and the Valtidone Wine Fest (in autumn).
The most famous of all DOC Colli Piacentini wines is Gutturnio, the king of Piacenza wine, which accounts for nearly 25% of production, followed by Malvasia, at 23%.
It is one of the first Italian wines to earn the DOC (Controlled Designation of Origin) label, DOC Gutturnio is a bright, ruby-red wine made from a mix of Barbera (from 55% to 70%) and Croatina grapes, known as Bonarda in the Piacenza area (from 30 to 45%).
In both the fizzy and still versions, the wine’s identity derives from the different characters of the grapes that compose it. Whilst Barbera is easily affected by rainfall, low in tannins and has a high degree of acidity, the Croatina grape variety has a thick skin, is rich in tannins and polyphenols and takes longer to age, unlike the Barbera variety. When combined, they give life to a well-bodied wine with an intense colour and a dry, vinous taste
DOC Colli Piacentini Malvasia is the counterbalance to Gutturnio . The Malvasia di Candia grape variety is characterised by a truly rich and complex aromatic structure, giving off hints of citrus, fruit, flowers, herbaceous notes, honey, spices and minerals, depending on the wine-making methods used. This grape is used to make four different types of wine: secco (dry), amabile (mild), dolce (sweet) and passito (raisin wine).
DOC Ortrugo-Colli Piacentini is also worthy of mention; this wine is made from its namesake indigenous grape variety from the Piacenza area. A pleasant, refreshing white wine, with a slightly bitter after-taste in its fizzy and sparkling versions, Ortrugo imparts a delicate, distinctive aroma.
In addition to Gutturnio, Malvasia and Ortrugo, the producers of the Consorzio Tutela Vini D.O.C. Colli Piacentini are committed daily to the production of other types of wines such as DOC Monterosso Val d'Arda and DOC Vin Santo di Vigoleno.