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Colline Piacentine Wines

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Gutturnio (pronounced "gu-TOUR-nyo") is without a doubt "il re dei vini piacentini", the king of the Piacenza's wine, and is the most famous wine of the Colli Piacentini (hills of Piacenza). Its name is historically derived from the traditional gutturnium jug from which people drank the wine from during the Roman era.

Gutturnio is a blended red wine with body and evident tannin; a wine with a strong and intense character - a true expression of the territory and the culture of Piacenza's valleys.

Its history goes back to Roman times, when an estimeed red wine from Piacenza was mentioned in notes and documents. However, Gutturnio was not recognized until 1941, when the Department of Agriculture included it in the list of important wines from Italy. In 1967, Gutturnio was the first among 10 Italian wines to receive the DOC appellation (
Denominazione di Origine Controllata). It called Gutturnio a noble, full-bodied and fruity red wine.

The DOC production territory included all four valleys of Piacenza, and as a result Gutturnio was produced in Val'dArda, Val Nure, Val Tidone and Val Trebbia.

Each of these valleys have different characteristics in soil and climate, but those are not the main differences found in Gutturnio wines. In fact, from tradition and vinification, you can obtain a Gutturnio, a Gutturnio
superiore, and a Gutturnio riserva. But what does that mean? What types of grapes are used for a Gutturnio?

Gutturnio is prepared from Barbera grapes (from 55% to 70%) and Croatina grapes, (also called locally Bonarda - from 30% to 45%). Those two types of grapes have very different characteristics and their blend creates a unique wine: a winning combination. The variation in blend percentage is determined by the necessity to create equilibrium between the two grapes, especially at harvest time. It also allows the producer to create his own blend and differentiation.

Barbera is a red Italian wine grape varietal that, as of 2000, was the third most-planted red grape varietal in Italy (after Sangiovese and Montepulciano). It produces good yields and is known for deep color, low tannins and high levels of acid, unusual in a warm climate red grape.
Croatina is a red Italian wine grape varietal that is grown primarily in the Oltrepò Pavese region of Lombardy and in the Province of Piacenza within Emilia Romagna. In the hills of Piacenza, this varieta is called Bonarda. Croatina has characteristics similar to the Dolcetto grape in that it tends to produce fruity, deeply colored wines that are mildly tannic and can benefit from bottle aging.
Barbera and Bonarda have different times of maturation. In the past they were harvested and vinified together. In recent time, to obtain a higher quality wine, they are harvested and vinified separately. As a result Gutturnio is not just a blend, but a true union.

When we speak of Malvasia, in Piacenza, we speak of Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, one of the seventeen Italian varieties registered under the name of the National Register of Malvasia variety. However, the history and especially the “soul” of the grape are still poorly understood.
In ancient Greece wines were produced from so many different varieties of grapes with a single point in common: their drying in the sun. The frequently random mixture (or blend) of so many different grapes was, until a few decades ago, typical in the production of wine. These wines, from the Peloponnese (particularly from Rhodes and Crete), were named
Cretici, and at some point in the Middle Ages, their point of departure for the collection and exportation became the port of Monemvasia (the city still existing in the Peloponnese). From here the wine departed in the ships of the Republic of Venice, who transported and sold the wine Cretico around the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, especially after 1248 when it obtained the exclusive license to trade.So grew the fame of Malvasia, which around 1500 and for the next two centuries became the most famous wine in Europe. And it was so tied to the city of Monemvasia, that after 1200 began to identify with its name. The name, crippled by the Venetians became first Malvagia and then Malvasia: so much so that in Venice there was a storehouse of Malvasia and there were many taverns selling only this wine. The Republic of Venice had in the business of exporting the Malvasia a source of great revenues, and to meet the great demand for this wine in fashion at the European courts, increased and concentrated production on the island of Crete. In 1463 Venice took possession of Monemvasia, but when in 1540 the Turks occupied Crete, not to lose what we now call a rich business, the Republic of Venice favored the introduction of the various varieties in some areas along the commercial trade route leading to the town of San Marco. Moreover, at the same time they favored the production of a wine with the same technique of vinification.So it was that we began the production of Malvasia outside the Republic of Venice territories: in many Greek islands, in Dalmatia, in Southern France, Spain, Portugal, and, what interests us more, almost all Italian regions. This short history explains why in Italy, the most important producer of Malvasia grapes, you find a concentration of variety including the Malvasia Lunga or Malvasia del Chianti, a grape that gives a wine an aromas of herbs such as Malvasia Istriana, a grape almost neutral sometimes just slightly as the aromatic Malvasia del Lazio or Puntinata, a grape of sure Greek origins that date back to the settlers more than 500 years before Christ as the Malvasia di Lipari, the aromatic red grapes of Malvasia Casorzo and Malvasia Schierano, the red grapes flavored simple as Malvasia di Lecce, Brindisi and Basilicata, and especially a grape as the Malvasia di Candia (synonym of Crete) Aromatic, with an explosive aroma of such intensity and fragrance, only to that of Muscat.
Certainly the Colli Piacentini have been lucky enough to have received a gift from nature and historic and economic fate: the richest and unique among the seventeen varieties of existing Malvasia grape; moreover, the Malvasia grape is incredibly versatile, being able to give sparkling wines, but also still dry (or almost dry), and sweet dessert wine. A grape with a fragrant aroma particularly rich and complex ( aromas of orange, lime, lemon, tangerine, rose - similar but not identical to the counterparts in the Muscat), but also fruit (peach, apricot more or less ripe, tropical fruits, grapefruit), flowers (acacia, freesia, lavender), herbal notes (the pyrazines present in some species and biotypes in some soils), sage, honey hints, spicy hints, mineral and hydrocarbons almost like Riesling, dried figs, dried apricots and candied fruit. Obviously, not all of these aromas can be experienced simultaneously in a glass of Malvasia, but it is impressive how many can be perceived in the
Malvasia, especially the still dry version(of course more complex than sparkling). However, also a lively Malvasia, if properly vinified, may possess richness and complexity while keeping freshness and simplicity - truly unusual in this type of wine.

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