Gutturnio Wine Guide
Gutturnio is the typical red wine of the Piacenza hills, the wine that made the cellars of this piece of Emilia great on the border between Piedmont and Lombardy, which quenched the thirst of Alpine troops, soldiers, nobles, villagers and even the Roman legionaries.
Gutturnio is a wine with a dual nature: it is not a vine, rather it comes from two historic Piacenza vines, Barbera and Croatina also called Bonarda. Even if you have to be careful not to confuse it with the real Piedmontese Bonarda. A petition should be made to prohibit the use of the word Bonarda for Croatina, in this way only confusion is created.
Let’s go back to our blend. Barbera is the most popular wine between Emilia and Piedmont, the wine that pays the bills, which feeds and tastes of the earth, but it is the one that brings the structure, the fleshy fruit and the acidity that gives liveliness and sunshine to the Gutturnio. Croatina brings elegance, a graceful breath, finesse, delicate aromas and obviously the right softness to tame the grit of Barbera. Together they form an incredible duo, they complement each other and thanks to the growth of the Piacenza cellars we can now drink structured Gutturni, but aromatically precise, born to age and aspire to a more developed tertiary glory.
Not surprisingly, Guttturnio was once the classic sparkling wine, the typical Emilian wine for meals and cured meats, created to degrease the culinary domain of the pig, which in Piacenza is known to find unique declinations in wonderful cold cuts such as Coppa and Pancetta Piacentina.
But for too long Gutturnio has been in a subordinate position to Piacenza food, which instead enjoys world fame. Gutturnio has always limited himself to doing his homework, it had to be rustic and lively or dull and soggy if done, even worse, industrially.
Today we are also witnessing the Gutturnio Renaissance, with thick, ambitious productions, born from artisanal wineries increasingly interested in producing with criteria and enhancing particular crus that make Gutturnio different from area to area. You want for the blend, you want for small differences in microclimate, you want for the maturation, the vinification, the dear old terroir in short.
Organoleptic characteristics of Gutturnio wine: sparkling or still?
Let’s start with the sparkling, the most sold and widespread. Purplish color, intense but not excessively fine perlage, aromas of pulpy red fruit, violets, black cherries in profusion, aromatic herbs and then closes with a very, but very light, peppery and spicy touch. Overall it is direct, simple, greedy. On the palate, it is acidic, well-shaped by docile tannins and has excellent drinkability. The persistence is not record-breaking and neither is the complexity: it is a wine that was created to accompany the everyday table and the cuisine rich in fats and flavors of Piacenza. Cured meats, tortelli, but Gutturnio is also excellent with tomato sauces, such as that of the famous Pisarei and Fasò.
If it is still, it’s whole different music. There are fresh and drinkable vintage wines to drink immediately, but it is the more structured Gutturni that offer the most interesting tasting ideas. It is well known that Barbera is very rich in fruit and acidity and with Barbera from Piacenza there is no joking: it has a pulp that can be taken in bites. Thus the thickness increases, it becomes wide, more austere, less pumped into the fruit, but more measured and concentrated able to age happily even for 10-15 years. The tannins are powerful earthy, give rigor and straighten the sensual and soft contribution of Croatina. Tertiary aromas, the spices given by the aging in wood and the withered flowers increase its charm, expanding a symphony played with great skill.
History of Gutturnio wine
The Piacenza hills have been dedicated to the cultivation of life for millennia, already at the time of the Romans Piacenza was the capital of wine and trade thanks to its strategic position, but also to its pleasant hills, where climatic conditions and very different soils alternate. And in Piacentino Barbera and Croatina are the undisputed protagonists, the two vines that dominate local enology with 80% of the total production of the territory. The name Gutturnio comes from Gutturnium, a large silver cup from the Roman era, found in 1878 by a fisherman in the river Po. From that moment on, the sparkling and rustic wine that was produced at the time was named in honor of the precious cup. But this wine has come a long way and it is with great pleasure that we see that by now the name Gutturnio is shaking off its reputation as a sparkling wine, emulating Lambrusco and is establishing itself as an icon of the Piacenza rebirth.
Classification of Gutturnio
You can find it in various interpretations that fall under uninviting labels and that do not make much clarity for the consumer: sparkling, Superiore, Classico Superiore, Riserva and Classico Superiore.
Gutturnio food pairings
If it is a light sparkling wine pair it to salami and fried dumplings, tortelli alla piacentina, pisarei and fasò. If it is still and well structured, combine it with grilled, pulled pork and BBQ dishes, picula ad caval, risotto with porcini, sausage and broccoli pizza.