As they say, life’s too short to drink bad wine, which is a perfect reason for visiting Val Tidone! Just an hour’s drive south of Milan will put you in the center of a landscape that is characterized by endless waves of vineyard creating glorious panoramas. The terroir of the Val Tidone is perfect for growing the vines that produce the famous wines of the Colli Piacentini, and many prestigious wineries and estate vineyards are located here. There are over 300 wineries just in the town of Ziano Piacentino, nick-named the Wine Capital, not to mention the wineries of Borgonovo, Pianello, Nibbiano, Agazzano and Castel San Giovanni!
The grapes that were harvested in the autumn are the wines that go on sale in February and March, and lots of events are scheduled for tastings. It’s the perfect opportunity to stock up your wine cellar.
In Val Tidone there are an impressive 18 D.O.C. wines, and if you think you won’t be able to taste them all, you could start with the two flagship wines of the area, Ortrugo and Gutturnio.
Ortrugo is a dry white with floral aromas made from a native grape that grows only in these hills. Slightly sparkling or still, it pairs perfectly with any meal with delicate flavors, and is excellent with traditional appetizers for a refreshing aperitif.
Gutturnio wine is made from a mix of two different grapes: Bonarda and Barbera. This heavenly combination gives an intense ruby red color, with a vinous fragrance and spicy and fruity aromas. Gutturnio is a wine that is available either young and frothy, or aged and still, which makes it very versatile and a good choice for a variety of recipes, from pasta and rice dishes to hearty meat stews and roasts.
Another noteworthy wine not to be overlooked is Malvasia, a white with a characteristic floral scent. Malvasia can be found in many areas of Italy, but only in Val Tidone is it produced from a distinctly different varietal called Aromatic Malvasia of Candia, which is the grape that Leonardo cultivated in his vineyard in Milan, and is especially prized for the intensity of its floral notes and rich aromas.
So, if you’re dreaming of a wine-fueled day trip or a weekend that takes you off the beaten track, Val Tidone will surely fit the bill. You can visit the towns that have been around since the Romans, see the medieval castles dotting the hills, and pair the bountiful wines with a heavy dose of culture and history! Imagine, just an hour from Milan you can sit back overlooking a patchwork of fields while sipping a glass of wine and taking in the wonder of it all!
Article by Elena Januszewski