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Spergola: history, tradition and biodiversity in the Reggio area

It was first mentioned in the 15th century when the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Bianca Cappello, eulogised it as an extremely fine wine.

Over the centuries it has been given many names, Pomoria, Pellegrina, Spergolina or Spargolina, culminating in it being added to the DOC Colli di Scandiano e Canossa simply as Spergola.

It is thus a very old native grape variety in our Reggio hills and was, for many years, believed to be Sauvignon Blanc. DNA tests in the year 2000 definitively demonstrated its genetic difference from Sauvignon Blanc and enabled it to be registered as Spergola in Italy’s Grape Varieties Catalogue and added to the Colli di Scandiano e Canossa DOC appellation.

It was an outcome made possible by the hard work and determination of Reggio’s producers who undertook to safeguard and pass on a historic variety which was at risk of disappearing.

The Spergola variety is indissolubly bound up with our area and an expression of its biodiversity. Its unique genetic identity makes it well suited to dry weather and it flourishes on the Reggio Emilia hills in the midst of badlands and Matilda-era castles in substantial, mineral-rich soils resulting from clay and silt layers. Soils packed with limestone and clay, a climate with considerable differences between day and night time temperatures and plenty of wind and a long farming tradition: these make for a full-blown terroir which gives Spergola its distinctive characteristics.

Its high natural acidity and mineral quality make for a lively, crisp wine and are ideal for semi-sparkling wines, lean and minerally dry wines, dried grape wines for long ageing but especially for sparkling wines of incredible finesse.

The sparkling wine – with its pale straw yellow colour and pale greenish highlights – is marked out by a delicate flower and green apple nose, its good body and acidulous balance, giving it a long-lasting aftertaste. The champagne method makes for exceptionally long-lasting wines with up to ten years ageing.

Spergola is made in still, semi-sparkling, sparkling and dried grape versions. Crisp and fragrant, smooth and lemony, in both champagne method and still versions, it goes well with starters, fish based pasta and rice dishes, filled pastas, light mains, cold cuts and Parmigiano Reggiano. The sweet version, on the other hand, goes well with cakes, biscuits and trifles and tastes great with a home-made ring cake dipped into it.

It is the Reggio producers, including our members, we have to thank for this great variety, people who believed in a grape variety which was on the point of disappearing. Now, when we drink a glass of Spergola what we are drinking is not simply an excellent wine but an expression of the area’s beauty, history and expertise.

Emilia Wine and all its members are committed to safeguarding and promoting this ancient grape variety as members of the Compagnia della Spergola, a production chain-local council project whose mission is to safeguard local wine growing in accordance with environmental and local promotion principles.

All that remains is for you to savour this precious wine. We recommend our sophisticated Spergola sparkling wine.