Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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colli, plural colline is the Italian word for hills, and its use in a wine name indicates that the wine is produced on slopes of a certain elevation (it is an almost direct equivalent of France’s côte, Côtes, and Coteaux). Accordingly, articles about Colli Somewhere are listed not under Colli, but under S for Somewhere.

Elevation is obviously in the eye of the beholder, however, and the word colli is used to describe both mere knolls and near-mountainous viticulture at elevations of over 500 m/1,600 ft. Colli and its variations can be found not only as the title of various docs but also as a part of their descriptive apparatus: chianti, for example, is produced in the Colli Senesi and the Colline Pisane (Chianti dei Colli Senesi, Chianti delle Colline Pisane). The absence of the word does not imply that a given wine is produced in the flatlands; much of Italy’s finest wine—barbaresco, barolo, brunello di montalcino, vino nobile di montepulciano—is produced from hillside vineyards without that fact being indicated in the wine’s name.