The vitality and rigour of the Colli di Luni wines

The vitality and rigour of the Colli di Luni wines

Downstream from the Fosdinovo castle, in the Luni area, there is a boundary drawn as if with a ruler: it is recent, so clear cut as to seem American, leaving some houses with the living room in Liguria and the bedroom in Tuscany. It is one of those borders drawn straight by diplomacy and unmarked by the wrinkles of pre-unification wars or the sharp edges of geology.

Colli di Luni wines: where they born

It is as clear politically as it is nebulous in tracing a distinct identity in those living either side of it: the Ligurian Apuani, united more by Vermentino than the Council Tax, better represented by the DOC than by regional boundaries and understood less by the legislator than by Salvatore Marchese (journalist and great food and wine expert), who has told their story with more poetry and clarity, but who also defined the boundaries of the Designation of Origin in 1989. The men and women of the land upstream of the Luni Canal (from the Gulf of Spezia to the north, to Ortonovo to the south) are the protagonists of Colli di Luni wine.

colli-di-luni-lunae

Half of the production comes from the Lunae winery

The top producer is Paolo Bosoni, owner of the Cantine Lunae, now run by his son Diego. The Bosoni family are the top producers in Liguria, counting for 50% of all the Colli di Luni DOC wines. Where the “festa dell’Unità” used to be set up, just above the Aurelia road, there is now the winery museum, where Fiorella brings ancient liqueurs to life. Bosoni produces Vermentino, but also one of the most interesting reds in the area, the Niccolò V, dedicated to Pope Nicholas V from Sarzana, founder of the Vatican library. It is made from Sangiovese, Merlot and Pollera (another native grape). The vineyards are in the area of Ortonovo and Castelnuovo Magra, they are more homogeneous and warmer (protected by the Castelpoggio and Fosdinovo mountains) and produce wines with more body and structure.

The wines? Delicate, organic or extreme

La Felce makes wines with different styles but with the same generosity and from this year they are going to be distributed by Velier. They are intense, minty and “triple A” (abbreviation for “Agricoltori, Artigiani e Artisti” or “Farmers, Artisans and Artists”, a movement that gathers together a selection of producers and winemakers who follow the precise rules set down in the Triple A Manifesto drawn up by the Chairman of Velier, Luca Gargano, editor’s note). Sarzana and Santo Stefano, more to the north, are affected by the cool influence of the Magra river. The cold air from the north is channelled through the Apennines at the Cisa, along this river and its tributaries. This results in a funnel effect at Santo Stefano, where the vineyards benefit from a cooler climate and have higher acidity (Zangani). In Sarzana we find Andrea Kihlgren’s wines (Santa Caterina), which are biodynamic (but without indicating it on the label), elegant and classic, an excellent example of frankness in order to understand Luni wines.

From Italian Wine Chronicle 3/2015. Read for free the magazine

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