Notes on Wine in the Lunigiana

Here in the Lunigiana, the grapes have been picked and the white wine is already bottled. The red is just about to go from the fermenting barrels into bottles.

lunigiana wine dregsI took the picture over there to the left just in front of our building. At the base of many old buildings here in Tuscany there are vaulted cantinas, where folks store cheese or wine. My neighbor was just working in his, obvious by the purple run-off from his barrels, and invited me in for a taste. Both the red and white were good. The white was slightly sweet. The red was as good as I’ve tasted in the Lunigiana.

The Lunigiana isn’t known for its wine because of early frosts here in the Apennines that stop growth short of ripe. Good wine is a blessing here.

The wine is fermented in an open wood vat. A hole is punched in the “pomace”, the floating debris which includes the skins, seeds and stems, alive with bubbles at fermentation time, and the clear wine below is siphoned into 55 liter bottles (big!). He’s filling 6 of them with the red. It’s all for him and his family.

He told me there used to be a guy who came around and collected the pomace to be processed into grappa. Now you have to take it to a cooperative to be distilled.

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The wine of Bigliolo, famous for its beans (and shutters), is always good. I don’t know why that is. Perhaps what’s good for beans is good for grapes. Bigliolo is within walking distance of Piano di Collecchia Sopra, which is here for me and there for you.

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At the Bigliolo bean festival I bought a bottle of wine from a girl who must have been 11 or 12 years old. It reminded me of the stupidity of American laws, where you have to wait for the 22 year old manager to run your bottle of wine over the scanner because it’s illegal for the 17 year old checker, who is given responsible for the exchange of hundreds of dollars in filthy lucre but whose hands can’t be sullied by touching a bottle of wine.


Notes on Wine in the Lunigiana originally appeared on WanderingItaly.com , updated: Oct 21, 2008 © .

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