Colli di Luni
The Colli di Luni DOC is one of a handful of DOCs that are not exclusive to one region, rather straddle a couple. In this case we are talking about the hills (Colli) around the ancient Roman town of Luni. Not much of Luni remains today, in fact, on maps it looks like a suburb of the town of Carrara, famous for its marble mines that are the source of the great works of Michelangelo, among others. Historically though, Luni has lent its name to the surrounding hills that are perched over the border between Tuscany and Liguria.
As such, wines from this area are made from the grapes from the best of both worlds. For whites, the Vermentino is the preferred varietal, while reds are made from primarily Sangiovese. While the reds that we’ve encountered are delightfully perfumed, soft and refreshing, they mostly remain simple. The whites of the area can really be stunning.
Vermentino, as I have mentioned before, has to rank as one of the premier white wine varietals of Italy. Few other varietals are quite as capable of reflecting a sense of place as this fragrant grape, and the Vermentino grown throughout Liguria is as good as it gets. When grown in the eastern reaches of the region, like the Colli di Luni, it tends to be a bit richer and softer than when it is grown in the west, but this is really splitting hairs, and I’d gladly settle for a good bottle of either.
While there are many good examples of both Colli di Luni Bianco (a blend relying primarily on Vermentino) and Colli di Luni Vermentino (unblended), the really fun stuff can be found at the hands of a handful of producers like Giacomelli, Terenzuola, and especially Ottaviano Lambruschi. These are wines that reflect the sea by which they grow. There is a pervasive brininess in their fragrance that is nothing less than captivating. One of the shortfalls of the Vermentino grape is that it often can be a tad short on acidity, but not from these guys. I can think of no other wine I’d rather have with the classic fish stews of the area like Buridda, Cacciucco, or Cioppino.