Tenuta di Valgiano, "Palistorti di Valgiano" Toscana Bianco 2020
Vermentino Blend｜Tuscany, Italy
The famous hills of Chianti are heralded as some of the most breathtaking in the wine world, rightfully so, but there’s so much more to Tuscany beyond this.
One such region is the charming village of Lucca and its environs. It’s a walled city encircled by ramparts, built when the many fiefdoms of Italy competed with each other and were often laid siege. Today these walls protect the heritage and authenticity of one of the most charming sites in all of Italy. This is the birthplace of the panzanella salad, tordelli di Lucca, and more. And the hills around Lucca – the Colline Lucchesi – are home to equally impressive vistas and world-class terroir.
Tenuta di Valgiano is an organic/biodynamic estate on some 40 acres of farmland in the hills of Lucca. Run by Moreno Petrini and Laura di Collobiano, two dedicated naturalist farmers/winemakers, Valgiano has established itself as one of Tuscany’s most cultish, sought-after producers. Sommeliers and Italian wine geeks quickly snap up the limited releases that make their way to the U.S. (most of their production remains in Europe every vintage). It’s a fully integrated farm and winery, devoted to regenerative, holistic farming and a bounty of produce: from honey and olive oil to beautiful, naturally-made wine. A look at their minimalist website finds treatises on wine interwoven with discourses on impressionist painters, classical music, and philosophy.
In Italy, palistorti are the weathered, crooked posts marking the end of a row of vines. Those asymmetrical posts represent their iconoclastic decision to make wine as dedicated by the land, manifested in this Palistorti di Valgiano, a singular white blend of 50% Vermentino, and equal parts Trebbiano, Malvasia, and Grechetto. The grapes are pressed and left on their skins for anywhere between a few hours and a few days, soaking up the rich phenolics, adding aromatic extract and a bit of texture. The juice is fermented in mostly stainless steel, with about 10% of the Vermentino reserved for aging in oak barrels. The result of all this laborious, mindful work is an exotically aromatic, layered white wine that has the perfumed contours of Malvasia, the brisk salinity of Trebbiano, and the savory texture of Vermentino.
It’s at once singular and eminently distinct, yet also an outright classic expression of Italy’s best indigenous white varietals. We’re one of the lucky few to obtain this elusive bottling, acquired direct from their U.S. importer.
And it defies the conventional wisdom that white wine doesn’t age; tuck it away for another 2-3 years and allow it to evolve as you would a fine Burgundy to allow the flavors to further develop and intertwine. Cheers!