2018 Terra di Luna Vinacciolo de Luna
Region: Carerra < Liguria < Italy
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic, zero-input farming; gray clay soils; aged in marble vats, then 6 months in the bottle on lees; refermented in bottle; unfined/unfiltered with zero added So2; 13% ABV
Winemaker: Alessandro Vignali
Last summer in Liguria, we spent the day at a beach club, the kind where you pay 40 euro or so for a chair and umbrella, and spend the day alternating between ocean dips, snacks, naps, and games of Uno, all with a glass of something local in hand. The most perfect sort of summer day. It was here, at the not-fancy beach club (with a super natty wine list), that I discovered the Terra della Luna wines. We drank at least two of his wild, unfiltered, zero-zero wines that day - super unusual for Liguria -- and I fell in love. So when one of my Italian importers brought me this wine to taste, I squealed with delight and gobbled up cases, so you, my friends, can experience the same wine nerd joy.
Wine is a second career for Alessandro Vignali, who spent 20 years as Marshall of the Carabinieri, investigating the international drug trade. Now he grows grapes on the hills of Luni, near Carerra (Italy’s marble capital) in the basin formed where the hills of Tuscany and Liguria meet, 3 km from the sea. This project is Alessandro’s way of bringing “his dreams down to earth” (hence the name, “terra della luna”), and he has made herculean efforts to create an enterprise with minimal environmental impact. The house and cellar are constructed with eco-friendly material. Air-water heat pumps are solar-powered so that no fossil energy is used, in an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to zero.
The wine is a hazy, faded gold in color, and cloudy due to the natural bottle refermentation. It smells bright, citrusy and floral, but skews more herbal, ginger and salty rocks in your mouth. There’s a slight, tongue-tickling fizz, and a constant evolution of flavors in the glass. So unique and interesting and seductive, it’s a white to drink cool but not too cold, as an aperitivo or a lazy Sunday tipple.