Tenuta di Valgiano, Lucca’s bright star; an interview with owner Moreno Petrini


tenuta di valgianoIt may be May but it feels distinctly like April here in Piemonte, as the extended winter looks to have shunted the seasons back; so a chilly and damp reception for all my feathered friends that have now dropped in to say hello (nightingale, hoopoe, bee-eater, turtle dove, white-bellied alpine swift, hobby…)

This weekend’s migration took me south to Lucca, that fine walled city, in search of enlightenment. It was the annual Anteprima Costa Toscana, a laura di collobianospread of properties covering the more marginal wine regions round Grosseto, Livorno, Massa, Pisa and of course Lucca; almost all showing off the juicy 2009 vintage from barrel. While those round Lucca and Livorno generally showed best balance and consistency – with Tenuta di Valgiano (above left) crowning the lot – it was the Pisa crowd that have most to do; a raggedy bunch if ever I saw one. Still, amongst their number was Caiarossa, a Bordeaux-owned property trying earnestly to raise their game. Indeed word has it they’ve recently beaten a path to the door of Valgiano, cap in hand no doubt, to glean the secrets of successful biodynamic viticulture….

And how ironic, as I turned for home and the Langhe hills, so radio RAI 2 should run a really great slot on organic farming, its nutritious as well as environmental value…before closing the piece, as only Italians can, with a rollicking rendition of AC/DC’s ‘Highway to Hell’!