Liguria

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Azienda Agricola Santa Caterina: 44.111424, 9.963121

Liguria is known as the Italian Riviera,  located along the Western Coast of the peninsula.  It encompasses the famous Cinque Terre and stretches from the French border to the northern edges of Tuscany and the western sides of Emilia-Romagna.  Wines are made here on steep limestone hillsides and rocky slopes from native varieties.


Azienda Agricola Santa Caterina

Andrea Kihlgren inherited his family’s estate at the end of the 1980s.  The 8 hectares (19.76 acres) of vines and 4 of olive trees are farmed biodynamically, and scattered amongst 4 different areas, with differing terroirs that benefit from sea breezes blowing in from the West.  The ground’s profile is quite varied, with red clay, loose alluvial soils, stony ancient riverbeds and clay terraces making viticulture extremely challenging.  He grows a mix of different cover crops like grasses, herbs, and vegetables between the rows to protect the topsoil from erosion.  Despite all this, Andrea has worked hard to bring back nearly-extinct varieties like Ciliegiolo, Albarola and Merla (a local type of Canaiolo), while also working with traditional grapes like Vermentino.

Andrea also does everything he can to make a nearly interventionist-free wine.  In fact, many consider him a natural winemaker, using only a drop of sulfur at bottling to stabilize the wines.  Copper is used in the vines, and that’s it.  Everything he does is designed to respect the grape and the soil as much as possible.

WINES

Andrea’s Vermentino Colli di Luni is a gorgeous example of his belief in respecting nature.  Grapes are hand-harvested, pressed whole, and native yeast fermented in tank.  There’s a bit of skin contact as well, which adds depth and complexity.  After several months on its lees in tank, the wine is bottled unfined, unfiltered.  This wine offers tons of peach and white pepper and zest on a medium-bodied frame, ending in a long beautiful finish.

The Fontananera Liguria di Levante Rosso is a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Ciliegiolo.  Hand-harvested from eastern exposed sandy soils, the grapes are destemmed, fermented in tank with wild yeasts, and aged on its lees over the winter before being bottled unfined and unfiltered.  Extremely complex and wild, it is a wine to drink with food.