Forteto della Luja Sweet Wines

The wines of Forteto della Luja somehow convey a sense of not having been manhandled. What I call “tenderness” comes not from one particular philosophy, but rather from a larger sensibility of deference. MATT KRAMER 

Undoubtedly the best Brachetto Passito wine made in Italy, magically combining not just sweetness and lusciousness but also grace and refinement, not to mention uncommon depth, length and complexity..

Sitting in the century-old farmhouse at Forteto della Luja is an experience. The walls of the small parlour where Gianni Scaglione carefully pours his family's famed wines are adorned with a mixture of sepia images that peer out from another Italy; one where the agrarian life was still in full swing and baby-faced ancestors wear ill-fitting uniforms before going off to fight the Austrians! In the same moment, and one of beautiful juxtaposition, Gianni's small CD player gently pumps out Chet Baker's Let's Get Lost! Surreal, yes, but mostly whimsical, authentic and life affirming. As are the unique wines he produces on this small biodynamic farm at Loazzola, Italy's smallest DOC, in the hills above Canelli in Piemonte.

Amongst other things, the farm is listed by the World Wildlife Fund as an "Agricultural Oasis" because it houses remnant Piemontese flora not found many other places including a rare black orchid and because the methodology of farming has not changed in over a century. There are no chemicals used here and the impossibly steep (Gianni calls them steepy) vineyards are worked by a rare breed of Appennine horses.

The main reason for their wine fame is the Piasa Richeri Loazzolo - a wine made from late-picked, air dried Moscato grapes. There are only 230 cases made each year and it is a stunning sweet wine. It is a unique beast and epitomises that quality of Italian sweet wines where sweetness is buffered by the savoury, erasing the cloy and making them perfect for cheese, hazelnuts, fruit based tarts. This wine is one of the first picked for the Gambero Rosso tre bicchieri award in most years and for those in the know, it is one the greatest sweet wines in the world. 

Apart from it they make their other wine is similarly great, albeit far less celebrated. I'm not sure why that is but suspect it has something to do with the fact there is even less of this wine made. It is their brilliant Brachetto (non-frizzante as the traditional style dictates) redolent of rose petals and middle-eastern spice. It is winderful and unique. It's a wine for an occasion and one that fits into that fantastic Italian wine category - vino da meditazione - a wine to sit and think about and let it reveal it's secrets over time. 

Annually we import a tiny amount of each of these two wines (along with their excellent red Le Grive and a couple of cases of their two grappas). They are utterly superb sweet wines and deserve a place in your cellar. 

I have included both wines here at special pricing PLUS I have included the two grappas. I know, I know...Grappa...are you serious. Well, sure I hear you, but Grappa isn't like what your neighbour used to pass you over the back fence, this is artisan stuff and even for me - not a huge spirit drinker -  these are as good as you will see! I have only 10 bottles of each so if you want one let me know.