Long-aged, mellow, historic. The wines of Lunigiana.

Today's wine is unique to a beautiful corner of Italy, little-known, mellow with age and delicious. If you'd bought a bottle when it was made it would probably have cost you more to store it for the last thirteen years than it will today. It's just the sort of wine we always hope to discover. Here is the story...

The ancient territory of Lunigiana spans part of modern day Tuscany and Liguria. Here a small group of winegrowers are dedicated to championing the area's unique winemaking traditions. Ruschi Noceti is a producer deeply embedded in the story of wine here, with a history of vineyard ownership dating back to 1454, cellars in an old (pre-1000) monastery and five hectares of vineyard planted on the hill of La Costa.

They work only with the rare grape varieties that belong to Lunigiana, especially the red Póllera. The winemaking is the good kind of old-fashioned, with a focus on extended ageing. The wines are only released when they are deemed to be ready.

Which brings us to this wine, the 2008 'La Costa', now thirteen years old. It is 50% Póllera and 50% a mix of all sorts of other local varieties (including some white grapes). It was aged for around 18 months in large oak barrels, before being left to mature in the ancient cellars in bottle. Not a flashy or powerful wine by a long chalk, it is medium-bodied, softly textured with fine tannins and slightly fading, subtle red berry fruit. It is certainly fully mature - one for those who enjoy the taste of old wine - and it needs some simple food (roast chicken?) to make it sing. For the price it is a wine of unusual character, history and interest.