The Vigneview Verdict
You know I’m a huge fan of Pinot Noir. So when I came across this bottle of Forteto della Luja Le Grive 2018 from Piedmont, Italy’s Monferrato Rosso DOC, which is a Pinot Noir and Barbera blend, I just had to try it!
Barbera is most widely planted grape variety in Italy’s Piedmont region. It creates wines with higher acidity, flavours of tart red cherry, anise seed and local herbs as well as lighter tannins than the highly valued Nebbiolo grape of Piedmont. Some of the best wines made from Barbera come from the following areas;
- Barbera d’Asti DOCG (normale, superiore and superiore vigna!!)
- Barbera d’Asti Nizza DOCG
- Barbera del Monferrato Superiore DOCG
- Barbera del Monferrato DOC
- Barbera d’Alba DOC
Pinot Noir, on the other hand, offers a bit more elegance and complexity to this blend with its slightly lower acidity levels and warmer red summer fruit flavours and earthy aromas. As this bottle of Forteto della Luja Le Grive 2018 is a red wine blend of Barbera (Italian variety) and Pinot Noir (international variety) it must be labelled as being from the Monferratto Rosso DOC. If this bottle was 100% Barbera, then it would be labelled as being from the Barbera d’Asti DOCG. Trust me, this is confusing stuff! It took me awhile to figure it all out!!
The winery, Forteto della Luja, is named after the neighbouring woodlands and river, the Rio Luja. Additionally, ‘Le Grive’ in Italian is the name given to the Fieldfare bird which feasts on the juniper berries found within the bushes surrounding the vineyard.
So, by now, you’re probably dying to know what this gorgeous wine is like. Once poured, a beautiful rich ruby colour filled my glass. Immediately, a perfume of violets followed by ripe red summer fruits, hints of thyme and subtle oak notes of vanilla and sweet Christmas spices lured me in. Wow! Now, that’s a nose full!!!
On the palate, I revelled in a touch of blackcurrant and a subtle peppery note followed by smooth tannins and a long lasting finish that enabled me to continue savouring this gorgeous blend long after the first sip. The wine is aged in small oak barrels for 10 months before bottling. The oak notes within the wine are subtle, yet offer a bit more depth to the palate without overpowering the fresh fruit flavours.
This is such a beautiful wine! It’s well balanced, filled with endless flavours & aromas and pairs easily with or without food. I just couldn’t stop sniffing, sipping and savouring this wine!
I enjoyed this bottle of Forteto della Luja Le Grive 2018 paired with their homemade pappardelle duck ragout and seasonal truffle at Florians 2 in Crouch End, London. This is one of my favourite restaurants because I’m always greeted by the owner Franco with a warm Italian welcome, the food and wine is always exceptional, and the service is impeccable…just my kind of place! If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend stopping by.
Producer: Forteto della Luja Le Grive
Region: Monferrato Rosso DOC
Grapes: Barbera and Pinot Noir
Colour: Medium Ruby with subtle Garnet on the rim
Red fruit: Raspberry, red plum, red cherry
Black fruit: Blackcurrant
Oak: Vanilla, anise seed and cinnamon
Drinking Window: Can drink now or age for 5-10 years.
Price: £25.70 (Hedonism wines)