Azienda Luretta

Sometimes the idea comes before the wine.

One can be born in a place and spend one's entire life there, or one can search for the right place to cultivate an idea. This can be done while respecting tradition and the environment, without giving up a dream that goes beyond the usual. If you want to fly you need wings, not roots. This is the story of a wild cattle breeder who, after travelling along the routes of the French wine tradition collecting bottles and flavours, in 1988 decided to stop in the area of the Val Luretta, a small valley at the foot of the Apennine hills near Piacenza, in northwestern Italy. This looked like the right place to start from: an old abandoned vineyard in a territory edged between Piedmont and Tuscany.

Why not? The idea was as clear as it was ambitious: to produce wine at international level that would have nothing to fear from the competition of the great wines he had tasted during a lifetime. A product that could stand the comparison with the best while being easy to drink and pleasantly tasty. Not harking back to a specific tradition might have looked like a limit, but it turned out to be an exceptional opportunity. A land that was identified with an unambitious wine production, if reinterpreted, could become the right place.

The environment was promising, displaying a variety of microclimates and ancient local vine species. And Felice Salamini did not lack the courage to face the many risks and the necessary investments, while abandoning the profit-oriented wine culture that was predominant in the 1980s. Three years after the first vintage, Salamini and his family bought more land around the province of Piacenza and set up around fifty hectares of vineyards. Through the first, inevitable errors, they found a way to put together what would become their method of wine production.

And in the 1990s the first signs of public recognition started coming. The various wine production cultures with which Felice had come into contact found a synthesis in his work, also thanks to the numerous wine experts from all over the world who were invited to spend long periods of time at the company premises as guests of the Salamini family. Experts from the southern hemisphere, thanks to the difference in season, were able to make prolonged stays. It was a long road, fraught with difficulties and cultural resistance but also of winning bets: traditional grapes were grown together with international ones and in the province of Piacenza, famous for Gutturnio (a red sparkling wine whose origins date back to ancient Roman times), Luretta began to produce red still wines that showed their strong personality from the beginning. The wines grew and evolved with time, maturing together with their producers' expertise and curiosity.

Lucio, Felice's son, is today at his side running the company, with the same curiosity and interest in experimenting as he had. In an area where champagne-type wines were traditionally produced following the Charmat method, Luretta has introduced the classic method of French wine-making. It has given renewed importance to the Malvasia, a vine species which until some years ago was held in little consideration and used for mass production. The character of its wines is expressed in an unexpected way with the use of names reminiscent of literary images thanks to Carla Asti, Felice's wife, and her delicate fantasy. In 2002 the company moved into the ancient Momeliano castle, a most natural environment for Luretta. Lucio Salamini continues his father's work under the vaults of the large and picturesque castle cellars, which maintain a constant microclimate amid the flavour of durmast wood from the barrique barrels and the reflections from the aging bottles.

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