Oltrepò Pavese, Lombardia

The Maga family has been growing grapes in the hills outside Broni in Lombardia’s Oltrepò Pavese since 1886.

Following in the footsteps of his father, the late, great Lino, Giuseppe Maga now carries on the family tradition. The Magas’ four hectares of vines are on average fifty years old and planted on steep slopes some three hundred metres above sea level over tufo. Vineyard work is decidedly old-school: the Magas work by hand, avoiding the use of chemicals, and come harvest time they make a rigorous selection of grapes.

The wines are made the same way they always have been here. They are fermented in ancient casks without temperature control, racked with the turn of the moon and bottled with nothing added in the spring. Unusually, the wines finish fermentation in the bottle, resulting in wines that differ markedly from year to year, something Lino always celebrated, wondering why others bother to put the vintage on the label when the wines always taste the same.

These are transportive wines that take you to another place. They have an honesty, transparency and rustic charm that is difficult to find, and possess a phenomenal ability to age.