A saint, is a term used for a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness to God, But when i get know about Romano Levi’s dedication and Craftsmanship toward Grappa, make me to address as Saint Romano Levi with all respect.
A young boy, Romano Levi who took over inheriting his father’s Piemontese distillery at seventeen-years-of-age, he took the only option available to him and began full-time work as a self-taught distiller.
Serafino Levi (father of Romano Levi) married Teresina Balbo and two children were born from the marriage, Lidia and Romano. In 1925, he chose to settle in Neive, land of great wines and where pomace of the highest quality was available, here he founded his direct fire distillery.
Serafino died young in 1933, leaving two small children and his wife, who continued to run the distillery. But she too was marked by a tragic fate, she died during an air raid in 1945. Romano Levi was then 17 years old and a student at Alba. He decided to quit his studies and, with the help of his sister Lidia, continued distillation.
He is now a well-known artisan producer of renowned Grappa, poet and label designer, a celebrity in Neive. For him, the Wild Women are visions; memories of the past, of when he went to school on foot and in the street came across “beautiful dishevelled women, who were a little bit crazy, a little bit witches and a little bit fairies”.
This is how Romano describes the “Wild Women” to us:
“As a kid I went to school going through the vineyards. Often, among the rows, there were the so called “ciabòt”, tiny shelters where the tenants and peasants took refuge … I used to pass by there in the morning and sometimes I saw these women coming out of the shelters, beautiful and dishevelled, a little crazy and lonely, often living at the margins of the peasant society. They were mysterious, without constraints, they disappeared and then came back, a little bit like witches and a little bit like fairies.They were free, as all women should be to be able to enjoy the best part of life”.
The Wild Woman is characterised, in the Langhe peasant society, as the bearer of an ancient culture, in close contact with nature and its secrets, with jobs linked to seasonality, with the wisdom of the old people interspersed with popular and superstitious religiosity. An ancient tale about the Saliges describes the Wild Women of the Langhe as “recurring figures in the sagas of the Alps, which represent the deepest feminine, bodily and instinctual roots: the archetype of nature wild and free, untouched by civilisation and its discontents”.
The concept of the Wild Woman was then taken and made famous by Romano Levi,
When it comes to the types of Grappa, it is often wrong to think only about Romano. They should be called GRAPPE DI LIDIA AND ROMANO LEVI, both because the distillery was undivided heritage of the brothers, and because Lidia, isolating herself on the first floor of the house in which she led an almost monastic life, selected and achieved the very rare bottles of herb Grappa. Lidia was the older sister, an exceptional woman, protective, strict and cautious in Romano levi’s words.
But it is with Romano that fame is gained by his bottles of Grappa, for the labels written by hand and then enriched with poetic phrases or naive drawings, those little masterpieces we now call “WILD ART”, The first handwritten labels were created in 1962/63 when he starts to make labels torn from a piece of paper, also he produced few personalised version for local families and close friends.
Grappa di Lidia and Romano Levi Grappa’s are unique not only by label also by quality as well and it is well known grappa amongst collectors. Also visit this page for their extreme selection of Grappa’s and their uniqueness http://en.distilleriaromanolevi.com/grappa
Almost all of the world invention is meant to make life easier, In my opinion only Alcohol is invented for Joy, Happiness and Pure Enjoyment.
With Love towards Sommelier Life