Gamay, Pinot Noir and Malbec, three difficult, controversial vines that are not very widespread in Tuscany. When my father decided to plant these varieties in 1986 (Pinot Noir) and 1997 (Gamay and Malbec), there was much criticism and skepticism: Pinot Noir and Gamay in a climate very different from that of Burgundy? Malbec in Tuscany? Today I can proudly say that the choice made in the past by my father was as bold as it was right because with our terroir we are able to make Malbec, Gamay and Pinot Noir aged in high quality barriques. A truly bold choice.
In 1997 my father wanted to expand the winery by planting 2 hectares of Malbec but his nurseryman (Pépinières Guillaume) strongly raccomand him to also plant 1 hectare of Gamay. My father’s amazement was great, his goal was to make structured, long-longevity wines, not a wine to drink in a year like Beaujolais Nouveau; but the nurseryman insisted, saying that with our microclimatic position we would obtain a completely different wine from what is made in France. And against all odds we can now say that he was right. Originally from Burgundy just like Pinot Noir (of which it is a descendant), Gamay has always been a neglected grape variety since the Middle Ages. In 1395 the Duke of Burgundy Philip the Bold prohibited the cultivation of Gamay to favor Pinot Noir, considered more suitable for the production of quality wines. Considered a vine suitable only for cool climates, I can proudly say that this is not true: we have managed to make something completely different, a structured, long-lived wine that can withstand 3 years of aging in barrique without being overwhelmed by it. I don’t think there is another Gamay winemaker in Tuscany who vinifies it like we do, a truly unconventional wine that has nothing to envy of other much more renowned wines.
Pinot Noir, a grape variety that has been written about a lot in the past and which has evoked and still evokes an unparalleled charm. Symbol of Burgundy, making a Pinot Noir worthy of this name is a real challenge: this is because Pinot Noir is delicate, sensitive, precocious, difficult to manage both in the field and in the cellar but at the same time gives as a result wines that are among the best in the world. The benchmark remains Pinot Noir from Burgundy but if before there was a sort of veneration that led on fanaticism, today the situation has improved. It is said that it finds its maximum expression in cool climates but I don’t agree at all: the many studies done on clones and the skill of many winemakers have demonstrated that high quality Pinot Noir can be made even in hot climates. The advanced age of our vines (more than 35 years), their extreme sensitivity and the small number (500 vines) unfortunately allow for a very small production (around 400 bottles per year), but we are already organizing to increase production. A vine that I love very much, certainly the most difficult to work with but also the one that gives the most satisfaction, because making a Pinot Noir in Tuscany that can rival the greats is truly a great pride.
It is a common phrase that a good wine is born in the vineyard and in the case of a rough diamond like Malbec this statement is valid at least twice, because Malbec is a generous vine and very sensitive to diseases. If today Malbec is included in the firmament of great wines, the credit goes to Argentina of which it represents the main grape variety. In France its main area is Cahors (Gironde) but it is also present in the Medoc where it is mainly used in blends to give colour. Although this vine is known to most by the name of Malbec, its original name is “Cot”. Our first plantings date back to 1997 and my father’s choice at the time was very courageous: no one in Tuscany at the time had ever planted 1 hectare of Malbec with the idea of making a wine aged in barriques. A choice opposed by many at the time but which ultimately paid off. From Malbec we obtain an elegant and structured wine (the careful use of barriques is really a game changer), dark purple in color like no other and hints that are not often found, such as dark chocolate and damson skins.