Giving Your All, and Getting It Back

Bianco di Ampeleia 2019
Toscana Bianco IGT
Trebbiano, Ansonica, and Malvasia Bianca
Biodynamic, organic
Roccatederighi, Maremma, Toscana, Italy
Original founders: Elisabetta Foradori, and her friends Giovanni Podini and Thomas Widmann
Winemaker and company manager: Marco Tait
And there’s a different sort of family behind the scenes

Warm orange golden “morning is breaking” sunlight. Easy breezy scents of oranges and orange blossoms, apples, and a little toasted brioche with a pinch of ginger. Once it touches your lips, here comes orange/lemony/tangerine zest, apples and crabapples, pears, a hint of allspice and a lick of limestone. Very vibrant and alive and a joyful moment frozen in time…or should I say I wish I was frozen. Seriously this summer heat is killing me.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: just makes it a little more tart, so I could go either way

It’s a field blend party where Trebbiano, Ansonica, and Malvasia Bianca get to hang out and in the vineyard together and then be co-harvested and co-fermented. It’s a new blended family, much like Ampeleia, only the grapes didn’t get to chose their new kin. Marco Tait already had his birth family before being invited to Ampeleia by Elisabetta Foradori to join a new type that he got to pick. For around the past 20 years, Marco and his now chosen wine family have all grown together and added new people, animals, farming choices, and experiences. Having Roccatederighi as home must be such a beautiful feeling. I’ll end with a quote from Marco, “I am giving my all to Ampeleia, but she is giving me back even more.”

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Rugged, Handsome and Clooney

Tenuta Ghiaccio Forte
Morellino di Scansano DOCG 2019
100% Sangiovese
Scansano, Tuscany, Italy
Owner (since 1999) and artist: Sandro Chia; Winemaker: Filippo Chia

Glowing shiny translucent ruby. Rich beautiful dark cherry, prunes, and Mission fig aromas blended with earthiness and wet granite post a good summer rain. Sipping plums, cherries, dried figs (my favorite splash of richness), blueberries and earthy; yet it’s still bright, sweet, a smooth groove with just a touch of rugged handsomeness. Kind of like George Clooney. Yep, I’m drinking a glass of Clooney.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: deeper darkness goodness of lush flavors

Tenuta Ghiaccio Forte (Ice Fort, no this is not a GOT reference) has 20 hectares with 12 of those hectares in Morellino di Scansano located right next to the National Park of the same name and is the remains of an Etruscan city. So the tale of their iconic little handsome sculpture head on their labels, comes from an Etruscan sculpture that was stumbled upon or should I say driven over. One of their tractors, broke through the surface of the land into a cavern/tomb where this ancient sculpture was found. I can just imagine the excitement on the find, and the irritation and potential cursing of having to pull the tractor back out. Back to the wine, before 2018, their Sangiovese was blended with 15% Syrah. That’s now a thing of the past. Their 100% Sangiovese doesn’t touch oak, it’s stainless steel fermentation and 2 weeks of it with the skin on. It’s a genuine expression of itself, the history of this land, and the travelers and traders who have passed through its many years. Beautiful, distinguished, passionate, and still a historic wine that lives and has adapted in modern times.

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A Delicate Harmony

Unlitro 2019
Toscana Rosso IGT
Roccatederighi, Maremma, Toscana, Italy
40% Alicante Nero (aka Grenache), 25% Mourvedre, 15% Carignano, 15% Sangiovese, 5% Alicante Bouschet
Biodynamic, unfined, and unfiltered
Founders: Elisabetta Foradori, and her friends Giovanni Podini and Thomas Widmann
Winemaker: Marco Tait

Bright ruby garnet. As expected cherry is the first thing that hits your nose. Next is smoke, plum, salt some tiny flowers with a kick of funk. As it opens throw in a dash of spice and singed orange peel. When it hits your tongue you already know first thing is again cherry. Again smoke and some bio funk is still lingering. After letting it settle a bit there’s tangy fruit and definitely orange. It’s a natural light red, that you’re happy it comes in a liter format, because you’re going to want more than one glass. My second visit with this bottle, ok I chilled it. Don’t be insulted. It’s bleeping hot. It’s much the same but a little more body. I love it and it’s still  an easy picnic or pizza wine, but just elevated. Less tang and more velvet

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: Tangy and smoky

You might remember the incredible winemaker Elisabetta Foradori, from a previous post about her family’s winery Agricola Foradori and her devotion to natural/biodynamic wine. She and her friends Giovanni Podini and Thomas Widmann, started Ampeleia back in 2002. From what I am reading on their site, Thomas Widmann left them in 2009, and there is a “it takes a village” style team that help with all the aspects of how a winery runs. Also not to be left out is Marco Tait who has been their winemaker from day one. He has a beautiful section on their site I just discovered. It’s a personal blog of sorts with musings on the passion and hardwork put into this biodynamic winery, the vineyards, learning to listen to the earth, trust the grapes, and more. At the end of one of the entries, this Goethe quote sums it all up: “It is so pleasant to explore nature and ourselves at the same time, without causing violence neither to Nature nor to our spirit, bringing us both, together, to a balance, to a delicate harmony”.

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