In the last installment of her Tuscan journal, FINE+RARE buyer Jessica Bryans visits Tua Rita, the vineyard behind the phenomenal Redigaffi, and Fonterutoli.
My fifth and final day in Italy dawned bright and extremely early. I felt surprisingly fresh after a late dinner the previous evening with the wonderful Giovanni Mazzei of Fonterutoli at his family restaurant – Enoteca Fonterutoli. Giovanni had been kind enough to take me through a range of wines that I hadn’t tasted before – we tend to work most with Siepi at FINE+RARE, so I was glad for the opportunity to taste the rest of the range. The wines that I enjoyed the most were the 2004 Castello di Fonterutoli, a super-concentrated yet still very exuberant blend of Sangiovese with Cabernet and the Mix 36 made from 36 biotypes of Sangiovese.
So, after a good night’s sleep and a strong espresso, I was ready to start the last day of my Tuscan tour. I set off on the 2.5 hour drive along the coast to Suvereto, the home of Tua Rita, where I had an appointment with Stefano. When I arrived the sun was shining on the Redigaffi vines and I toured the property in anticipation of tasting the 2013s. Stefano recounted the early days at Tua Rita, which was originally purchased in the 80’s with only 3ha of land. In 1992 the first vintage was released and after 8 years of hard work the family got their big break when the 2000 Redigaffi became the first ever Italian wine to score 100 points from Robert Parker.
The striking cellars at Tua Rita
Today, the winery remains dedicated to quality. Organic practices are in place to complement other measures of quality control such as green harvesting somewhere between 30-50% of the crop during a “pre-harvest” selection. The wines do not disappoint – highlights are Perlato del Bosco, Per Sempre Syrah and of course, Redigaffi. The biggest surprise for me is probably the Syrah – though it’s aged in new oak the balance is of flavours is superb with deep concentration of violets, crushed rose petals, black and blue fruits fused with the vanilla and spice from the wood. Only 3000 bottles of Per Sempre were made in 2013 so if you have the opportunity to drink some, grab it! The entry level Rosso del Notri is also delicious and vibrant with crunchy red fruit and electric acidity. I am told the pre-harvested fruit (Sangiovese and international varieties) goes into this wine which explains why the quality punches well above its weight.
Finally, I end the trip with a lovely lunch at Tua Rita’s new wine bar and restaurant in San Vincenzo and wave Tuscany goodbye – until next time!
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