Thursday, December 9, 2021

Unlitro Ampeleia Toscana Rosso

Don't you love it when a wine knowledgeable friend recommends one to you?  I don't mean just one of the gang who all like the same kind of old standbys.  I mean someone with a real palate.  Someone who is blessed with an ability to taste what ninety percent of us can't and then has educated his palate to the point of expertise.  I'm not talking about snobbery.  Who needs that!  I'm just talking about intimately knowing what you're talking about.

So recently I got a recommendation from just that kind of expert.  He's a supplier in the trade but he is so much more.  On this occasion he was talking about a Tuscan red that he was quite taken with  - and here's the clincher - it was not his wine.  It was a competitor's wine he was crowing about.  Instantly my ears perk up.  This wine was so good he was vocalizing its attributes, probably not even thinking about it, and then ruing the fact that it's not in his portfolio.  What a guy!

So I went to the competitor and bought all they had, about eight bottles.  

Unlitro Ampeleia is a Tuscan red from the Ampeleia region of Maremma on the coast of Tuscany.  That region is about a hundred twenty hectares in size with only about forty set in vines.  Ampeleia is rugged territory with elevations varying from 200 to 600 meters.  Fifty-four vineyards are scattered there at different elevations, probably wherever the land is reasonably flat.  The other eighty+ hectares are left wild.

The typical blend from this region might be 40% Alicante Nero (Grenache), 25% Mourvedre, 15% each Sangiovese and Cargnano and 5% Alicante Bouchet.  This kind of blend displays a character most similar to Barbera, Pinot Noir, Gamay or Sangiovese.  But it looks like it might be a Rhone-style wine.  What gives?

The answer is in the winemaking.  Elisabetta Foradori is a white wine maker from Alto Adige.  She is known for her organic, biodynamic and low-sulfite winemaking.  In 2002 she teamed up with a couple others in Maremma to make this clean, fresh, elegant and silky red wine.  It has a dark ruby red color; aromas of black cherry, blueberry and fig; flavors to include bright red fruit, flowers, spices and minerality.  The finish is said to be memorable.

And just like the name implies, it comes in a liter bottle!

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