Le Pupille – delicious summer drinking
For many lovers of Italian wine, the Fattoria Le Pupille winery and founder/owner Elisabetta Geppetti will need little introduction. The name Le Pupille derives from the two farmhouses, (the Pupils), located on the top of the hills near the village of Pereta, in the deep south of coastal Tuscany. We are in the Maremma, in a DOCG established in 2006, called Morellino di Scansano. This estate didn’t just pioneer that DOCG. Over the last three decades, it’s become a member of wine royalty.
A brief introduction
Elisabetta Geppetti was studying art history in Rome when, in 1985, she inherited a couple of hectares of Sangiovese, a grape which is known as Morellino in these parts. The vines were part of a Maremma estate in an area where vineyards were once few.
At that time, even the potential of the Maremma for winegrowing was an unknown. Geppetti was just 20 years old; a woman in what was still a man’s world. Yet, with the support of people like the late Giacomo Tachis (involved with Sassicaia, Tignanello and Solaia), recognition for her abilities and wines came quickly.
For example, Saffredi became the Maremma’s first Supertuscan in 1987. It’s a Bordeaux-blend red wine, now a cult wine with more than 30 vintages under its belt. And of course, there was the Sangiovese that would become Morellino di Scansano DOCG, still the mainstay of production.
So from this small and unlikely beginning, Elisabetta Geppetti grew a vinous powerhouse that now makes nine different wines, with 500,000 bottles per year. The winery has bought and planted a widespread mosaic of small vineyard plots, totalling 80 hectares. These are scattered amongst olives, grain, cork oaks and pasture totalling 420 hectares.
As for grape varieties, Sangiovese, the signature of this land, occupies 70% of the vineyards. There’s another 10% given to the indigenous reds; Malvasia Nera, Ciliegiolo and Alicante (aka Grenache Noir). The French red varieties together make up 10% (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc). The final 10% is white: Traminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Petit Manseng and Sémillon.
A White and a Rosé
So here I could wax lyrical about the inspirational star reds; the fabulous Saffredi, Poggio Valente, and Morellino di Scansano Riserva. Instead, this article focuses on two other wines from the Le Pupille stable. These are less well known but are ideal for summer drinking – a white and rosé. In the UK in June, if you don’t look out of the window, you can imagine with these wines that summer is here.
These two wines get just as much care and attention to detail as their more famous red brethren. They make for delicious drinking and are versatile with food. And each is no less joyous. Welcome then, Poggio Argentato and RosaMati.
Poggio Argentato, IGP Toscana Bianco, 2019. Tuscany, Italy. 13.5%
Poggio Argentato is a kind of white “Bordeaux Blend Plus”. It’s an unusual blend of white grape varieties, being 60% Sauvignon and 10% Sémillon, but with 15% Traminer and 15% of Petit Manseng also included. It is packaged in a narrow flute bottle and with a DIAM cork. The first vintage bottled of this rich, mineral white was in 1997. Fermented in stainless steel, a third of the wine goes through the second malolactic fermentation to soften up the acidity. The wine matures for five months in stainless steel, apart from the Petit Manseng. That gets three months in new Bordeaux barrels. There are 50,000 bottles each year.
Yellowish with a green highlight, the aromas are elderflower and mown grass. The palate has a delightful balance of citrus, exotic fruits and mouthwatering acidity, being long and persistent. Subtle and thrilling.
Food – a delicious partner for tagliatelle and clams. Seafood and white meats, vegetable dishes and salads. Or just on its own.
Armit Wines, £14.14
RosaMati Rosé, IGP Toscana Rosato, 2019. Tuscany, Italy. 13.5%
RosaMati is 100% Syrah, first made in 2007. In the winery, the grapes are destemmed, and skin contact lasts only a few hours to extract the delicate colour. Fermentation takes place in steel tanks. For more complexity, 10% of the wine is matured in oak barrels for two weeks, while the rest is in stainless steel for four months. It comes in a clear bottle to let the colour shine through, with a DIAM cork. There are some 15,000 bottles each year.
A delightful light pink/onionskin colour, it has aromas of red berries and citrus. The revelation though is on the palate; bone dry, refreshing acidity, a rounded body and with a slippery texture reminiscent of the best rosés from Provence. Berry fruits and a persistent and satisfying length too. In short, an early contender for my wine of the year – it’s that good!
Drink as an aperitivo, but again this is a food-friendly wine, suited to a wide range of grilled fish or sushi/sashimi. However, a simply grilled pork chop with herby new potatoes proved to be a fabulous match. Outstanding!
Armit Wines, £15.84
Both these wines are ready to drink and offer a perfect refreshment during the warm summer months. However, their exceptional quality means that they are excellent wines all year round. Ideal then for those that always keep summer in their hearts.
Fattoria Le Pupille
Piagge del Maiano, 92 A
58100 Grosetto (GR)