The Wine of the Year (WOTY) 2022 award from Wine Alchemy goes to Tenuta di Ghizzano in Tuscany and its owner Ginevra Venerosi Pesciolini.
Joint winners – for the first time
As is usual, any Wine Alchemy WOTY must be inspirational. Tasting great is a given. But in addition, the winning wine must be genuinely sustainable, express both terroir and the winegrower’s philosophy, and be available in the UK. In short, a WOTY must be a wow! This year, two contenders couldn’t be split, and so are joint winners. In addition, both are from the same winery, one white and one red.
These are the results of the Mimesi project – where ancient natural wine practices have been reimagined in a modern context. Ghizzano might be one of the oldest farms in the area, but it’s also one of the most innovative and ambitious. Indeed, certified organic since 2008 and Demeter-certified biodynamic since 2018, these recent Mimesi Project wines have a distinct identity from maturation in amphora.
Rather than repeat the detail here, you can read about these two wines and the Mimesi project. This article was first published in April 2022. At the time, it was obvious that employing the usual criteria meant these wines were always going to be WOTY contenders.
The Joint Winners
Tuscany has more than its fair share of brilliant wines from famous producers and regions such as Chianti Classico, Brunello, and Bolgheri. However, these WOTY wines are from a lesser-known though ancient wine area between Pisa and San Gimignano. Of course, Tenuta di Ghizzano was already at the forefront with their brilliant range, but I’d argue that Mimesi has taken them to a new, elite level with few peers.
The white is Mimesi Vermentino, (IGT Costa Toscana). Vermentino is a white grape variety and arguably Tuscany’s best.
Meanwhile, the red is Mimesi Rosso (DOC Terre di Pisa), using Sangiovese, Tuscany’s signature red variety, which in the right hands, is a great interpreter of terroir.
Both wines mature in amphora. Using such ancient vessels has made a comeback in recent years. Their employment is now fashionable in some quarters, perhaps no longer as unusual. However, at Tenuta di Ghizzano, the amphora chosen for each wine differs in design and materials. It may seem self-evident that a white wine might mature better in a differently specced vessel from a red wine. For example, each has different needs for micro-oxygen exchange for texture and flavour (reds need more due to tannins). But in practice, few winegrowers make such a distinction.
UK Availability is from Scottish importers Woodwinters. Those living nearby or passing their shops in Edinburgh, Stirling and Bridge of Allan are fortunate. However, the rest of us can order from them online. The Vermentino is £30, while the Rosso is £60.
These two wines brought more pleasure and excitement than any other in 2022, which is no mean feat!