The Wine: Le Trame Rosso di Toscana 2015
The beauty of Sangiovese is revealed here in its most pure form, unencumbered by manipulation of the wine during vinification and elevage and without exposure to new oak.
The vineyard lies at an altitude of 300-350 meters; the average vine age is 15 years. The essential character of this wine can best be described as “ferociously elegant”. But, what appears to be an oxymoron is, in fact, the reality.
There is a gracefulness to this wine, an impeccable balance, that belies the intense concentration reflected in its vigorous, ripe tannins. Annual production is approximately 1000 cases, certified organic.
Vineyard work is conducted according to the general principles of the biodynamic movement. Harvesting is by hand, fermentation occurs in traditional open-topped wooden tanks.
The elevage is long and tranquil with an occasional racking implemented to aerate the wine. Aging occurs in mid-size barrels; the wine is then left to age in bottle for at least six months prior to release.
The Producer: Podere le Boncie
Giovanna Morganti is quickly becoming recognized as one of the best of the new generation of Tuscan winemakers. Her small estate is a mere three hectares and her only wine is called Le Trame (the intrigues) signifying the wheeling and dealing required to purchase the land.
Giovanna’s father was a legendary oenologist who believed in Tuscan varietals long before the “flying consultants” identified this area as a profit center. Podere Le Boncie is situated in the hamlet of San Felice which itself is located a handful of minutes north of Castelnuovo Berardenga, in the southern tier of the Chianti Classico zone.
When Giovanna’s father gave her a small farm with olive groves, called Le Boncie, she added a vineyard planted with her favorites from the experimental project – Sangiovese, obviously, but also Ciliegiolo, Colorino, Foglia Tonda Mammolo and Prugnolo.
The vineyard, planted to a very high density of 7000 vines per hectare and dedicated principally to Sangiovese (supplemented by a few rows of Foglia Tonda and the others for blending), produces the definitive wine of the estate: Le Trame.
The Region: Tuscany
Tuscany, Toscana in Italian, even more so than Piedmont, is the Italian region that has become a synonym with Italian wine worldwide. Its signature rolling hills, cypress trees, winding country roads, and medieval hilltop hamlets have been glamorized by countless films, TV shows, and publications, making Tuscany one of the most famous wine regions in the world.
Tuscany is situated in central Italy, delimitated to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea and to the east by the Apennine Mountains – more specifically the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano. It borders with Liguria and Emilia-Romagna (north), Umbria and Marche (east), and with Lazio (south). The capital of Tuscany is Florence.
The Terroir of Tuscany
In Tuscany, there are several microclimates which contribute to different terroirs. This is particularly evident if we look at the different styles of Sangiovese: cooler areas Sangiovese such as in Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino to, and warmer area Morellino di Scansano.
Generally speaking, the climate varies from temperate and generally warm on the coast to cooler, with significant temperature variations between day and night inland, getting progressively warmer as we move south.
The Red Wines of Tuscany
Tuscany is home of the most widely planted red grape varietal in Italy, Sangiovese, which is present in a variety of clones with different names based on location. Classic Tuscan red wines Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Morellino di Scansano are made respectively with Sangiovese Grosso or Brunello, Prugnolo Gentile, Morellino.
Chianti is also made with Sangiovese, grown all over the Chianti region, traditionally blended with indigenous red grapes Colorino and Canaiolo – although in recent years Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon have also been used.
The coastal area around the town of Bolgheri, and more recently the southwestern area called Maremma Toscana, is where Super Tuscans find their home. Super Tuscan wines are blends including non-indigenous varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petite Verdot, and Syrah.
These French grape varietals are often blended with local Sangiovese, but we also have several examples of non-blended Super Tuscans.
The White Wines of Tuscany
In Tuscany we can also find great examples of white wines, Vernaccia di San Giminiano being the most characteristic, and sweet wines – Vin Santo, Aleatico Passito dell’Elba.
Trebbiano Toscano is the most widely planted white grape varietal but in recent years we have seen an increase in popularity of Vermentino and in some areas Chardonnay.