Tuscany's North Star
"Ampeleia is one of the stars of the Tuscan coast.....At their best, the Ampeleia wines are among the most pure, transparent expressions of the coast readers will find. Elisabetta Foradori and her team are doing important work here. Ampeleia is a young estate. There is every reason to believe the best is yet to come."
—Antonio Galloni, September 2014
Overlooking the medieval village of Roccatederighi, is the estate of Ampeleia.
The winery was founded in 2002 by the living legend Elisabetta Foradori, and her two close friends Thomas Widmann, and Giovanni Podini.
In Ampeleia, they saw a place where they could not only develop an agricultural project, but also fulfill a common vision.
Ampeleia is truly collaborative.
While Elisabetta is at the hel,, her namesake alpine estate (Foradori) takes up the bulk of her time.
Ampeleia exists because of the hard work of a group of folks that share her vision. With great passion, they dedicate their time and energy for the success and development of the project.
Simona Spinelli has been managing the administrative and commercial aspects since the very beginning. Marco Tait oversees all aspects linked to wine production.
Their efforts are complimented by a dynamic and energetic group of young people who work together. The atmosphere is one of dialogue and the single purpose: unleashing the potential of this unique terroir.
The vineyards of Ampeleia have been planted and cultivated biodynamically since the beginning.
As a model of biodiversity, they are planted on three different levels of altitude varying from 200 to 600 meters above sea level:
- Ampeleia di Sopra (Upper Ampeleia),
- Ampeleia di Mezzo (Central Ampeleia),
- and Ampeleia di Sotto (Lower Ampeleia).
Ampeleia includes a total of 150 hectares, of which only 40 are planted with vines.
The property slopes down towards the sea, and nestles in a territory made of numerous plots of land, hidden among the lush vegetation. This is where earlier Etruscan settlers nourished the soil to grow grapes. Each vineyard was planted after in-depth research into the terroir of each site.
Variety is the soul of Ampeleia.
In fact, variety represents the project’s constant quality, both physically and symbolically. It harmoniously expressed in its wines which taste of the varied lands of the area around the village of Roccatederighi.
Many of the grape varieties that have been planted in Ampeleia are common in Mediterranean farmlands.
In the past, vineyards were often planted with many types of grapes and all harvested at the same time. The vineyards at Ampeleia reflect this tradition.
Here, winemaking is simple. It is driven by intuition, experience, and talent.
Nothing is added or removed and all fermentation is spontaneous. Little intervention is necessary in the cellar because the vineyards and the fruit they produce are balanced and healthy.
Each bottle of Ampeleia is its own little masterpiece.
They represent the untapped potential of the hills of Maremma. They are delicious and joyful expressions filled with intense impressions of the Mediterranean.
Focusing on the synergy between mankind and nature, they have realized Elisabatta Foradori’s vision of producing fresh and elegant Tuscan wines that are crystal clear expressions of their exceptional terroir.
The Tuscan coast in a bottle.
Bianco di Ampeleia is a field blend with a base of Trebbiano (probably 70+%) with Ansonaco (aka Ansonica or Inzolia, found mostly off the Tuscan coast on the island of Giglio, and also in Sicily), and a couple types of Malvasia.
The Trebbiano was taken from very old-vine cuttings from a neighbor of Ampeleia. The Ansonaco came from cuttings from Altura on the island of Giglio. The grapes were co-harvested in mid-September and co-fermented in concrete vats, with 7-10 days contact with the skins.
It aged on its lees for 6 months in concrete. The Ampeleia Bianco is a glorious color like a pale lager or cider. Lots of apple and pear on the nose which is present in the palate. A mildly rich texture is tempered with acidity and finishes with nutty, salty minerality.
A truly spectacular and singular expression.
Firm tannins, juicy and bright acidity with more red fruit, dried Mediterranean herbs, a touch of spice and a lot of minerality. Somehow both light and fresh yet intense and concentrated.
Alicante Nero, Connonao, Grenache are just some of the names given to this most Mediterranean of grapes.
The fruit for this wine is from a 250 meter high plot called “Vigna della Pieve'' where big stones are strewn atop sandy soils, not unlike some of the best spots in the Southern Rhone. This helps the grapes become fully ripe while keeping the sugar and thus resulting alcohol low.
A small part of the harvest undergoes carbonic maceration, the rest is either done whole berry or crushed. Aged for 6 months in cement, Amplelia’s Alicante is an expression of the freshness and vitality of the estate. Light garnett in the glass with aromas of fresh strawberry, eucalyptus, mint and rose petals.