Fattoria Le Pupille began its renaissance in 1985 when proprietor Elisabetta Geppetti began revitalizing the property and the vineyards around the town of Pereta in Maremma, the untamed, wild Tuscan coastal region. Determined to make great wine, she enlisted the help of the late Giacomo Tachis, the Father of many great Tuscan wines, and together they replanted vineyards, analyzed soils and plotted the course for yet another masterpiece: Saffredi.
A lot has changed since then. Geppetti has firmly established Fattoria Le Pupille in the region as a leader in producing Morellino di Scansano. In fact, Geppetti has often been called the “Lady of Morellino” and holds the honor of being the first woman ever to be named Director of the Morellino Consorzio.
“I understood that I wanted to make wine at the age of 20, during one of the many harvests on the family estate. I inherited my love for wine from my grandfather, but then a passion grows through its own channels. I wanted to make great wines and I wanted to do it here, in this beloved land. Then with time I felt that everyone, including myself, is the product of our land and I understood that wine is, and has to be, bonded with the history of the men who live here; it has to converse and grow with them.”
Overall, the Fattoria Le Pupille estate encompasses 420 hectares and today, 75 of those are devoted to vines while the remainder is a mosaic of olive groves, cereals, cork oaks, and forestry. 5 of those 75 hectares are devoted to the Saffredi vineyard, a special place with prime exposition that sits approximately 250 meters above sea level.
Older vintages of Saffredi were comprised of Cabernet, Merlot and Alicante. Today, the Alicante has been replaced by Petit Verdot. After vinification in stainless steel, Saffredi spends 18 months in French barrique, 75% of which are new and 25% of which have already seen 1 passage of Saffredi. Fattoria Le Pupille triumphed in 2014, a vintage that was marked by a cloudy growing season, a rainy summer and threats of mildew and fungus on the plants. My tastings of many wines from the region have showed that the Tuscan coast managed the difficult weather better than much of Central Tuscany and Saffredi clearly met the challenge. Fattoria Le Pupille produced nothing less than a Tre Bicchieri wine despite the difficult conditions.
At the recent Gambero Rosso event, I had the opportunity to chat and taste with Clara Gentili, Elisabetta Geppetti’s daughter and an active ambassador of the estate. I was so impressed with the wine that day that I decided to open one of my own bottles that evening with dinner. I was continually impressed.
The 2014 Fattoria Le Pupille Saffredi was decanted for only 30 minutes. In the glass, the wine is a dark purple color – almost opaque – with just the slightest of lightening at the rim of the bowl. The aromas of the wine are nothing short of spellbinding. White flowers, black plummy fruits and soft spice notes are very attractive. On the palate, the wine is medium to full bodied and incredibly smooth. No rough edges at all; just plummy fruit, spice and soft dark chocolate notes that mix with mint oil to give an almost “After Eight” taste this wine. This isn’t a bruiser at all and it’s not a wine to lay away in your cellar for an extended time. It doesn’t have that sort of structure. What it does offer is a wonderful example of what Maremma can be, even in the most difficult vintages. 20 years ago, no wine would have been made from a vintage like 2014 but the Tuscans have come a long way and there is something commendable about the 2014 Saffredi. Although it’s expensive, it’s a bargain compared to some of the regions other wines and can easily provide wonderful drinking for the next 5 -7 years while the wines from more classic vintages mature. 92 points. About $60. Find this wine.