What started in the early 1960’s as a pastoral apple orchard also used for breeding sheep and pigeons slowly underwent a transformation under the watchful eyes of Swiss born proprietors Erica and Peter Suter. Together they constructed barns and farmhouses and then planted their first Cabernet Franc and Merlot vines in the area. Today, the farmhouse is home to Ampeleia’s winery and tasting offices and the current winemaking team is run by none other than Elisabetta Foradori. Overall, the estate is planted to approximately 35 hectares of vineyards which produce almost 150,000 bottles of wine annually.
The town of Roccatederighi, as well as its fort, were named after the descendants who ruled over the area in the 13th century. Attracted by plentiful silver and copper deposits found in the area, the Sienese took control of Roccatederighi in 1405 and annexed it for the Republic of Siena. The artist Simone Martini depicted the capture of neighbouring Monte Massi in the fresco found in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena. This rustic and isolated hamlet is home to the “Costa Toscana” IGT designation that Ampeleia’s eponymous wine bears.
The 2013 Ampeleia is the estate’s flagship wine. A blend of 6 different grapes, many of which are unspecified, the largest percentage in the blend is said to be Cabernet Franc followed by Sangiovese. A medium garnet in the glass, the Ampeleia was double decanted about 45 minutes before dinner. Aromas of dark berries are coaxed gently from the glass and are accented by green herbs and green tobacco leaf. On the palate, this wine is dry and austere with little forward nature to the fruit at the moment. Red plum, faint toast notes and spices on the finish wrap up this rather generic red in uneventful fashion. Is it well made? I suppose, given that the wine is devoid of obvious flaws. Yet in blends such as this, where the grapes come from scattered areas along an undefined appellation, I’m often left wondering what the goal is. What is this wine trying to say? What is it trying to be? At the given price point, I expect more. Quite a bit more actually as I can find many better wines for the money. Maybe it needs aging to come together, but frankly, I’m not interested in finding out. Not recommended. 84 points, about $30. Find this wine. (if you want)
Salute e buon fine settimana!