~ The Poggio Valente Vineyard ~

It wouldn’t be odd or even surprising if the first thing you associated with Fattoria Le Pupille was its Super Tuscan Saffredi.  However, if you focused solely on that single vineyard wine, you’d only be aware of half the story.  For while Saffredi is superb,  it was on the back of Morellino that Fattoria Le Pupille was built. And if Morellino is the backbone, Proprietor Elisabetta Geppetti is the heart and soul. 

The Poggio Valente vineyard encompasses 14 hectares and sits approximately 950 feet above sea level.  The vineyard is planted to Sangiovese, known locally as Morellino, and Merlot.  A recent addition, the Merlot was planted in 1997.  Comparably,  the Sangiovese was planted in 1970 and as those vines approach 50 years in age, they are bearing intensely fragrant and flavorful fruit. 

~ Fattoria Le Pupille is located in the Maremma; the Southern part of Tuscany near the Mediterranean Sea. Despite its increasing prominence as a prime wine growing area, the Maremma is still principally wild and untamed ~

Morellino’s rise to prominence in this corner of Tuscany wasn’t fast or easy, but Geppetti has been tirelessly behind the wines from the start.  In 1992 she was named President of the newly created Morellino di Scansano Consorzio;  the first woman in Italy to lead such an organization.  It was a role she accepted with the utmost seriousness and in propelling Morellino forward she earned the nicknames “The Lady of Morellino” and “Ambassador of Maremma”.  Now, some 20 odd years later, Morellino is a serious wine worthy of consideration and it’s fitting that the subject of today’s article is perhaps the best example of the type.  Yes, still today, Geppetti’s Le Pupille is leading the way.  

~ The nucleus of the Le Pupille Estate is the newly constructed winery (2000) that appears as nothing more than a noble residency surrounded by English lawn, manicured topiaries and pristine flower gardens.  However, upon drawing nearer and turning the cantina’s antique key, the scents of wine must fill the air and provide clues to what rests within ~

The 2012 Poggio Valente Morellino di Scansano Riserva is a benchmark for its type.   The wine is a blend of predominantly Sangiovese with a small addition of Merlot that is vinified in stainless steel tanks under precise temperature control.  The wine is then aged for 15 months in a combination of botte and tonneaux and released to the market after a total of 30 months of aging.  

In the glass, the wine is a beautiful deep ruby color with ample violet reflections.  The aromas, which carry across the room, feature vibrant floral notes, crushed wild berry, pipe tobacco, fresh herb and toasted spices.  2012 was a dry hot year in  Maremma, yet on the palate, this wine retains plenty of freshness.  Juicy crushed red fruit is backed by menthol, tobacco and spice notes that are appealing and fresh.  The acidity elevates everything and although some past versions of this wine have been monstrously tannic,  this vintage is smoother and more approachable upon release.  I adore the freshness here and will welcome this wine to my cantina.  93 points.  Approximately  $35 retail. Disclosure: This bottle was a producer provided sample.


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