Douglas Blyde visits the Italian source of Maremma’s super reds

Our wine columnist discovers super wines…

Copper-coiffed, Barbarella-like Elisabetta Geppetti sits in yogic pose atop a tasting table formed from staves of upcycled wine barrels. I meet the ‘Lady of Morellino’ at her winery, Fattoria Le Pupille in Italy’s Maremma, a rosemary-scented scrubland that’s becoming chic. A two-hour drive south-west of Florence, marshlands drained by the Etruscans, inhabited by beach-loving Romans, then farmed by Mussolini were, from the 1980s, gentrified with vines by Geppetti, leading to cosmic wines.

An exhilarating, rutted 4×4 tour brings us to the Magliano vineyard that’s famed for Pupille’s pinnacle wine, Saffredi. No stranger to receiving 100/ 100, the liquorice-like wine was called ‘the father of all super Maremma reds’. Blending French varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot from the local land, the project came to life under the auspices of the late Giacomo Tachis, winemaker genius who also crafted distinguished super Tuscans, Sassicaia, Tignanello and Solaia.

Geppetti is celebrated, too, for Morellino di Scansano, spun from Sangiovese — or ‘sanguis Jovis’ (blood of Jupiter) in Latin. As first chairperson of the Consortium of Morellino di Scansano, Geppetti romanced Morellino until it was elevated to the highest status a decade ago.

Geppetti’s son, Hector (who has four sisters), cooks pici pasta and hare ragu at the family mansion amid botanical gardens while I try 1997 Poggio Valente, the inaugural, Margaux-like, black truffle-scented single vineyard Morellino. ‘The way of producing wines is different today,’ says Geppetti. ‘I wonder what wines I’m having success with today will be like in 20 years?’

Diverting briefly from the famed reds, I cleanse my palate with 2016 Poggio Argentato (£16.60, Despite sounding like an ugly duckling on account of an unusual juxtaposition of ingredients (Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon, Sémillon, Petit Manseng) I am thrilled by the new, mineral family addition.

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