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Tua Rita, Sese Passito di Pantelleria 2016
This remarkable new wine from the tiny island of Pantelleria is an important new addition to Tua Rita's stable. Proprietor Stefano Frascolla and his wife, Simone, daughter of Rita Tua, fell in love with an ancient, rugged property in Bukkuran on the north east of the island. 2016 is their first vintage of this special sweet wine, that has beautiful tropical flavours; melon, guava and peach juice combine with exotic spice and star anise. A very impressive wine that's sure to become a star in its own right.
Even when the Super Tuscan pioneers were establishing Bolgheri as a great wine-producing region to the south of Chianti, there were limits to how far down Tuscany the great winemaking aristocratic families would go. So it was up to a modest farming couple to establish an estate (if that’s not too grand a word) in the Alto Maremma, beside the Golfo di Follonica. The intention in 1984, when Rita Tua and Virgilio Bisti bought a property near Suvereto, was simply to live in harmony with nature and farm in a natural way. They had no idea that an initial planting of two hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot would be the start of the second generation of Super Tuscans.
The low-elevation, gently sloping Tua Rita hillsides, standing just 100m above sea level, are rich in silt and clay, which has been carried down over the years from the metalliferous hills of the Val di Cornia further inland, giving the earth a nuanced character of iron richness and salinity - a personality which is carried through the vines and fruit into the wines through a policy of minimal intervention.
The grapes from the early plantings mainly found their way into Sassicaia, while Rita Tua and Virgilio expanded their vineyards and built towards creating their own Tua Rita wine in 1992. They took on Luca D’Attoma as consultant oenologist but remained closely involved themselves, as well as staying true to the original aim of farming naturally, although without a formal definition such as organic or biodynamic. Luca moved on to other projects in 2000, with Tua Rita wine well established, but returned to the fold after a 10 year break to help in the wake of the sad death of Virgilio in 2010.
Despite the expansion of the Tua Rita winery and cellar at the turn of the millennium, hand-picked grapes still arrive in small batches at harvest. They are meticulously selected and de-stemmed at the sorting tables.Then, after gentle crushing, the must is transferred to conical wooden vats for fermentation. Depending on the vintage, maceration lasts twenty-five to thirty days, with carefully regulated remontage. After fermentation, the Tua Rita wine is transferred by gravity flow into oak barriques for malolactic fermentation, before maturing in oak for at least 18 months.