Ficomontanino

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Country of Origin: Italy
Location: Chiusi, Tuscany
People: Maria Sole Giannelli, Owner & Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Biodynamic

Items

Ficomontanino 2020 'Zacinta Revi' Bianco Toscana IGT Login AG 90 In Stock
Ficomontanino 2020 'Noble Kara' Rosato Toscana IGT Login AG 89 In Stock
Ficomontanino 2019 'Bulgarelli' Rosso Toscana IGT Login AG 91 In Stock
Ficomontanino 2018 'Granomelo' Rosso Toscana IGT Login AG 93 In Stock

Italy is home to a plethora of risk-embracing winegrowers, but Tuscany is far from the first region that comes to mind when discussing such matters. Much like in Bordeaux, a deep thread of conservatism permeates Tuscan wine culture, and its best-known zones encompass many sizable estates whose output is geared toward satisfying market expectations. It is unfortunate in a sense, as Sangiovese is capable of a uniquely frank and earthy beauty when not tethered to such rigid formalism. But, just as in Bordeaux, those growers who do push boundaries and eschew the safe, market-dictated path stand out all the more strongly by contrast, and their efforts are all the more resonant for their relative rarity.

Enter Maria Sole Giannelli: a young grower with an undeniable spark. Maria Sole is at the very beginning of a project with immense potential. Maria Sole’s farm is called Ficomontanino (roughly, "Little Fig Mountain"). It is a property her grandfather acquired in the 1960s as a place to produce olive oil and breed horses. Situated in the far southeast of Tuscany near the town of Chiusi, Ficomontanino is administratively part of the region, but geographically and spiritually it speaks to both Umbria and Lazio whose borders are mere kilometers away. From her 12 hectares of vines, planted at around 350 meters altitude on the south-facing slopes of her family’s property, one can see Lake Trasimeno in Umbria to the east, the mountains of northern Lazio to the south, and the rolling hills of Siena to the northwest.

Maria Sole’s grandfather planted the first vines on the property almost 40 years ago, making wine as a hobby. Maria Sole’s father ramped up production; his approach was more conventional. It was an approach informed by then-current trends toward power and color. Having studied at Slow Food’s University of Culinary Arts at Pollenzo, Maria Sole was inspired by the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and Masanobu Fukuoka and sought to re-imagine her family’s vineyards as part of a larger ecosystem. When she gained responsibility for them in 2014, she set about establishing a natural equilibrium on the property, incorporating biodynamic preparations, allowing vegetation to grow freely, and relying on only bare traces of copper-sulfate to treat her vineyards.

She has gradually been refining her approach in the cellar as well, working toward ever more expressiveness via ever fewer interventions. Maria Sole’s mother is from Sardinia, and she was inspired to drastically alter her approach to temperature control, sulfur, and other such safeguards by the bold, proudly natural wines of Tenute Dettori (located near to her mother’s birth home), as well as by numerous examples from Piedmont, where she worked after school for a number of years. Her cellar sidekick Fabio, originally from the Valtellina, worked at the legendary Ar.Pe.Pe estate. Both he and Maria Sole bring a certain restrained, precise wildness to the overarching aesthetic of Ficomontanino’s wines.

In addition to her deeply personal versions of Sangiovese, Maria Sole has recently planted Ciliegiolo, Verdello, Gamay, and Rebo (an indigenous Trentino variety). She produces a breathtaking Mondeuse, of all things—from vines her grandfather planted—which we will see in due time as well.

Social Media:
Instagram: @ficomontanino
Twitter: @Ficomontanino
Facebook: @Ficomontanino

Reviews

  • Ficomontanino 2020 'Noble Kara' Rosato Toscana IGT
    Vinous
    Rating: 89 (6/15/2021)

    A captivating bouquet of crushed stone, rose petals, nectarine and freshly sliced grapefruit emanates from the 2020 Rosato Noble Kara. It’s enveloping, soft and soothing, yet also quite savory in character, as tart wild berries and minerals give way to a saturation of sour citrus that creates a spicy tension toward the close. The perfumed and lightly structured finale resonates on melon and green botanicals that lend an exotic flair as the Noble Kara slowly tapers off. This refreshing and characterful Sangiovese Rosato macerates for just 24 hours on the skins prior to spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel.
  • Ficomontanino 2019 'Bulgarelli' Rosso Toscana IGT
    Vinous
    Rating: 91 (12/14/2021)

    The 2019 Rosso Bulgarelli is wonderfully unique, like blending the perfumes of a florist shop with freshly harvested sweet peas and wild strawberries in an air of stone dust and incense. It’s soft-textured with succulently ripe red fruits guided by mineral-tinged acids, giving way to an inner smokiness that mixes with brown spice and tobacco. This tapers off a bit short with a coating of framing tannin, yet it’s incredibly fresh, leaving you salivating and looking back to the glass for another sip. The Bulgarelli is a varietal Sangiovese from the southeast tip of Tuscany, where Umbria and Lazio meet. It ferments spontaneously and refines in a combination of cement and steel vats for one year. It’s a wine more for the Sangiovese geek than the average consumer, but you can consider me a fan.
  • Ficomontanino 2020 'Zacinta Revi' Bianco Toscana IGT
    Vinous
    Rating: 90 (12/14/2021)

    Dried florals, peaches, apricot and smoky crushed stone can all be found as the 2020 Bianco Zacinta Revi lifts up from the glass, along with a hint of raw honey and white pepper that comes forward over time. It’s silky in feel, yet with an almost-frizzante sizzle of bright acids and citrus-tinged orchard fruits. There’s a beguiling inner sweetness here as well, as it peppers the palate with salty minerals, and then leaves a decidedly dry and savory impression through the finale. The Zacinta Revi, a blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% free-run Sangiovese juice, is quite unique, but not for everyone. That said, it also goes down far too easy.
  • Ficomontanino 2018 'Granomelo' Rosso Toscana IGT
    Vinous
    Rating: 93 (12/14/2021)

    Dusty cherry and crushed fall leaves evolve slowly into a deeper display of citrus-tinged raspberries, cinnamon and sweet white smoke as the 2018 Rosso Granomelo blossoms in the glass. This seduces with a silky wave of pure, ripe red berries and spices, as brilliant acidity lends vibrancy and saline-mineral tones add a salty flair. The 2018 has energy to burn, coming across as primary and wild, yet also refined. An herbal twang and grippy tannins collect toward the close. It leaves the palate classically dry, caked with an almost-chalky coating; however, it’s mouthwatering all the same. The contrasts here keep you guessing with each tilt of the glass, a mix of sheer drinkability and noble stature. This is a gorgeous glass of Sangiovese. The Granomelo hails from Ficomontanino’s Melogranino vineyard. It goes through spontaneous fermentation with a two-month maceration, and then refines completely in concrete. I’ll be following this wine closely in the vintages to come.