Monday, January 22, 2024

LA VINUM - Tenuta di Ghizzano and the double soul of the Mimesi project: Sangiovese and Vermentino


"The shot widens over the soft Pisan hills embellished by the influence of the sea. The Venerosi Pesciolini family has owned the Tenuta di Ghizzano company since 1370. The headquarters are located in the municipality of the same name dominated by the ancient watchtower. We are in front of a landscape of poignant beauty where tranquility reigns supreme. The typical colored houses make this enchanted village, among the most beautiful in the Tuscany region, quite picturesque. At times it seems like you are experiencing the atmosphere of a fairy tale. Once we arrive at the company we find a wonderful Italian garden, while the actual cellar insinuates itself under the foundations of the Villa and the vineyards, all around, create landscapes with a strong Renaissance appeal. The owners of this well-known Pisan wine company strongly desire to protect the surrounding environment by preserving its healthiness and biodiversity. Tenuta di Ghizzano is in fact a biosystem of 280 hectares of which 20 are under vineyards.

Ginevra Venerosi Pesciolini

The company's philosophy has always been to embrace agronomic techniques that are as respectful as possible of soils and plants, obtaining, in fact, organic certification in 2008 and Demeter biodynamic certification in 2018,” explains Ginevra Venerosi Pesciolini, at the helm of the estate. The Mimesi project is the result of years of experimentation carried out both in the vineyard and in the cellar. This choice made by his family undoubtedly marked a further step forward in terms of expressiveness and integrity of the territory. Ginevra's words are clear and exhaustive and leave no room for doubt about the direction taken by the group. “For Mimesi we chose historic vineyards and recovered ancient methods of cultivation and winemaking, re-proposed, however, in a modern way. A choice that after hard work has allowed us to achieve significant results. In the cellar the wine vessels chosen are amphorae, which thanks to their particular porosity favor a slow maturation of the wine while respecting the purity of the fruit. The choice of name was born from this modus operandi: Mimesi. From Greek philosophy the desire to imitate nature in its authenticity, taking up the ancient art of observing and studying nature to grasp its deepest essence".

The park and the villa

The project has reached its third harvest with the Terre di Pisa Sangiovese Mimesi 2020 and the Costa Toscana Vermentino Mimesi 2022. The two vines in question have always represented the flagship of regional viticulture. They are also two cultivars with extreme versatility and act as a true symbol for the company. Through their contribution the winery has managed to best express the character of these hills. The grapes grow on soils largely made up of marine sediments, with more or less calcareous clay sands dotted with shell fossils. The company produces around 80,000 bottles a year. The vineyards are cordon-spurred at different densities depending on the time of replanting which took place from 1989 to the present day. The climate in this part is rather mild because it is influenced by the sea winds, without extremes in temperature and above all risks linked to spring frosts.

In the vineyard it is important to let the soil breathe, for this purpose around 30 different varieties of seeds are sown between rows. Only copper and sulfur at low concentrations are used. Each parcel is harvested strictly by hand and the bunches, taken to the cellar in small ventilated 20 kg boxes, after an initial passage on the sorting table, slide into the destemmer and from there - at least the grapes destined for the two top wines - end up in trolleys of 4 quintal steel where they are then delicately "pressed" with the feet. For both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation, only indigenous yeasts are used and any operation proceeds by gravity. For the Mimesi Tenuta di Ghizzano project, after a period of research and continuous experimentation, he chose the Cocciopesto Drunk Turtle and Tava terracotta wine vessels. These two types of amphora are consistent with the company's production philosophy. The latter aims to preserve the integrity of the fruit in its expressive purity and to enhance the peculiarities of the surrounding area. This material, thanks to its particular porosity, reproduces the slow maturation of the wine and promotes micro-oxygenation.

In addition to the two Mimesi labels that I will illustrate shortly, the company also produces Veneroso, a blend of Sangiovese and a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. Alongside it we find Nambrot made from Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot grapes. The range is completed by Via di Mezzo, a pure Sangiovese, Ghizzano Rosso and Ghizzano Bianco; the first is a sangiovese with a small balance of merlot, the second a blend of typically Tuscan white grape varieties such as Vermentino, Trebbiano and white Malvasia. Last but not least, it is worth saying, the Passito IGT San Germano obtained from Trebbiano, Malvasia bianca and Colombana grapes from old vineyards, as well as two types of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Costa Toscana Vermentino Mimesi 2022

The 2022 vintage was rather complex and characterized by a winter without precipitation and high temperatures which have been recorded since May. A spring almost completely devoid of rain, all this helped to avoid attacks by pathogenic fungi. The summer was torrid and hit by severe drought, except that the August rains arrived at the right time, thus effectively accelerating the resumption of ripening of the grapes. At the beginning of September, the harvest of the Vermentino grapes from a single vineyard: Il Mulino was practically completed. The wine ages for 4 months in TAVA Terracotta amphora on the fine lees. Lively straw yellow, bright hue and a good dry extract. The breath is particularly fresh, easy, less exuberant than wines belonging to the same denomination, and in my opinion this is a good thing. With slow oxygenation, citrus suggestions of cedar and mandarin slowly and gracefully emerge, a beautiful floral that is divided between mimosa and hawthorn and a brackish - and partly iodized - echo that strongly recalls the sea. Great progression on the palate: it is a juicy, vertical wine with a long savory trail that blends in with the intrinsic drinkability in the total absence of perceived alcohol. Perfect in combination with a plate of mezzamaniche garlic, oil, chilli pepper, yellow cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and squid.

Terre di Pisa Sangiovese Mimesi 2020

The spring season was regular as was the distribution of rainfall, the vines therefore reached a good vegetative balance. The frost at the beginning of April hit some portions of the Santa Maria vineyard, especially the area where Sangiovese is grown. Regarding the Mimesi 2020 they come exclusively from the La Torricella cru. The company has implemented a drastic reduction in yield without affecting the quality of the raw material in any way. The continuous rains in June facilitated the development of the plant, on the contrary the months of July and August, which were very sunny, favored the regularity of veraison. Thanks to abundant rain that occurred on August 17th, the grapes reached phenolic ripeness. The wine ages 14 months in Cocciopesto Drunk Turtle amphora and one year in the bottle before being put on sale. It has a lively, bright ruby ​​color with a garnet edge; you can also notice a good consistency. Its breath is gentle, sweet: the red fruits, including currants and ripe cherries, slowly emerge, bringing with them a balsamic and spicy layer that enlivens the olfactory picture. After 15-20 minutes from pouring the tones are much more complex and rich in mineral and woody scents, partly attributable to the wet soil and humus. In closing, medicinal herbs blend well together. Great complexity maintained even 24 hours after pouring. I taste a sip and the synergy between flavor and freshness is the first thing I appreciate about this Sangiovese, the same one that absolutely does not sin in terms of flavor depth/density. The alcohol is well blended within a highly respectable material, characterized by a perceptible tannin and a pleasant final almond note. I paired it with a plate of pici with wild boar ragout." 

Andrea Li Calzi 

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