AMPELEIA is a Biodynamic winery in Roccatederighi in Tuscany’s coastal Maremma region. It was originally founded as Meleto by Max Suter, a Swiss. In 2002, after his death, his widow sold the estate to Elisabetta Foradori from Trentino and two other partners (Giovanni Podini and Thomas Widmann, although in 2009 Widmann had to leave the business due to other commitments). The name was changed from Meleto to Ampelaia.
VINEYARDS | There are 150 hectares (370 acres) of land of which 38 hectares (94 acres) are vines. The estate lies at three different altitudes between 200 metres (656 feet) and 600 metres (1,970 feet). The first vineyard to be acquired was Ampeleia di Sopra (‘Upper Ampeleia’). Two other blocks were added later called Ampeleia di Mezzo (‘Middle Ampeleia’) and Ampeleia di Sotto (‘Lower Ampeleia’) at 200 (656 feet) to 350 metres (1,150 feet) above sea level.
BIANCO DI AMPELEIA, IGT COSTA TOSCANA | A dry white made from Trebbiano and other white grapes grown in the same vineyard at 300-600 metres (984-1,970 feet). Fermented on skins, aged in cement tanks.
ALICANTE, IGT COSTA TOSCANA ROSSO | Made from a plot of Alicante Nero (Grenache Noir) called ‘Vigna della Pieve’ (‘church plot), listed as number 148 on sheet 153 of the local land registry (‘catasto’). 250 metres (feet). Pebble-rich sandy soils. Aged in cement tanks for 6 months before bottling. | 2014 41 mg/l total sulfites (RAW 2015). | 2015 Lovely fresh-tasting fruit at the Real Wine Fair 2016.
AMPELEIA ROSSO, IGT COSTA TOSCANA | Mainly Cabernet Franc, plus Sangiovese and other red grapes. Aged in both oak and cement tanks. | 2010 Maremma Toscana Rosso 60% Cabernet Franc, 25% Grenache, 15% Sangiovese. Ripe menthol, mint nose with herbal notes, impressive savouriness and restraint (DWWA 3rd May 2013). | 2011 16 months in wood/cement tanks followed by 12 months of bottle-ageing. | 2012 33 mg/l total sulfites (RAW 2015).
CARIGNANO | 2015 Costa Toscana Rosso DOC Very nice bright fruit (Real Wine Fair 2016).
CABERNET FRANC | 2014 29 mg/l total sulfites (RAW 2015).
EMPATIA | 100% Merlot at 500 metres (1,640 feet) in the Ampeleia di Sopra vineyard (see above). 2004 Debut vintage.
KEPOS | Mainly Alicante Nero (Grenache Noir), plus Carignan, Marselan, and Alicante Bouschet. No Syrah. From the lowest-lying vines in Ampeleia di Sotto, closest to the Tyrrhenian (western Mediterranean) sea. Cement tanks. Bottled before the start of the next vintage. | 2011 IGT Costa Toscano Rosso Nice ripe even cassis, interesting, broad and sappy, nice uncomplicated whole berry fruit crisp, medium weight, perfect wine for lunch (DWWA 29 April 2013). | 2013 40 mg/l total sulfites (RAW 2015).
UNLITRO ROSSO | From Alicante (Grenache Noir) plus Carignan and Alicante Bouschet. Cement tanks. | 2014 Costa Toscana Rosso DOC. 45 mg/l total sulfites (RAW 2015). | 2015 1 litre. Made from Alicante Bouschet.
Ampeleia Società Agricola, Loc Meleta, I-55028 Roccatederighi (GR = Grosseto), Italy | +39 0564 567155 | www.ampeleia.it
DWWA, Decanter World Wine Awards, blind tasting, London.
RAW 2015 wine fair London, 17-18 May.
Real Wine Fair 2016, Tobacco Dock, London, 17-18th April.