Parrina DOC, small denomination for still wines of all three colours made from both native and French grape varieties from part of the township of Orbetello in the Costa degli Etruschi or Etruscan coast in Grosseto province in south west Tuscany. The DOC was granted in 1971, before the other DOCs in the Maremma. The driving force for the DOC was a single estate, Tenuta La Parrina. The Pomino DOC has a similar back story, having the Frescobaldi winery in Rufina as its driving force (see Nicolas Belfrage, 2003, p159).

PRODUCTION ZONE | The ​​production zone lies close to Tuscany’s border with Lazio, making it one of the most southerly Tuscan regions. The DOC covers only the foothills area in northeast of Orbetello. Burton Anderson (1990, p230) says the production area is ‘a knoll above the Argentario [peninsula].’ Burton Anderson (1990, p230-1) says the zone comprises: Slopes of Poggio di Leccio around the village of La Parrina, overlooking the Argentario peninsula in Orbetello in Grosseto province.’ See terroir, below.

HISTORY | The viticultural tradition of this territory can be traced back to the time of the Etruscans, who had learned the technique of the cultivation of the vine through their contacts with the Mediterranean civilizations of the Phoenicians and the Greek practices that were later learned and spread by the Romans. And in later times Alla Parrina seemed to continue in the personal heritage the Lorraine tradition, the government work of reclamation and transformation of the land structure, in the Maremma had remained, of the grand-ducal age, the culture of agrarian innovation, solicited and spread by ancient institutions such as the Agricultural Society and the Agricultural Committee, inspired by the Georgofili Academy.

The name La Tenuta la Parrina, which gives its name to the name, boasts a long tradition in wine production from a later period. In fact it is believed that its name is derived from the Spanish presence of the 16th-18th century. In fact, after the transfer of Tuscany to the Medici, the Spanish founded the state of the Presidi (1557-1815) comprising Portolongone (Isola d’Elba), Porto Ercole, Santo Stefano, Ansedonia and Orbetello, which was its capital. There are numerous testimonies of this presence in the territory, in the language, in the monuments and in the toponyms among which can be counted that of “Parrina” that would derive from “Parra” or pergola di vite.

Numerous writings attest to the wine vocation of this area, among which the report by Dr. Alfonso Ademollo (1884) at the Iacini parliamentary inquiry, on the viticultural situation of the province of Grosseto, takes on particular importance. Moreover, in the “monograph on the vine and wine in the territory of Orbetello” the wine technician Luigi Vivarelli (1906) states: “the vine is cultivated exclusively in specialized culture using the canes as supports, which would be good to replace with the iron wires. In addition, the most common pruning is with 5-6 eyes per vine, but Guyot could be introduced.

The wine of the Parrina area, and in particular the white one, was known and appreciated above all in the place of origin, in the taverns and in the inns of the “frasca”, where it was consumed in bulk and successfully accompanied fish dishes among which marinated and smoked eels, which were produced in the Orbetello lagoon.

In 1953, the Parrina farm received a Diploma of Merit for the wine “Ansonica bianca del costa di Orbetello” from the Autonomous Authority, National Market Exhibition of Typical and Precious Wines of Siena. A request for the recognition of the Denomination of Controlled Origin granted in 1971. From this moment onwards the wines of the Parrina denomination begin to be marketed and known in various European countries.

Subsequently, following the studies conducted on the productive and qualitative characteristics of the vines used and after a careful choice, further modifications are made to the specification (DPR 11-7-1986 DPR 2-9-1993; DM 12-1-1994; DM 08-9-1997, rectification Official Gazette No. 276 dated 26.11.1997), the last of which shows in a rather clear manner the new production orientations based on the use of the Chardonnay grape in blends, while other grape varieties such as Sauvignon among whites, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet franc and Merlot among the reds, are now used in the blends of white and red wines, as they have been admitted to cultivation in the province of Grosseto for over twenty years now. This phase also begins new production strategies based on the expansion of the vines used, the increase in planting density, the decrease in unitary production and the updating of the oenological technique, which involves the use of wood to refine the wines rossi (Scalabrelli, 2008a).

TERROIR | In the hilly part, the soils, mainly of Eocene origin, derive from lower sandstones or sandstone schists, while in the foothills there are neogenic (lake deposits) and quaternary soils with a sandy consistency. One has a mainly sandy texture with very low Cation Exchange Capacity, and the other clay-sandy with a high Cation Exchange Capacity, in which the sandy-silty texture is less present. The pH of the soils differs in two categories, one acid or sub-acid, with pH ranging from a minimum of 5.2 to 6, 7, and on the other a sub-alkaline pH of around 7.2 to 7, 9.

Consequently, on one side we have poor and slightly calcareous calcium soils with low levels of organic matter. The level of micro-elements is generally good, especially of potassium, while in some areas there can be deficiencies of magnesium, potassium or phosphorus (which can be added via fertilisers).

WINES

Parrina DOC Bianco | 30-50% Ansonica, 20-40% Vermentino, 10-30% Trebbiano Toscano, 0-20% Chardonnay and/or Sauvignon Blanc, 0-40% other white grapes allowed in Tuscany apart from Moscato bianco. Others Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Vermentino can be labelled as varietal wines (85% minimum).

Parrina DOC Rosato | 70-100% Sangiovese, 0-30% other red grapes allowed in Tuscany apart from Aleatico.

Parrina DOC Rosso & Rosso Riserva | 70-100% Sangiovese, 0-30% other red grapes allowed in Tuscany apart from Aleatico. Others Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot can be labelled as varietal wines (85% minimum), 0-15% other red grapes allowed in Tuscany apart from Aleatico.

Parrina DOC Vin santo | 10-30% Trebbiano Toscano, 30-50% Ansonica, 20-40% Vermentino, 0-20% Chardonnay and/or Sauvignon, 0-40% other white grapes allowed in Tuscany apart from Moscato bianco.

Wineries

No certification | Fattoria La Parrina

Bibliography

Nicolas Belfrage MW, From Brunello to Zibibbo–The Wines of Tuscany, Central and Southern Italy (2nd edition, London, 2003).