Elisabetta Geppetti’s trail-blazing idea of producing a great Syrah in Tuscany’s coastal Maremma area began to take shape as early as the year 2000, when she planted two vineyards to that noble variety at Fattoria Le Pupille. Years of quality selection in the vineyards followed, then vinifications from 2012 on, all of which amply confirmed that the path she had chosen was correct. The final fruit was Le Pupille, a wine that embodied a yet-unexplored aspect of the Maremma’s winemaking potential and expressed at the same time the elegance and fascination of two women intimately linked to each other. Elisabetta Geppetti has been joined, since 2011, by her daughter Clara Gentili, who displays the very same level of passion and, it would seem, far-sightedness as her mother.
A four-handed accomplishment_Le Pupille was also the result of innovative winemaking practices. “My mother and I decided, together with winemaking consultant Luca D’Attoma,” explains Clara, “to vinify each of the two vineyards differently, the grapes from one in large oak tonneaux, the others in large terracotta jars hand-made in Tuscany.”
“It was all quite an emotional project,” added Elizabeth, “and one that our entire family embraced, since, as we love to tell, we all personally destemmed the grapes by hand after the harvest.” And that 2015 harvest yielded wonderful fruit in the two vineyards that unite to produce Le Pupille.
The Vigna del Palo and fermentation in tonneaux_Planted in 2000, this 1.5-hectare vineyard faces east, which allows the grapes to benefit from the less-intense morning light and to avoid the impact of the hotter hours of the day. Thanks to a rather light leaf-thinning during the 2015 season, cluster development was gradual and consistent, and at harvest-time, in the last week of August, the grapes were sweet and aroma-rich, with fairly refined tannins. A 25-day fermentation followed, in open-topped 500-litre oak tonneaux, with careful punch-downs twice a day to maximise aroma extraction, then the wine macerated on the skins an additional 25 days.
The Vigna di Pian di Fiora and fermentation in jars_This small vineyard, barely half a hectare, was planted in 2002. Its particularly cool, dry climate was further accentuated in 2015 by breezes along the valley floor, and the result was a pronounced florality and dense tannins in the grapes. Fermentation in 500-litre terracotta jars preserved varietal fidelity and heightened the grapes’ floral notes. Fermentation began spontaneously, but it was carefully controlled, and the subsequent maceration continued for some eight months, until May 2016, when the wine was finally drawn off and racked at low temperature.
The final blend of the separately-fermented lots matured in new 300-litre French oak barrels for some 10 months, was bottled in March 2017, then received a further 22 months’ bottle-ageing.
The result of this refined process is a Le Pupille of pronounced crispness and elegance, with an intriguing stylistic link to its trans-Alpine cousin. Its complex bouquet boasts wild black berryfruit, spice, and a subtle toastiness. Le Pupille 2015 was produced in a limited edition of 3,000 750ml bottles.