Imagine a wine producer who is willing to risk not producing a vintage so to follow mother nature’s course in determining the fate of his wines. It seems a thing of the past… or not?
Sometimes you arrive to the point of your wine appreciation journey whereby you see through the modern techniques used by many of today’s wine makers who strive to match the expectations of the mass market instead seek out wines that are exposed truly to how mother nature dictates.
If this is you, you need to check out Podere San Michele http://www.poderesanmichele.it/en/maremma-winery.html, in the western coastal area of Tuscany known as Maremma. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting twice with one of the Socci family members, Giorgio, whose passion for wine just oozes out the moment you start talking to him about his family’s wines. Podere San Michele is in an Etruscan area which was the civilization prior to the Romans and known for its wine making. This tradition seemed to literally pass to the Socci family’s roots who through the generations have followed a natural approach to wine making. They fully embrace the terroir and what nature brings forth, from the vineyard to the wine cellar, such as avoiding pesticides, fertilizers, wooden barrel fermentation and any additive, from yeast to sulfites, so to not interfere with nature’s course in creating the wine. The Socci’s have identified similarities of its vineyard to the French Rhone valley area, such as the climate and a rich mineral soil, and in fact their most impressive wines known from the Rhone valley: a Syrah and a Voignier. The Alaterno Syrah is my favorite, a fruity, minerally Syrah which is smooth and bursting with flavour, great with food or on its own.
Plus you’ll find when drinkimg this wine, or any from Podere San Michele, that you don’t have the negative after-effects of wine drinking, i.e., a headache, so your body and mind also reap the benefits from the Socci’s commitment to a natural approach to wine making.
In Maremma not far from Podere San Michele is my friend Andrea Valurta’s olive tree farm where he follows a similar philosphy in making his olive oil ‘Olio la quota di Setulio’ at Podere San Giovanni in Baccinello di Scansano, in the comune of Grosseto. He takes great care to produce an olive oil that is full bodied yet delicate.
Besides eating and drinking, Maremma is a great place to relax and explore – be sure to add it to your bucket list of places to visit!
Ciao for now,