Azienda Ampeleia | The newest success of Italy’s biodynamic pioneer

L’Azienda Ampeleia – from the Greek word ‘ampelos’, meaning vine – is the fruit of a collaboration between Elisabetta Foradori (from the eponymous Piedmont domain), Thomas Widmann and Giovanni Podini who set themselves up in Tuscany just over ten years ago, some kilometres from the Mediterranean coast.

Elisabetta Foradori’s philosophy runs through the heart of this domain. A pioneer of biodynamic agriculture, she chose to plant just 35 hectares of vines that are grown in a certified biodynamic way. Foradori has preserved the biodiversity of her surrounding land by retaining 85 hectares of forest and introducing cows in order to produce compost and fertilise the soil.

Beyond the domain’s ideal environment, Ampeleia has the unique characteristic of spreading across three plots at different altitudes. The grape varieties don’t all need the same exposure to the sun in order to ripen fully. And for winemakers who seek to intervene as little as Foradori does, this is an essential factor to consider. Let’s have a look at the three terroirs:

‘Ampeleia di Sopra’ is the highest plot, at 450-600 metres, and is the largest in the domain with 15 hectares of mainly Cabernet-Franc and Merlot vines.

Located between 250 and 350 metres and surrounded by a magnificent oak forest, ‘Ampeleia di Mezzo’ is home to Sangiovese, the region’s legendary grape variety.

At 200 metres of altitude is ‘Ampeleia di Sotto’, the plot of vines closest to the coast. Mediterranean grape varieties, such as Grenache, flourish here.

As you can imagine, chance has no place in the work carried out on these vines. Thanks to their efforts and the quality of grapes produced, this trio of winemakers can undertake vinification methods that are free of all inputs, using only tiny quantities of sulphur so as to avoid altering the wine. This precision and rigour are translated well into the pure and fruity wines that have become a firm favourite of ours.

Go to the Azienda Ampeleia wines available at iDealwine

IGT Toscane Kepos 2016

The Kepos cuvée is a blend of several Mediterranean grape varieties (Sangiovese, Grenache, Carignan, Alicante, Mourvèdre and Marselan). From vines planted closest to the sea, the grapes produce a wine that balances its fresh and fruity qualities well. With a lovely minerality and masterful tannins, this wine is a superb representative of fine, Mediterranean wines.

IGT Toscane Ampeleia 2012, 2016

The Ampeleia cuvée, made from quite old vines that are grown biodynamically, is a concentrated, energetic and fruity wine that draws out the best from the Roccatederighi terroir.

IGT Toscane Alicante 2015, 2017

Alicante is the first single-parcel wine produced by Ampeleia, since it is 100% Alicante Nero, better known as Grenache in France. The wine is matured for six months in concrete vats, allowing it to retain all its aromatic freshness, notably its notes of small, red fruits.

IGT Toscane Cabernet Franc 2018

Initially created to be paired with pigeon meat from birds raised on the domain, this 100% Cabernet Franc has a pleasant structure and is easy to drink in its youth. You are sure to appreciate its delicate aromas of red fruits and mint.

IGT Toscane Bianco 2017

The Trebbiano that makes up this cuvée was matured for 6 months in concrete vats and the grapes macerated for over ten days with their skins. It might surprise you with its aromatic bouquet rich in notes of wax, gentle spices, and bitter orange. Its palate carries hints of flint and lemon zest. This is a wine that will pair nicely with a dish of baked fish, for example.