I recently had the opportunity to taste with winemaker, Caterina Gargari, of Pieve de’ Pitti winery near Pisa in the region of Tuscany. A beautiful place, full of soils of various kinds that she uses to distinguish many of her single-varietal wines.
Caterina is an architect by education, and she has expertly designed her wines to support the elements of flavor, minerality, structure, and elegance.
The name of the winery partly comes from the chapel (pieve) located on the property. It belonged to St. John of Pava and was built on the ruins of an ancient Etruscan church. The other half of the name comes from the Florentine Pitti family who built the villa and owned the estate until the end of the 17th century.
On the property, there is a hill where many vines are planted. This hill comprises five different soils, including volcanic soil and blue clay (actually blue-tinted). And this is where Caterina’s magic starts – in each individual soil with each particular grape.
Making single-varietal wines from specific soil types in Tuscany is a bit of a modern spin, but Caterina does it effortlessly. Her goal is to showcase the grape in its authentic form as it is represented in each unique terroir. By producing wines only from the grapes grown in the winery’s vineyards, Pieve de’ Pitti wines are guaranteed to be managed from vine to glass in a way that represents the intention of Caterina and her team. Including, growing vines in the most sustainable way possible without chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
Vermentino and Trebbiano for the whites showcase very different styles of these grapes. While her Chianti wines are classics through and through.
Aprilante 2022 (IGT Tuscany Vermentino)
The 100% Vermentino comes from a single vineyard called Poggio Valloni with medium arenaceous and sandy-clay soil of marine origin. The wine is bright with bold tropical fruit flavors, and fresh acidity. It has a weight to it that pairs seamlessly with porchetta, pecorino cheese, and fresh bread. Of course, it would be a delicacy to enjoy Aprilante with any seafood dish.
Tribiana 2020 (IGT Tuscany Trebbiano)
Named Tribiana after the ancient name for the grape, this is 100% Trebbiano and 100% a wine lover’s wine. Tribiana includes grapes from two different vineyard sites on marl soil that is rich in fossils and skeletal matter, along with fine, yellow-orange sand. The wine in the bottle is silky with honey flavors and a kick of refreshing minerality and acidity.
The big surprise is an orange tint, likely from a bit of fermentation sur lie in French oak barrels. On the outside, the label features a bee, an original work by painter, Romano Masoni, who drew inspiration from the beehives that once guarded the vineyards. Coincidently, the honied flavor has become a hallmark of this unique wine. Unlike any Trebbiano I’ve tasted in the past…
Cerretello Chianti Superiore 2018 (DOCG Chianti Superiore)
Caterina’s different variations of Chianti are classic through Superiore, Superiore single vineyard, and Riserva (100% Sangiovese) classifications.
The Cerretello Chianti Superiore is 90% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo and black Malvasia from three vineyard sites (Scopajo, La Pieve, Uccelliera). The soil is terraced alluvial deposits with gravelly sand and siltstones, along with clay-limestone-rich fossils and sandy clay and silt with peaty levels rich in skeletal matter. Inside the bottle, the wine is elegant and ripe. Cherry and earth, just like a Chianti should be. Especially delicious when enjoyed with your favorite tomato-based pasta dish.
Moro di Pava Chianti Riserva 2016 (DOCG Chianti Riserva)
This Chianti Riserva is 100% Sangiovese and a serious Tuscan wine. Moro means dark, and the wine definitely lives up to its name. The grapes come from two different vineyard sites (Poggetto and Selva), and the soils are fossil-rich marl and fine, yellow-orange sand. Inky dark and rustic, Moro di Pava has that signature sanguine essence that gives away its origin. Alas, this wine is begging for a comfort meal of roasted meats, mushrooms, and truffles.
Caterina also makes single varietal Merlot, Syrah, and Petit Verdot, as well as a Sangiovese Rossato and Vinsanto, but we did not have the chance to taste these exciting wines. Perhaps, something to look forward to on the next visit or even a trip to Tuscany.
Additional information about the lovely wines of Pieve de’ Pitti is on their website.
Find more of my articles about the wine I’m sipping here or here.
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