i Botri di GhiaccioForte
The I Botri di Ghiaccioforte vineyard and winery sit perched atop a hill 250 meters above sea level about 12 miles inland from the coast in the southwestern corner of Tuscany. Tradtional Tuscan varieities have been grown on this site for decades. The most recent replanting took place in 1970. In 1989 the property was purchased by a husband and wife team who continue to work exclusively with Tuscan grapes. Of the four hectares planted to red wine production, 90% are dedicated to two types of Morellino clones and the remaining 10% is planted with Ciliegiolo and Alicante. The current owners have always practiced strict organic farming.
Besides being committed to organic agriculture, I Botri is intent on maintaining the highest standards excellence and dedication to traditional grape varieties and methods of the Scansano area. The wines here have historically qualified for DOC Morellino di Scansano status and were labeled as such. Not content with the way the DOC/DOCG governing body permitting international varieities in the blend in recent years, I Botri has chosen not to be part of the DOC, or, as of 2007, DOCG Morellino di Scansano. Beginning with the 2006 vintage, the wine will be labeled IGT.
All harvesting in done manually. Long macerations of 30-60 days followed by aging of 12 months in Slovenian casks ranging from 7.5-25 hl. Even though the I Botri site says they use small oak barrels, make no mistake about it, these are emphatically not so small as a 225 litre French barrique. After the in botti, there is a small sulfur additon added to the wine before bottling to ensure stability. The wine is aged for several years in bottle in the cool cellars before releasing for sale. In terms of aging before sale, their own self-imposed standards are very similar to that of the Brunello DOCG which say that a wine will not be released to the market until after five years from the harvest. This amount of time far exceeds the Morellino DOCG law which requires only one year in wood followed by another year in bottle for wine to be qualify for Riserva status. Very few, if any, other producers in this area are willing to take all the extra laborious and time-consuming steps to make such a high quality wine that is true to its origins. The result is something unlike most of the soft, fruity, characterless wines that have marred the reputation of the area. I Botri di Ghiaccioforte is a unique, pure, complex and wonderful wine that can come from nowhere else but this special part of the Maremma hills.