Le Pupille

Le Pupille is located in the Maremma, in the South of Tuscany and the estate covers 75 hectares under the DOCG of Morellino di Scansano. Considered as the appellation's leading property, the estate produces eight wines with its most famous wine, Saffredi, launched in 1987 by owner Elisabetta Gepetti and consultant winemaker Giacomo Tachis. Elisabetta's belief in the quality of the vineyards of the Maremma and her determination to bring them to a wider audience has been instrumental in the emergence of both Morellino di Scansano as an appellation - with elevation to DOCG as recently as 2006 - and Le Pupille as an internationally-acclaimed winery.

There's nothing new or remarkable about planting Bordeaux varieties in the Maremma nowadays. Everyone's doing it (although, incidentally, Delia Viader of Napa Valley's venture has been abandoned apparently). Planting them in the early 1980s, however, was positively prescient and Fattoria Le Pupille's development of a four-hectare plot as the source of their famous Supertuscan Saffredi gave them and the vines a head start. The other factor in the superiority of this wine over many of its more recent peers is the altitude of the vineyard, 280 metres above the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea, about 12 km away near Magliano in the province of Grosseto in southern Tuscany. The wine is named after Fredi, owner Elisabetta Geppetti's mentor, who planted the Cabernet Sauvignon (and later the Merlot, supplemented by a little Alicante) on this hillside, well to the south of Sassicaia, the pioneer Cabernet of the Maremma. I much enjoyed tasting every commercial release of this wine, from the first one to the 2004; and my notes, supplemented by background information from the property (in italics), appear below. Vines are planted 4,000 to the hectare and the wine is aged in French oak. The role of consultant oenologist has passed from Giacomo Tachis, to Riccardo Cotarella to Luca d'Attoma for one vintage and now Christian Le Sommer (consultant winemaker, ex Ch Latour) and Sergio Bucci (tecnical director). The wine producer owns a total of 70 ha of vineyard, much of it dedicated to their Morellino di Scansano made from local Sangiovese vines. Vineyards are located in various areas, from the vines inside and immediately contiguous to the boundaries of the Estate (12 hectares) to the lots behind the nearby Borgo di Pereta (29 hectares), those in the municipality of Magliano (15 hectares) and in Scansano (4 hectares). Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com