Tenuta Ripalte 'Ripalte' Rosso Super Tuscan IGT 2012
By International Wine Report
TENUTA RIPALTE ‘Ripalte’ 2012
Report Date: June, 2014
Suggested Price: $45
Drinking Window: 2014-2020
Producer: Tenuta Ripalte
Appellation: Costa Toscana IGT
Importer: Serge Doré Selections
The 2012 'Ripalte' is an interesting blend of Alicante and Carignan from Piermario Meletti Cavallari, who many may recognize from his work in Bolgheri with putting Super Tuscans on the map. Cavallari wants to do the same for the wines of Elba, and this Rosso an excellent start. The wine is fresh and clean with aromas of wild berries, spices, pepper, minerals and licorice. It’s structured and balanced with gorgeous acidity lending to the fresh finish. (Best 2014-2020) - June, 2014 (JD)
By Serge Dore Selections
Tenuta Ripalte Rosso delle Ripalte 2012 Costa Toscana Alicante IGT
85% Alicante, 15% Carignan
In the most secluded and serene corner of the island of Elba, just off the Tuscany coast, the 10 acres of Tenuta Ripalte vineyards rest among ancient Roman iron mines against a backdrop of Mediterranean splendor…Their red wine, the Rosso delle Ripalte, is composed mostly of terrace-planted Alicante (the local name for Grenache) along with 15% Carignan, and the winemaker is none other than Piermario Meletti Cavallari, the founder and godfather of Super Tuscans, who worked for 30 years as director at Grattamacco (neighbor of Sassicaia). Though common to the Mediterranean basin, Alicante is not widespread in Tuscany. Carlo from the winery explains: “It fits very well in Elba’s hot, arid climate and exalts very good minerality from these stony, well-drained soils. For us, it is more similar to a Pinot Noir; we even call it the Mediterranean Pinot Noir, characterized by fresh, softened tannins supporting a beautiful, big body with a nice mineral structure.” Indeed, Alicante thrives in the harsh, dry conditions of Elba, drawing strength and resilience from the poor soils and sending roots deep through the soil layers for mineral and nutrients. Yields are low in these conditions, greatly increasing grape quality. No chemicals treatments are used and the little fertilizer used is organic. Alicante has a dark, colored juice (most grapes have clear juice) and thick skins, so it needs the poor soils to bring the fruit to maturity. The soils develop blackcurrant notes in the wine, and the results are extraordinary - a “different” Tuscan red wine with fresh character and harmony and a most pleasantly surprising elegance all the way through the finish. Besides the conventional combinations with the traditional dishes of the land, Rosso delle Ripalte is ideally served with tomato-flavored Tuscan seafood dishes, especially with cacciucco [fish stew] and baccalà alla livornese [dried salt-cured cod, Livorno style].
The director at Fattoria Delle Ripalte is Piermario Meletti Cavallari. For 30 years he was the director at Grattamacco, Sassicaia’s neighbor in the appellation of Bolgheri. He was the pioneer of not only the property, but also the Bolgheri appellation and the concept of blending Cabernet with Sangiovese and Merlot. He is the “founder” and “Godfather” of the Super Tuscan. Cavallari’s current project is to increase awareness of the wines of Elba in the same way as he did with Bolgheri. Elba, in his opinion, is quite simply the “next big thing” and a thus far undiscovered jewel. The opportunities here are phenomenal. Where most of the properties use the traditional Sangiovese grape, Cavallari has planted Alicante for its body, fruit and resistance to the harsh heat. The 15-hectare winery was established in 1896, and is set in the 450 hectare (1112 acre) Tuscany Archipelago National Park. It mostly produces Aleatico (a traditional wine and grape), and Vermentino, along with this red and a rosé. Practices are organic, with a very significant point: the property is miles away from any neighbors in the middle of the national park so the organic principles really hold here as there is no side-pollution. Fava beans are planted between the vine rows to lock nitrogen into the soil. A new central winery building was designed by renowned architect Tobia Scarpa. ELBA, the largest Italian island after Sicily and Sardinia and located some 30 miles east of Corsica, has a winemaking tradition dating back more than a thousand years. Pliny the Elder called it ‘The Island of Good Wine’ and the remains of wine amphoras from the Roman era found at the bottom of the sea tell the story of wine beginnings. In 1814 Napoleon was exiled to the island for 300 days, and while there passed reforms that greatly improved quality of life of the islanders, reorganized iron-mining activities, and helped develop the production and export of local wine. In his words, "The inhabitants of Elba are strong and healthy because the wine of their island gives them strength and good health."
Blend: 85% Alicante (Grenache), 15% Carignan
Location: 4 hectares (9.9 acres) in the ‘Gorgaccio’ vineyard facing east in Capoliveri, Elba, at 180mt/590ft above sea level.
Age of Vines: 11 years.
Soils: Very poor rocky metamorphic granite soil over 2 iron mines.
Yield: 50 hl/ha
Vineyard Size: 4 hectares (9.9 acres)
Vinification: Vinification in stainless steel tanks, a short fermentation with grape skins.
Aging: 7 months in 100% new French oak barrels
Alcohol: 13.00% Vol.
Production: 1250 cases
Bottled: At the end of spring, one year after the harvest.
Imported by Serge Dore Selections