2016 Cosimo Maria Masini ‘Annick’ IGT Bianco Toscana
Region: San Miniato < Tuscany < Italy
Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Demeter-certified biodynamic farming; Sauv Blanc is free-run juice, Vermentino macerates 4 days on the skins; both are bladder pressed and fermented in concrete; after fermentation, the two wines get blended and stay in concrete for 4 months before bottling; unfined/unfiltered with zero added SO2; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Francesco De Filippis
I spent 24 hours with Francesco De Filippis, winemaker/partner, this summer at Cosimo Maria Masini in Tuscany, near Pisa. The physical beauty of the place is spectacular, from the cellar (19th century) under the 15th century villa, built by the Medici family, later the home of the Bonaparte family. (Napoleon once lived there.) And oh yes, the stunning guest house with the infinity pool overlooking the countryside did not suck. But it was the symbiotic chaos of the thriving, wild ecosystem – vineyards surrounded by gardens, fig trees (where fat chickens nest) and acres of olive groves – that got me. For Francesco, biodynamic farming, which focuses on the soil vs. the vine, is the only way. The dude has a PhD in Agricultural Science, so for him, it’s not a hippie thing, it’s science – in fact, he’s leading one of the first scientific studies to measure how the vitality of soil affects the quality of grapes (and wine). He says that when biodynamic farming began ten years ago in the Cosimo Maria Masini vineyards, the nearly 100% clay soil was hard as rock, with deep cracks where the it had split apart. After changing from conventional to biodynamic practices, the soil has become looser, richer and revitalized with micro-organisms. The vines are healthier, and the wine has finally reached its potential. In fact, it’s pretty damn awesome. For starters, we bring you the Annick, a pretty white blend named after a Masini family member. Fresh and zippy with lemon zest, nectarine and white flowers. Zero-added sulfur, yet so clean, not a hint of funk.