2016 Fabbrica di San Martino Bianco, Colline Lucchesi
Region: Lucca < Tuscany < Italy
Grapes: Vermentino, Malvasia, Trebbiano
Vineyard/cellar stats: Biodynamic farming; 1-day skin maceration then 6 months in small, old, oak barrels, 6 months in steel tanks and then 6 months in bottle before release; no temperature control; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal So2; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Giuseppe FerruaFabbrica di San Martino is a small estate in the hills above the medieval town of Lucca in Northern Tuscany. Two years ago, we had the pleasure of going there to meet Giuseppe (Beppe) Ferrua, who spent years converting the vineyards first to organic farming in 1998, then to Biodynamic (certified in 2008). See pics here. Beppe is a dapper gentleman who married well. His wife’s family has owned the property, which has only has changed hands once in its 300 year history, for over 100 years. Of the 20 hectare estate, only 2.5 are planted to vines. The rest is other crops you’d expect in the region: olives, honey, fruit and endless brambly forest full of wild pigs. It's a pretty magical place. The stunning historic home itself (pictured on the label), now an agriturismo, is frozen in time, having been spared WW2 destruction by a US Army decree.
This being Tuscany, they make mostly reds, but our favorite wine was the elegant white (actually, orange) wine that spends one day on the skins, then jumps between old oak, stainless steel and bottle aging for 18-months before release. Deep gold in the glass, with a great mouth-filling texture, it tastes like honeyed peaches, yellow flowers and custard, yet has the acidity on the finish to balance the ripe fruit. Don't let the dark gold color scare you - its not tannic in the least - a very friendly orange wine, in fact. On that can age beautifully. When we hung out with Beppe in the ancient servants kitchen, he popped open a bottle of the 2007, which was almost amber in color, like a Georgian amphora wine, but tasted fresh and delicious. A great beginner orange wine that would be amazing with a rich chicken dish, or a cheese/nuts/salumi situation.