Tua Rita | Maremma, Italy
The intention in 1984, when Rita Tua and Virgilio Bisti bought a property in Notri just outside the beautiful old town of Suvereto at the southern end of the Maremma region, was simply to live in harmony with nature and farm in a natural way. They had no idea that an initial planting of two hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot would be the start of the second generation of Super Tuscans.
The low-elevation, gently sloping hillsides, just 100m above sea level, are rich in silt and clay, which has been carried down over the years from the metalliferous hills of the Val di Cornia further inland, giving the earth a nuanced character of iron richness and salinity - a personality which is carried through the vines and fruit into the wines through a policy of minimal intervention.
The grapes from the early plantings mainly found their way into Sassicaia, while Rita Tua and Virgilio expanded their vineyards and built towards creating their own Tua Rita wine in 1992. They took on Luca D’Attoma as consultant oenologist but remained closely involved themselves, as well as staying true to the original aim of farming naturally, although without a formal definition such as organic or biodynamic.
Luca moved on to other projects in 2000, with Tua Rita wine well established, but returned to the fold after a 10 year break to help in the wake of the sad death of Virgilio in 2010.
Despite the expansion of the winery and cellar at the turn of the millennium, hand-picked grapes still arrive in small batches at harvest. They are meticulously selected and de-stemmed at the sorting tables.Then, after gentle crushing, the must is transferred to conical wooden vats for fermentation. Depending on the vintage, maceration lasts twenty-five to thirty days, with carefully regulated remontage. After fermentation, the Tua Rita wine is transferred by gravity flow into oak barriques for malolactic fermentation, before maturing in oak for at least 18 months.
As the vineyards expanded to 9.5 hectares, then 20ha by 2000 and now 35ha, other varietals were planted - including Cabernet Franc, Tua Rita Syrah and Sangiovese. This has allowed some outstanding and highly distinctive wines to be produced.
Rita Tua and Virgilio’s daughter, Simena, and son-in-law, Stefano Frascolla, now run operations - with Rita more often in the kitchen than the cellar nowadays. Over 30 years on, Rita Tua’s family is living and working in harmony with nature as she and her husband intended - they just happen to be producing some of Italy’s finest wines as well.