The Italian trade tasting held this past October in Montreal may be all forgotten to many of my wine colleagues but it stills resonates in my mind.
The first time that I tasted Saffredi was in the New Years Eve 2003 with my Italian family in Loreto Aprutino. In a context of a luxurious supper with many other bottles that included Querciabella, Massetto, Tenuta di Trinoro and a Petrus!!!, Saffredi stood out. Sadly, I cant remember the vintage in question but I do remember how beautiful it paired with a black truffle risotto
After Sassicaia, Saffredi is my favorite Supertuscan. This powerful Tuscan blend evoques in my mind a richer version of a Chateau Lafite. What it is that makes so special?. It is the proportion of Petit Verdot that complements the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Petit Verdot is a grape native to the Médoc area, in France, where it is used for the production of Bordeaux, and is also common in California. In Italy, the Petit Verdot manages to express itself in a truly magical way in Tuscany, in the Maremma area of Livorno, in the Grosseto and in the Agro Pontino in Lazio.
Saffredi is the grand vin of Fattoria Le Pupille, own and managed by Elisabetta Geppetti ( a.k.a the lady of Morellino) near the village of Magliano within the Morellino di Scansano DOC. From its first vintage in 1987, the wine was destined for greatness. Giacomo Tachis consulted on the project followed by Riccardo Cotarella and Christian Le Sommer, ex-technical director of Chateau Latour. However, the driving force of the wine has always been the tenacious and passionate character of the Signora Gepetti.
Saffredi is crafted from a tiny six hectare vineyard planted to mostly Cabernet and Merlot, although the first vintages used Cabernet from vines grafted onto existing Sangiovese rootstocks in one of the family’s original vineyards.
With time, the property gradually expanded, and today has 75 hectares of vineyards across five sites. They lie at elevations between 200 and 280 metres, on mostly stony clay-limestone soils. Sea breezes from the shore, only 10 kilometres away,cold down the baking summer temperatures.
The 2016 vintage in Tuscany is similar to 2015 in terms of outstanding quality. Similar to Bordeaux, the 2016 vintage could well surpass the 2015. It is often too easy to compare vintages, yet 2016 is being compared to great vintages such as 2006, 2008 and 2010 – the new wave great classics.
The 2016 Saffredi blew my mind off at the Italian trade tasting. It had a glorious nose reminiscent of cassis, mint, black truffle and dry lavender. On the palate, it was quite opulent making me think of a Lafite with a Ferrari coat. The flavours were exquisite redolent of savoury notes of tobacco, dark chocolate and coffee beans with sambuca. The finish was incredible long and harmonious much like Mahler Symphony 5
Saffredi is imported in Quebec by Montalvin. It is not very expensive retailing close to $100 per bottle, considering the much higher price of other Supertuscans. For more information on availability please contact the agent directly. I highly recccomend that you buy at least 6 bottles and let this wine unfold with time in the cellar.