Fine wine from Monte Amiata
20 years ago Toby was manager of a wine shop in Scotland, dreaming of one day being able to make wine like the best of those he sold. In 2012 he made red wine for the first time assisting a small producer of Brunello di Montalcino. In 2013 his dream began to be realised in the beautiful vineyards of Seggiano on Monte Amiata.
Tenuta Tobia is a small collection of vineyards, dotted around the villages of Seggiano and Castel del Piano. These vineyards are well protected by mountains to the South and South-West which obstruct the summer rain storms and provide a climate that is sunny and dry with cool evening breezes. These conditions help to develop grapes rich in sugar, flavour, tannin, colour, and acidity, giving naturally concentrated, elegant wines that age with grace while also drinking well when young.
High above Tuscany's Val d'Orcia, our vines grow among the steep slopes of a beautiful, unspoiled valley close to where two of the great Orcia's tributaries, the Ente and Vivo, meet thunderously in a dramatic rocky gorge. These cold waters are draining the northern and western flanks of majestic Monte Amiata, a long dormant volcano whose 1734m rocky mass is softened in summer by a thick blanket of verdant beech forest. Just above the two streams' confluence, they are separated by a Chestnut-capped ridge of volcanic debris ejected during Amiata's more tumultuous past. Among the trees are numerous linked basins carved into great volcanic boulders thought to be Etruscan in origin suggesting that this mysterious ancient culture of agrarians were once present. It should cause little wonder that they settled here because, as well as providing reliable springs of fresh mountain water, Amiata and her sister peak, Monte Labbro, parry the worst of the summer storms to leave the valleys of Ente and Vivo bathed in sunshine while rain can be seen falling on the mountains' windward slopes. Not for nothing is this place locally revered as the Conca d'Oro or Golden Bowl.
The convoluted folds of the ground heaved up or spewed forth by the great seismic events of millenia gone by provide a patchwork of tiny vineyard sites with varying soils and aspects, from South-facing friable schist to deep sand and boulders of decomposed volcanic debris exposed to the North-West. With each plot vinified seperately the results can be quite varied and provide us with a full pallet of options to be able to blend the best possible range of wines that express this unique territory.
Common to all the vineyard sites of the valley is the cooling influence and late-season diurnal temperature change that extends ripening of our Cabernet-Franc and Sangiovese well into the cool of October. This localised climatic effect is quite palpable to any witness who would stand among the vines as the sun sets in late summer: Within minutes chill air from the upper reaches of the mountain descends into the vineyards, causing a temperature drop of 10 or more degrees, cooling the grapes and thus slowing down ripening.
Combined with the extended hours of intense high-altitude sunlight, these conditions tend to provide us with grapes that are rich, not only in sugars and flavour, but also polyphenols (tannin, colour) and acidity giving naturally concentrated, firm, elegantly structured wines that can age with grace while also drinking well when relatively young.