A wine enthusiast puts down roots in the mountains of Southern Tuscany...
In another time and place Toby was once an enthusiastic buyer, seller & taster of some of the world's most delicious wines. The diverse and fascinating flavours he discovered in almost 15 years of work as a professional in the U.K. wine trade ignited in him a fascination and passion for understanding how great wine is made.
An inspired journey to taste natural and organic wines in Italy brought him into contact with like minded producers and he was convinced to make the move towards winemaking himself. First accumulating experience in the burgeoning sparkling wine industry of England and then in the famous Brunello di Montalcino zone, he began making wine for Hortulanus in 2013.
Organic and biodynamic techniques in the vineyard and the principal of minimum intervention in the winery his intention is to work as closely as possible with the forces of nature to produce profound wines full of life-force and harmony.
Mountains to the South and South-West obstruct the majority of summer rain storms and, together with the vineyard's altitude, provide a microclimate that is very sunny and quite dry but relatively cool, especially at night.
Immediately in front of the vineyard is the highest and nearest of the mountains, Monte Amiata (1734m). It's high slopes of dense deciduous forest have a cooling effect and a pronounced diurnal temperature excursion, especially during the period of ripening: In late summer at sunset chill air from the summit of the mountain starts descends into our vineyards cooling the maturing grapes and preserving acidity.
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.