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Belguardo Serrata Maremma 2008
Power and freshness define Belguardo wines, from the estate’s structured Bordeaux blend to the refreshing, bright Vermentino. The ability to produce such diverse wines is owed to the Maremma, where Belguardo lies, six miles in from the Tuscan coastline bordering the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The Mazzei family, owner of Chianti Classico’s highly esteemed Castello di Fonterutoli, took the helm at the Belguardo estate in the 1990s after recognizing the area’s potential for quality winemaking. In the years since, the Mazzei family has established Belguardo among the top producers in this exciting, fast emerging wine region.
After acquiring the land, the Mazzei’s implemented an intense replanting campaign throughout the Belguardo property with careful, studied selection of varieties and clones. Along with the introduction of traditional grapes such as Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alicante, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, the family is currently undertaking a research and development project to cultivate an ancient local variety found only in the oldest vineyards of nearby Scansano. These efforts are an example of the family’s philosophy to create wines that convey the terroir from which they’re produced.
Belguardo’s logo is designed after Leonardo da Vinci’s geometrical symbol, a rhombicboctahedron, representing representing a union between precision, perspective, and proportion.
Belguardo comprises a total of 173 acres (70 hectares). The vineyard area is planted at altitudes ranging from 70-130 meters (230-426 feet) above sea level, with south/southwest exposure. The well-drained soil comprises of limestone and sandstone rocks.
One of the most iconic Italian regions for wine, scenery and history, Tuscany is the world’s most important outpost for the Sangiovese grape. Ranging in style from fruity and simple to complex and age-worthy, Sangiovese makes up a significant percentage of plantings here, with the white Trebbiano Toscano coming in second.
Within Tuscany, many esteemed wines have their own respective sub-zones, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The climate is Mediterranean and the topography consists mostly of picturesque rolling hills, scattered with vineyards.
Sangiovese at its simplest produces straightforward pizza-friendly wines with bright and juicy red fruit, but at its best it shows remarkable complexity and ageability. Top-quality Sangiovese-based wines can be expressive of a range of characteristics such as sour cherry, balsamic, dried herbs, leather, fresh earth, dried flowers, anise and tobacco. Brunello expresses well the particularities of vintage variations and is thus popular among collectors. Chianti is associated with tangy and food-friendly dry wines at various price points. A more recent phenomenon as of the 1970s is the “Super Tuscan”—a wine made from international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, with or without Sangiovese. These are common in Tuscany’s coastal regions like Bolgheri, Val di Cornia, Carmignano and the island of Elba.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.