Rocca delle Macie Occhio a Vento Vermentino 2006
When the late Italo Zingarelli, a former boxer and film producer, bought Rocca delle Macìe in Tuscany's Chianti Classico district back in 1973, he embarked on a new career as one of Tuscany's more unlikely wine producers.
It was certainly not intended to be a hobby... it was a vocation, a desire to return to the soil." Zingarelli, who passed away in the spring of 2000, was always quick to point out.
Working closely with his son Sergio, Zingarelli set about restoring the property that Sergio together with his wife Daniela, who plays an active role in the day-to-day management of the estate, and their two children now call home. Then a tumbled down 14th-century farmstead near the village of Castellina in Chianti, it was surrounded by acres of neglected vines. Vineyards were replanted from scratch; further property, was acquired, and a state-of-the-art cellar built and installed with the latest winemaking equipment. The Zingarellis left nothing to chance in their quest to create a stellar Tuscan wine estate.
Organic fertilization, careful pruning, the introduction of small oak barrels for aging and harvesting by hand are just some of the practices Sergio and his father instituted at the estate. Rocca is an active member of the Chianti Classico growers' consortium, which takes the black rooster as its symbol.
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.
Beyond the usual suspects, there are hundreds of white grape varieties grown throughout the world. Some are indigenous specialties capable of producing excellent single varietal wines, while others are better suited for use as blending grapes. Each has its own distinct viticultural characteristics, as well as aroma and flavor profiles, offering much to be discovered by the curious wine lover. In particular, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece are known for having a multitude of unique varieties but they can really be found in any region.