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Strozzi, Micheletti & Fucci


older bottles of red wine from Strozzi, Micheletti and Fucci

There is no real theme to this wine tasting article because these five wines from Strozzi, Micheletti & Fucci don't have a lot in common apart from being old, red and very good. They were bought about 8-9 years ago and then forgotten about, only to re-emerge when we moved out the centro storico of Lucca to an apartment just outside the walls.


Micheletti

The two Micheletti wines are perhaps the most interesting, or at least the most mysterious, because the producer seems unusually publicity shy for a winery that needs to sell its production every year into a crowded marketplace. We first came across the entry level Micheletti red wine, called Dalleo (not pictured) at a restaurant in Lucca and subsequently bought a few bottles priced around 12 euros (now closer to 17 euros). It's a very drinkable Bordeaux blend that can be enjoyed young.

Shortly afterwards, having not found their Guardione or Poggiomatto Bolgheri Superiore wines for sale anywhere in Italy we made an appointment to visit them at their property just below the town of Castagneto Carducci. It was a very short visit because it was clear that welcoming tourists, even those ready to buy rather than just taste, was not something they actively encouraged.

Having now rediscovered their wines and found them immensely enjoyable in their fully mature state at 10+ years old I set out to find more about them, but Micheletti remains as secretive as ever with hardly any information on the internet and their own website not very illuminating beyond the basics.


Maurizio and Moreno Micheletti, publicity-shy 3rd generation Bolgheri winemakers

And nor does Micheletti get a single mention in any of our Italian winery reference books like Slow Wine or Vitae. Furthermore there is only one place in Italy that sells Guardione and Poggiomatto and that is Carlo Lotti in San Casciano near Florence, so I assume most of their production is exported somewhere and/or sold to restaurants.


In fact using the very useful 'wine-searcher' search engine, their Poggiomatto wine seems not to be for sale anywhere in the world other than at Carlo Lotti and Guardione is only for sale elsewhere on the eBay platform in Austria, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland. A very strange state of affairs indeed but obviously Micheletti has found a way to sell its wine without needing direct consumer involvement. More power to them I guess.


Elena Fucci

23 years ago when Elena Fucci had just graduated from high school and her grandfather, Generoso, turned 75 he decided to sell the family farm near the dormant volcano Monte Vulture in Basilicata, not wishing the hard life of a contadino on his granddaughter.


Three generations of the Fucci family: Generoso, Elena and Salvatore

But times had changed in Italy, even in the deep south, and regional Italian wines were garnering much more respect and attention in the key export markets.

Having grown up on the farm, Elena suddenly couldn't bear the thought of losing it so she promptly changed her education plans and enrolled at Pisa University to study enology and viticulture.

Not an altogether unusual story in Italy and something that we have encountered many times but what sets Elena Fucci apart is that in only her second vintage her Titolo wine was awarded the coveted 'tre bicchieri' by Gambero Rosso. And over the successive 18 years she has gone from strength to strength with a large international following.


Guicciardini Strozzi

Based in the historic 2,500 acre San Gimignano estate of Cusona with its 1,000 years of recorded history the Guicciardini and Strozzi families possess an aristocratic lineage that is perhaps matched only by the British Royal Family. The Strozzi banking dynasty were rivals of the Medici in the 15th century and the Guicciardini once employed Macchiavelli before the two families were united in marriage in the 17th century.

They produced their first Vernaccia di San Gimignano as long ago as 1200 and the current family members are the 15th generation descendants of the lady in the Mona Lisa painting. Perhaps they have an informed opinion on the location of the bridge in the background in Leonardo da Vinci's famous work.

Despite this glorious history they stay a little below the radar in Italy and don't seem to promote their wines domestically as much as I remember them doing 10 years ago. Maybe the export market is where they focus their attention and if so they are not alone.


Tasting Notes:

Elena Fucci Titolo 2013 - Aglianico del Vulture DOC (14% alcohol)

(100% Aglianico, fermented in stainless steel and aged for 12 months in French oak barriques)

Notes of prunes, tobacco and cloves on the nose this is a fully mature wine with lots of flavor and still good acidity. Full and quite viscous tertiary notes of licorice come through on the palate


Guicciardini Strozzi Sòdole 2010 - IGT Toscana Rosso (14% alcohol)

(100% Sangiovese, produced only in good years and named after the heart of the Strozzi Cusona estate in San Gimignano. Long maceration time, aged 12 months in French oak barriques)

A gorgeous overripe nose of sweet stewed prunes gives way to mature flavors of licorice and balsamic. There's perhaps a touch of reduction on the palate contributing to the tertiary flavors and a long, smooth finish with the tannins and wood barely noticeable in the background. At its peak now after 13 years.


Guicciardini Strozzi Vignarè 2011 - DOC Bolgheri Superiore (14% alcohol)

(Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot)

The nose on this wine has evolved over time from decayed flowers to a much softer aroma of macerated cherries, orange marmalade and plums. Spices of nutmeg and cloves plus mirto are present and on the palate it's also very soft with the vegetal notes of cabernet Sauvignon coming through. At its peak now with a long smooth finish.


Micheletti Guardione 2012 - DOC Bolgheri Superiore (13.5% alcohol)

(Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc)

The Cabernet Franc is quite dominant on the slightly faded nose. Soft and very mature on the palate, some might say this has peaked and is on the downslope but if you like old Bordeaux when the tannin and acidity have melted away then you'll enjoy this wine a lot. The plummy flavor has held up quite well and the finish is very satisfying.


Micheletti Poggiomatto 2012 - DOC Bolgheri Superiore (13.5% alcohol)

(Merlot)

Still quite a dark color in the glass with noticeable whitening at the rim this has a full sweet nose of blueberries and traces of licorice. Bags of flavor on the palate with good acidity and polished tannins. This wine has matured in a much more balanced way than the Guardione from the same year and is a real pleasure to drink.


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