Shining Star in Tuscan Winemaking

Today’s Story: Bibi Graetz

Az. Agr. Bibi Graetz is a Tuscan wine producer located in the hills of Fiesole overlooking Florence, and it was established in 2000 by artist and winemaker Bibi Graetz. Bibi has quickly catapulted to near cult-status, producing exceptional wines from old vines using Sangiovese, Colorino, and Canaiolo for the reds and Ansonica and Vermentino for the whites. Bibi started off small, making wine from 5 acres of vineyards on his parents’ property around the medieval castle, Castello di Vincigliata, they call home. He also sources fruit from vineyards around Tuscany, putting an emphasis on old vines for their added complexity and concentration. In the Testamatta I am reviewing today, for example, vine age is 35-50 years and for his Colore bottling the vine age is over 70 years. These vineyards total around 75 acres across 20 small plots, which are all farmed organically. Bibi does not adhere to DOC or DOCG regulations, instead practicing an “artisanal approach” to winemaking (he has no formal training) so his wines are labelled as Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT).

Today’s Wine: 2016 Testamatta

100% Sangiovese; 13.5% ABV

The 2016 Testamatta is medium ruby in color. Given about 1-2 hours in the decanter, this blossoms into a beautifully expressive wine with aromas of pronounced intensity. The nose showcases black cherry, black raspberry, anise, lavender, tobacco, leather, scorched earth, black truffle, tomato leaf, clay, and mild baking spice. Meanwhile the palate is also of pronounced intensity with notes of red cherry, red plum, black raspberry, roasted tomato, tobacco, black tea, oregano, iron, and clove. This dry red is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, high but refined tannins, medium alcohol, and a long, long finish. Outstanding wine that is already beautifully balanced and finessed with only promise for the future.

Price: $100 average (though I paid $70 and you can oftentimes find it for a similar price). This is a glorious Sangiovese, offering great balance, length, intensity, and complexity for the price. I’ve seen these prices creep up (and these wines get considerable attention from critics) however for now these remain a very strong addition to your cellar.

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