Let me tell you a modern day fairy tale:
Once upon a time, there was a dynamic dark-haired beauty. She made wine in Tuscany (I said this was a fairytale!) in a place called Il Castelluccio (which roughly translated means ‘the cute little castle’.)
The beauty’s name is Emanuela Tamburini and she heads up her own winery in the Chianti DOCG area, at Gambassi Terme. I had the good fortune to meet her at the Anteprima Chianti Lovers three years ago– and it was instant simpatia as we say in Italian. What first grabbed my eye were her labels – very distinctive and telling, an homage to her father and grandfather as well as her own dreams. (See our piece on that event here.)
Flash forward: at ProWein in Dusseldorf another young Italian woman winemaker tells me about a woman in Tuscany who makes truly delicious Chianti and drags me off to taste it at the stand of… none other than Emanuela!
Well, there’s no two without three as they say in Italian (non c’è due senza tre!), so it was high time I visited the place where these distinctive niche Chianti come from: Azienda Agricola Tamburini in Gambassi Terme, near Castelfiorentino.
Lucky for me, I visited in late February 2020, just before the onset of the Covid! The vines may have been at rest, but Emanuela – who is also the Regional President in Tuscany for Movimento Turismo Vino – was up and at it. Located near San Gimignano (if you look hard, you can see the towers on the horizon), this little winery boasts 50 hectares and also makes a tasty extra virgin olive oil.
Visiting a winery means seeing where the wine is made and stored. Here, while small is beautiful, there are a variety of barrels, tanks, casks and vessels, including terracotta.
There are many lovely and particular things about Tamburini’s wines; and like the labels, these wines have personality.
Such a cozy tasting room!
The Boss is a delicious Chianti DOCG named after Emanuela’s dad, Mauro.
Italo is the Chianti DOCG Riserva, named after grandpa.
Il Castelluccio (I sampled the white version) is a fresh and fruity Trebbiano and Malvasia blend, perfect for an aperitivo or light dish accompaniment.
Il Moraccio is an IGT Super Tuscan, something that pretty much all Tuscans are doing these days, and this is a scrumptious one!
And last but not least, Somnio, a Brunello from Montalcino where Emanuela has a small parcel. The wine’s name says it all: she has a dream. But actually it is a first-person verb: I dream. Boy, does she ever! And if you sample Tamburini’s wines, she’ll have you dreaming too, of a fairytale life.
What I love about these wines is that they are made by a young woman producer who studied to become an enologist and who is the fifth generation of her family to be making wine, braving it on her own… Or she was, until one romantic moonlit night in Puglia, she met Michele and the rest is history.
Michele Jermann is the scion of one of Italy’s great winemaking families, and hails from Friuli, a region known for its whites. But he has taken up residence in Tuscany, a region known for its reds, by Emanuela’s side. This is a modern-day fairytale – wasn’t it usually the princess who got swept off her feet and taken away to the prince’s castle? Instead, Michele moved to Tuscany and became a part of Emanuela’s team, and what a dynamic duo they are! Did I say two? Baby makes three, because indeed, the heir is due any day now!
Don’t you love these little terracotta Bacchus putti? A cornucopia of wine and love…
Dreams really do come true…
For those of you who are reading the Tuscan Quintet here on ItalianGrapevine, you will see I like to give equal time to large and small producers; wineries that are headed by men and wineries that are headed by women; wineries that have been in families for centuries and newer, younger enterprising winemakers. In short, this quintet is a microcosm of the Italian macrocosm of winemaking, and I hope to provide a glimpse of what is happening on the Italian scene.
Stay tuned for the next and final installment…