Located just south of Bolgheri – home to Ornellaia, Sassicaia, Solaia, and other world-famous Super Tuscan estates – Maremma has long been a hot bed of noble winemaking. Sharing nearly identical conditions with Bolgheri – vineyard altitudes, proximity to the Tyrrhenian Sea, diurnal temperature shifts – the region has attracted serious investors and winemakers over the last few decades; perhaps none more famous than Elisabetta Geppetti. Named for the hills which flank the original 15 acres of vineyards she purchased in the 1980s, her estate of Le Pupille was an overnight sensation.
Her flagship wine, Saffredi – named in honor of her mentor and Father-in-law, Fredi – was conceived by Elisabetta while still in her twenties. She purchased the estate and its Cabernet vines from Fredi – the original owner – and began working with Italy's most celebrated oenologist, Giacomo Tachis, to fulfil her dream. Releasing her first vintage (the 1987) in 1990, Saffredi skyrocketed to success, attracting associate winemakers the likes of Christian Sommer (Chateau Latour) and Luca D'Attoma (who assisted Elisabetta in achieving the 100 point club). Saffredi is a blend of Cab, Merlot, Petit Verdot and even Syrah in certain vintages, and unquestionably one of the world's great cult wines.
As if Saffredi was not enough for Elisabetta, she began to focus on the exceptional quality of the Sangiovese from the Valente vineyard. Using much larger barrels and eliminating Merlot from the blend, the style emphasizes nuance and finesse of Sangiovese. A serious core, this sangiovese challenges all the wines of Tuscany. The 2016 Valente is her finest yet, edging out the 2015 – both great vintages in Tuscany.