Le Miccine is an estate that ticks all the boxes for me: pure ethereal Sangiovese without a hint of polluting Cabernet or Merlot. The vineyards are farmed organically and the winemaking is pared back. There is a rise in the number of artisan winemakers following this path in Tuscany, the results are exciting, it is a hard life though that requires attention to detail and very tough physical work.
Paula Papini-Cook has the huge advantage of being female, that sounds wrong but I will stumble on: she has a wonderful eye for detail, the craft in her wines is remarkable and when I first tasted them it was like tasting Isole e Olena or Boscarelli for the first time, such was the purity, definition and harmony.
Paula is from Quebec, she is lovely and energetic. The story of how she settled at Le Miccine is a tale of obsession and dogged determination. She trained in viticulture and enology in France, her parents are Scottish, though her mother is half Italian and her wines are impeccably Tuscan (plus the terroir of Miccine was exactly what she had been searching for).
The vineyard is seven hectares, high in the hills at around 400m between Radda and Gaiole in the heart of Chianti Classico. The vines were first planted in the 60’s when the farm first became a wine business. There are six clones of Sangiovese along with Colorino, Merlot and a tiny amount of Vermentino. Unusually she has trained the vines using a trellised Alberello system which is more difficult to work than modern systems, but it is something that she strongly believes in and it does suit the rocky, calcareous local soils. Green cover is encouraged between the vines to encourage some competition and reduce erosion and the choice of organic farming is to encourage biodiversity on the land. All of this makes for a more challenging life (throw in a very excellent agriturismo too) but the results are uncompromising and excellent.
Her winery is simple and production is around 30,000 bottles a year, the majority of which is Chianti. There is also a little Vermentino (Fosso di Conce) and Merlot (Cardus), both are also lovely. This is an estate to watch, how good are they? Well, thirty restaurants in Bordeaux list them. I suspect Miccine wines will become amongst the most sought after in years to come.