Le Formiche, Ansonica Costa dell'Argentario 2020
From the importer-
Formiche is comprised of four friends: Simone, Gigi, Dylan, and a second Simone. Three winemakers and an agronomist who crossed paths and shared experiences in various parts of the world before finding themselves back in Tuscany. The project was born from the two-day reunions they would organize once a month to have dinner and blind-taste various wines. Each of them used to bring 4-5 bottles to fill the weekend with wine, the joy of being together and a lot of laughs. The spark got bigger day by day, and they realized they were all sharing the same feelings, the same energy, the same vision, and the same dream. It was during one of these weekends that they decided to continue the journey that they had unconsciously started years ago.
It became clear in their minds that they were being lead to only one place and only one grape variety: Ansonica. An late-ripening white variety (with a alluring golden hue once ripe) planted along the coast of Tuscany (and it’s nearby islands) since the 11th century, considered more rustic by modern oenological standards, and hence too often replaced with more aromatic and “on-trend” grapes. It has an intriguing history, and at its best clearly expresses the Tuscan coastal “marine” terroir.
The name “Formiche” has a double meaning - it refers to a group of very small islands just off the coast of Tuscany, an often under-recognized paradise of marine biodiversity, and moreover, they liked the idea that Formiche (translation of ‘ants’) are both a very cooperative insect, and are independently able to build large structures and lift up to 100 times their weight. While finding the name was easy, finding the vineyards was anything but simple. Not much Ansonica had been left in the area, and they looked obsessively and exclusively for old vineyards located on very light sandy soil without any tough clay. It took a couple of years to find the small 2 hectare parcel they began with. South of the Maremma coast in a town called Capalbio, just a few kilometers from the sea. the 30+ year old vines enjoy very pleasant sea breezes, which mitigate the hot spikes in temperature and help keep consistently healthy plants year-round. The old rows of Ansonica were quite dilapidated, but with their own hands, pruning shears, and a huge amount of courage, they bought the vineyard back to life.
Their red, sandy soils with abundant marine deposits are kept healthy with cover-crops and green manure. Only copper, sulfur and herbal teas (common horse tail, nettle and willow) are used, at minimum dosages and only when strictly necessary. They want to strive for the natural equilibrium of the plants, and conceptualize them (and themselves) as part of broader ecosystem with ebbs and flows. The idea is to gradually move away from a “vineyard/plant-centric” viticulture towards a more holistic approach.
At harvest, grapes are evaluated and picked plant-by-plant, in order to only take bunches when they are ready. In the cellar, unmotivated interventions are avoided, pursuing the idea of ”a natural evolution of the musts, trying to accompanying in the cellar what the vintage was in the vineyard”. Fermentations are spontaneous, whole bunches are gently pressed, no clarifications or fining, and sulfur added only as necessary. “We strongly believe in a truly shared project - to produce a wine that we like and can represent what Ansonica means to us, as producers, and as Tuscan people”.
Vines planted in 1993 (Double Guyot). Spontaneous fermentation in steel and old barriques. Aged on fine lees until bottling. Minimal sulfur additions, no clarification, light filtration. 1500 bottles produced.