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Tuscany,Wine,Wine Business,Wine Travel

The Microcosm of Maremma is Where Red Tuscan Land Meets the Sea ~ Part I

WHERE: Tuscany Bordered by Tyrrhenian Sea, on its West Side

From Discover Tuscany, “Maremma [as a microclimate] is unique because of the variety of its territory: blue sea, long beaches, black rock, hills covered with woods, marshes and flat lands, green hills and natural thermal baths.” Located in the coastal area of west-central, Italy, Maremma stretches between the provinces of Livorno and Grosseto.

[PHOTO: Discover Tuscany]

And this is where red Tuscan soil meets the Tyrrhenian Sea.

About Red Tuscan soil in general: Sonoma County viticulturist Hector Bedolla, when he was teaching me about the viticulture of Dry Creek Valley, in Sonoma County, said to me, “This red soil is filled with iron oxide, from volcanic activity. The action from Mother Earth puts the ‘peppery flavors’ into wines; and is why Dry Creek Valley, in Sonoma County, is a perfect place to plant Zinfandel (known as Primitivo in Italy).”

It’s also a perfect soil for planting Sangiovese, the grape that truly defines Tuscany. (It, too, is known for its pepper spice.)

[Map Created by Norman Einstein, used with permission of creative commons via Wikipedia.]

GEOGRAPHY: A Bit About Tuscany

Tuscany comprises ten provinces (seen above). This story is inspired by, and ultimately about, wines crafted by Maremma’s, Villa Pinciana, located in the Grosseto Province of Tuscany, Italy.

In any winery story, I like to begin with a bit of geography, so we can fathom through words and images, in order to grasp a location and its terroir.

Below is a guide to understanding so many new names coming up, and in their sequence position:

  • Country ~ Italy
  • Region ~ Tuscany
  • Grosseto ~ Province or Comune [Italian spelling of commune]
    • Maremma ~ Microcosm and a small town

Please refer to the map for each highlighted commune, in Tuscany. The Grosseto Comune is one of the 10 regional appellation in Tuscany. Total population, as of 2016, is 223,652 people. Given both locations of Grosseto and the Tyrrhenian Sea, it seems like there would be some amazing vistas and really fascinating terroir.

Because I haven’t actually been there, I asked friend and wine marketer Michael Yurch, from Bluest Sky Group – whom I know has been there – if this is as beautiful as it seems? His response: “Maremma is indeed beautiful, and I LOVE the little town of Capalbio.”

Yeah, good enough for me, too. Now I can dream with some visuals.

HISTORY: Capalbio in the region of Maremma

Next, history is very important, now that we’ve established where we’re referencing, because it’s evolved the region.

Naturalists of any crop, in this case viticulturists, guide their terroir by using it to its best advantages.  Once we’ve gone through these two steps, we’ll be able to visualize being there, feeling and smelling it.

[PHOTO: Purchased photo by mzhu, of the Tuscan town of Capalbio, Italy]

On Discover Tuscany: “Capalbio is a beautiful medieval town in southern Maremma. The Municipality is the most southwestern municipality in Tuscany along the border with Lazio. The characteristic village, natural surroundings and long sandy beaches attract thousands of visitors every year.”

ONE FUN FACT: The town logo

The name Capalbio is thought to come from the Latin caput album (bald head), which is the town’s symbol. It’s found in the sign on the door of the Siena Cathedral.  Notice that this Sienna lion is holding a bald head. (Now I wish, when I was in Siena, I had brought my camera down lower, or gotten closer to the door to photograph the lion holding the bald head. I was trying to avoid all of the people’s heads… Next time.)

This is an ancient land, where lions were once roaming.

WIKI: The oldest fossils excavated near Pakefield in the United Kingdom are estimated at 680,000 years old and represent Panthera fossilis. Lion fossils were excavated in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Russia.

Now, a new generation of wine makers have merged, and complete each other to produce a product from which a new taste of Tuscany has emerged. Pretty exciting news, as I read about it, to learn even more about Italy.

Collective marketing is a powerful tool. Think Bordeaux, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Tuscany, Napa, Sonoma… Easy to know a lot, because a lot has been written about these regions, and they also have rules and regulations of regional standards.

  • The power of one is one: 1 x 1 = 1
  • Anything after that is squared
    • Power of 2 = squared (4)
    • Power of 50 = 2500 (for instance)

This collective journey is great news for Capalbio. I’ve had a lot of experience with collective marketing, and I know how and why it works so well.

[PHOTO Purchased: mzhu]

From Villa Pinciana, covered in more detail in Part II:

The vignards of Villa Pinciana rise upon a hill, facing the sea and protected by the Maremma hills at the feet of the small ancient village of Capalbio, on the southern border of Tuscany. This is an ancient land, where a new generation of wine makers merge and complete each other to produce a product from which a new taste of Tuscany emerges.

From Summer in History:

The quaint medieval town of Capalbio enjoys a nearly perfect setting in the Tuscan hills above the sea. It is just minutes from the Mediterranean in the wild part of Tuscany known as the Maremma. Here, miles of sandy beaches string along the coastline undisturbed and undeveloped with pretty coves and natural vegetation.

Capalbio is known as the “last town” in Tuscany, situated near the southern border with Lazio. it is near Manciano, Ortebello and the WWF nature reserve of Lago di Burano. The town rests on a hill still encircled by its medieval walls, a charming stone hamlet with its old world atmosphere intact. The Porta Sienese, one of the city gates that could be closed in protection, still has its heavy wooden doors hanging in the portal, just like they’ve done since the 1500s. There are pretty Romanesque churches, some palazzi, and a general atmosphere of antiquity with balconies and flower boxes that are so typical of Tuscany.

Want to read more? Follow the link above for Summer in History. The stage has been set.

What Geography and History Lead To

This journey ultimately is to guide us to the subtle flavors of the wines crafted by Maremma’s, Villa Pinciana, located in the Grosseto Province of Tuscany, Italy, in the forthcoming story of The Microcosm of Maremma is where red Tuscan land meets the sea ~ Part I.

 

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