Giulio Caporali, who bought his beloved Tenuta Valdipiatta in the late 1980s, describes the estate as ‘my Shangri-La’.
Indeed, it is not surprising that Giulio views his south-east Tuscan home as a sort of earthly paradise, as his estate is on the hills of the picturesque town of Montepulciano, in the heart of the esteemed Vino Nobile di Montepulciano appellation between Rome and Florence.
His daughter Miriam shares his passion for this region, and in 2002 she took over the estate after five years of shadowing her father, and gaining experience in Bordeaux and as a consultant. Giulio remains at Valdipiatta, although he now devotes much of his time to his second passion: the study of literature and history.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano ranges from 250 to 600m above sea level, and has fossil-rich sandy clay soils, covered in places with small pebbles. Valdipiatta has around 30 hectares under vine, 80% of which is planted with sangiovese, as well as two other Tuscan varieties, canaiolo nero and mammolo. The vineyards – all of which were replanted in the 1990s – are mostly east-facing, benefiting from the morning sunshine.
Although two thirds of production is dedicated to Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Miriam also makes some IGT wines, for which she uses international grape varieties like merlot, cabernet sauvignon and pinot nero.
Valdipiatta’s cellar is built into the region’s tufo rock. The wines are all fermented in stainless-steel tanks, although there are different practices used for each of the estates seven crus, which are fermented separately before blending. According to the appellation’s tradition, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is then aged in Slovenian oak for a year, although Miriam and the team now support this with six further months in French barrels. Bottle ageing is next, which takes place in rooms with temperature and humidity control.
The talented Yves Glories, who was professor of Oenology at the University of Bordeaux until 2005, has been consulting here for many years. However, more recently Miriam has also begun to work with French oenologist Eric Boissenot, whose other consultancy clients include Bordeaux giants Lafite, Latour, Margaux and Léoville-Barton. Since the 2007 vintage, the quality levels at Valdipiatta have reached new heights, and wines from this estate are packed full of charm and suppleness.
Despite their success, Miriam and Giulio still operate the winery tours themselves – just another sign of their continued passion and dedication to the estate.