Voted the second best Syrah and the best Organic wine in the World by Decanter. 

Tuscany’s wine renaissance has been profound, led in no small part by Bolgheri one of the major catalysts behind Tuscan excellence today. However, one of the most exciting wine-making regions in terms vineyard investment, property and fine wine is now Maremma. In fact, what Bolgheri was to Tuscany in the 70s and 80s, the southern reaches of Maremma are to Tuscany in the 21st century. It is the new wine-making frontier of Italy, two hours drive from Florence, covering an area which corresponds to the province of Grosseto, which like Bolgheri benefits from the coastal breeze of the Tyrrhenian Sea and boasts diverse terroir perfect for experimental winemakers. Moreover, Maremma like Bordeaux was a marshland, drained originally by the Etruscans, then the Romans and finally again in the 1930s: its name is derived from the Spanish word Marisma, meaning marsh. Once the shallow layer of water was removed, engineers uncovered wonderful iron rich soil composed of sand, clay and many minerals. The region is also further south, which helps in ripening the grapes fully and developing fine tannins, balanced by healthy elevation and the cool sea breeze.

We recently travelled around Maremma visiting many world famous wineries such Tua Rita alongside various new and exciting award winning estates. In particular the multi award winning Conti di San Bonifacio caught our attention with their Super Tuscan 100% Syrah wine, Sustinet, which was voted the second best Syrah and the best Organic wine in the World by Decanter!  Such accolades are impressive, particularly given the short period of time in which they have been achieved, with a lot of promise to come. The estate was purchased by Count Mafredo and his English wife Sarah, Countess di San Bonifacio in 2002 and is located in Massa Marittima, a beautiful mediaeval town, home to their winery and spectacular wine resort. It is a site with excellent wine making potential and the most extraordinary panoramic views.

The first vines were planted with the finest clones in 2004 and the vineyard now comprises 7 hectares, their Sustinet, which in our opinion is their stand out wine and grown on a 2 hectare east-west facing patch, which takes pride of place and is the warmest plot in the vineyard, most suitable for the sun loving Syrah. Here the earth is rich in clay, due to its proximity to the river, while the topsoil is abundant with stones. The vineyard is protected by surrounding mountains, while the vines themselves enjoy an attitude of 85 metres. The yields here are low, even for high quality wine making, with 30,000 hl/ha. The vineyard is 100% organic and the soil as a result is vibrant, producing healthy, concentrated grapes. The grapes are hand picked and no expense is sparred in ageing the wine, which sees 18 months in 80% new oak and 20% second year French barrique.  This strict selection and painstaking wine making means that just over 300 cases of Sustinet are produced a year and the 2010 is their finest effort yet.

Syrah is very well suited to Maremma, it loves the soil, the heat and the cooling breeze here, allowing the grapes to ripen fully. When low yields are applied, with investment, attention to detail and patience in barrel, superb examples of Syrah are produced, as is exemplified with the Sustinet. There are several superb Syrahs coming out of Tuscany, Tua Rita’s Syrah, Il Bosco and Le Macchiole Scrio for example, Tuscany does Syrah well and it is well worth investing time to learn them. However these names charge £250 upwards for 3×75 and 6×75 cases, while we can offer Conti di San Bonfacio Sustinet 2010 for £23 a bottle, providing the chance to savour the noble grape in one of the most exciting wine making regions in the world.

The 2010 displays white pepper, intense blackcurrants and cherries, leather, vanilla and with notes of hung meat. It is rich on the palate, with super fine tannin, a touch of espresso bean and delightful white chocolate. We also tried a bottle of the 2007 overlooking the incredible view below, it was still youthful, developing liquorice, mushroom and saddle leather. The 2010 is ready to drink now, yet can age and improve for another 10 years.

In addition, their superb wine resort is stunning, perfect for exploring Maremma and the wine region. Please click here to learn more through our wine travel partner winerist.

Conti di San Bonifacio Sustinet 2010 6×75 – £140 or £182.76 incl. duty and VAT
Fresh, toasty vanilla oak nose. Polished palate which is oak dominated but has dense plum, damson fruit and mineral undertones.

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