We are delighted to release the brilliant wines from Bibi Graetz; Testamatta and Colore 2016. Azienda Agrocola Testamatta is a fascinating project, run by the enigmatic Bibi Graetz. Its first vintage was in 2000 and it is now rated in the top 12 collectable Tuscan producers, a stratospheric rise. Bibi Graetz graduated from the Academia dell’Arte in Firenze and switched to winemaking in the late 90s. He was faced with the choice of allowing the old lease contracts on old vineyards surrounding his home at Castello de Vincigliata to expire, or to make a step to winemaking. He started collaborating with winemaker Alberto Antonini, who he partnered with for four years, quickly gate-crashing the Tuscan wine scene. He received favourable scores from Robert Parker and in 2006 was awarded 98 points for Testamatta from the Wine Spectator. Soon after, in November 2008 the township of Fiesole was proclaimed as member of the great wines of Italy.
The releases today are even more exciting off the back of the truly exceptional 2016 vintage. This is reflected in the scores with Testamatta 2016 having been awarded its highest ever score from The Wine Advocate. Monica Larner awards it 96 points and says ‘there is an unescapable metaphor in the many primary colors that blend or bleed into each other to form a single piece of art that is depicted on the front label of this handsome bottle’. It has also received 98 points form James Suckling, which taken together makes it the greatest vintage ever. This quality is due to the exceptional winemaking and painstaking selection alongside vines at 80 years old or more; Larner prosaically proclaims ‘each site represents a cultural and enological patrimony that was specifically selected for its individual character or uniqueness.’ This goes a long way to explaining its growing global cult following, which quickly exhausts the 5,000 cases produced a year. The price of Testamatta on release today is £462 per case of six, a superb offering for a wine of this quality and renown in a truly remarkable vintage.
In addition, we are delighted to be able to release Bibi Graetz Colore, which is the exceptional blend of around 80% Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Colorino. The parcels come from three separate vineyards which are sited across three different area of Tuscany creating a pan-Tuscan blend. Production is very small, with less than 500 cases made. It is a wine famous for its balance and complexity as well as an extremely memorable bottle. In 2016 it has been awarded 96+ points from The Wine Advocate and 98 points from James Suckling. It is priced today on release at £795 per case of three.
Bibi Graetz comes from an Italian and Norwegian heritage. His mother, née Rasmussen, married a Swiss-Israeli called Gidon Graetz. They purchased the Estate, a medieval castle that overlooks Florence once they moved to Italy. He innovatively sources parcels from this Estate, however, he works with numerous producers from around Chianti, looking for a combination of old vines and brilliant terroir. Testamatta is sourced from 100% Sangiovese grapes and was classified as IGT, however Graetz came up with the clever idea to declassify it to Vino di Tavola, which allows him to blend up to 20% from previous vintages to ensure power and consistency. It is for this reason a true Super Tuscan rebel. He then went even further and started to implement a solera system for some of the blend. His flagship Testamatta translates as ‘crazy-head’, which attests to his love of powerful, strong willed wines, Testamatta certainly is that. It is made from vines with at least 35 years of age, which are fermented in barrqiues. During fermentation it is punched down 6-8 times a day and the final wine is aged for 18 months in French Oak. It is a wine of vibrant energy, delivering excellent power, purity of fruit, with tobacco, sour cherry and great acidity and minerality.
Bibi Graetz and especially Testamatta has a cult following around the world, which scoops up the 5,000 cases made per year. The bottle itself stands out like the wine, which Graetz, as you might expect has designed himself.
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