Bibi Graetz Testamatta 2018
"Testa-Matta” in Italy is someone with a strong personality, a distinctive style and positive attitude and creativity. No other name could describe better Bibi Graetz flagship wine. Supertuscan made with 100% Sangiovese from old vines, this wine is the result of the combination of tradition and creativity, elevating the idea of Tuscan Sangiovese and bringing the word “Supertuscan” to the next level.
This Testamatta is so generous, it is able to deliver at the same time and with extreme balance the strength of the vintage and the elegance of Sangiovese. Surprising in the glass, with a lot a different layer, starting from the red fruit, back tea and earth aromas and continuing with tobacco, black cherry and leather. This Testamatta has so much personality! 100% Sangiovese
The grapes will be selected for the second time at the winery before destemming and soft pressing. The fermentations are conducted by natural and indigenous yeasts, in open top barriques (225L) without any temperature control and “bleedings”, with 6 manual punch-downs per day. After 7-10 days of maceration, the different parcels are moved into old barriques for 2 years.
Finely textured, with a nuanced perfume that fills the glass and takes you to the intense underbrush of Tuscany. Succulent and yet savoury, this has a lilting freshness that is overlaid with ripe berry fruits, sage and white pepper spice, and clear minerality in terms of its scraping texture that makes your mouth water on the finish. Feels light and sculpted and yet has an intensity that skewers you to the spot. This is a great wine, with scope and imagination that doesn't want to let you go. Genuinely stands out among the wines of this tasting, and these are a fine array of wines. As with Colore, Bibi Graetz selects only old vines, the youngest 50 years old from five different vineyard sites across Tuscany, all farmed organically. Fermentations in open 225l barrels with natural yeasts and manual punch downs.
Very subtle aromas of cherries, bark, black truffles and flowers. Hints of crushed stones. It’s full-bodied, yet very tight and solid with a very tight, minerally structure. Very long and intense. Racy and bright at the end. Powerful, orange-peel and citrus-fruit undertones. Salty and minerally. This needs time to develop in the bottle. Extremely structured. A wine not to touch until after 2023.
The 2018 Testamatta shows elegant Sangiovese purity and transparency, starting with delicate wild berry and blueberry tones and finishing long with pretty accents of crushed limestone and a touch of campfire ash. In the glass, the wine is radiant and vivid with a luminous ruby or garnet color. Oak use is reduced to a bare minimum, with barrels that are up to their 16th year of use. "The older they are, the better," Bibi explains. As the wine opens in the glass, it presents pretty lilac and violet. This wine represents a blend of fruit from various sites (all with old vines that are farmed organically) across the region of Tuscany. The northern-most sites close to Florence tend to add the floral notes that are so characteristic of this cool vintage (which saw a bit more rain than average and extra work in the vineyards to kept these vines healthy). I visited the vineyards with Bibi in 2018 and remember how beautiful the grapes appeared on the vines. Much of the fruit used here comes from the Vigna del Cancello in Casciano del Murlo, which is midway between Siena and Montalcino. These southern sites give the wine its backbone and tannins. Bibi Graetz tells me that he struggled to create the blend for this 60,000-bottle release. He decided on a final blend, only to change his mind and re-blend two and a half months later. His second stab was specifically aimed at capturing finesse and softening the wine's tannic imprint. Indeed, the wine ultimately offers more in length (with fresh fruit flavors and bright acidity) than it does in power or mid-palate. The finish is silky, long and very fine.