“I feel the urge to make wines that breathe the sea in and out” Michele Satta
We arrived for our tour of the Michele Satta estate on a sunny late afternoon and were warmly greeted by the energetic and passionate Massimo. He shared interesting insights into the estate and Michele’s philosophy, took us through the tasting and was very patient to answer the hundreds of questions we had.
Signore Michele Satta, the mastermind of the estate, seems to be a bit of a rebel, doing everything his own way, for example growing Sangiovese grapes following his firm conviction that Sangiovese can thrive in the region indeed. He is regarded as one of the pioneers of quality winemaking in Bolgheri, with his first harvest going back to 1983.
We started our tour in the vineyards to take a close look at the few remaining bunches of Cabernet Sauvignon awaiting their perfect day to be harvested.
In contrast to other large producers, the Michele Satta winery is smaller and has a very artisan feel with parts of its equipment placed outdoors and their use of the organic approach.
Due to some significant construction ongoing during our visit part of the winery was in a work-in-progress state, so I guess next time I come it may look a lot larger!
Further to the cellar, a remarkable thing about it is that one of its walls is exposed natural rock. It is moist to the touch and covered by a very fine deposit full of natural yeast. This indigenous yeast supports fermentation of the wine and accentuates the organic approach of the winemaker. Quite clever!
Once it was time to taste, Massimo presented a line-up of six wines made by the estate, of which one was an unannounced bonus at the end.
2015 Costa di Giulia: 70% Vermentino, 30 % Sauvignon Blanc. Pale lemon colour, very fruit forward wine with citrus, green apple, peach and a hint of pineapple. Refreshing acidity, touch of creaminess, recommended drinking window is within 2-5 years after release. (~€12)
2014 GiovinRe: 100% Viognier. Beautiful golden colour, intensely aromatic, ripe peaches and apricots, vanilla, cooked fruit (think fresh warm apple pie and poached pear). Full bodied with a long lasting finish. This would be a great match with spicy foods or even delicate meat dishes. (~€30)
2014 Bolgheri Rosso: Sangiovese 30%, Cabernet Sauvignon 30%, Merlot 20%, Syrah 10%, Teroldego 10%. Medium ruby, light-medium bodied with soft tannins and plenty of fresh red fruit (red cherry, cranberries, strawberries) and cassis, along with hints of leather and tobacco. (€16)
2013 Piastraia: equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese. Medium purple with black and red fruit, chocolate, black pepper accompanied by earthy notes and pencil shavings. Firm tannins which are likely to smoothen with age. Big wine with long ageing potential, one of my two favourites of the tasting. (€30)
2012 Syrah: 100% Syrah. Medium ruby, with a parade of intense red fruit and delicate spices, vanilla. Lush and rich, yet very elegant, smooth tannins. My other favourite of the tasting and certainly one of the most impressive Syrahs I’ve tasted in the last two years.
Michele says about this wine that his aim was “to represent to the maximum the own aromatic complexity of our Mediterranean terroir, as well as to realize a personal identification with some great wines from the Rhone.” In my opinion this wine is a serious competition to the Rhone counterparts, especially considering its value. (€27)
2011 Cavaliere: 100% Sangiovese. This wine is Michele’s response to all Sangiovese skeptics in the region. Pale garnet, intense with a dazzling array of cherry, dark berries, prunes and leather along with thyme and rosemary. Firm tannins indicating further aging potential, long lingering finish. (€30)
Unfortunately we did not get to taste Michele’s flagship wine called I Castagni which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Teroldego, but isn’t this the most perfect excuse to go back?! Massimo, if you are reading this make sure you have a bottle ready for me! 😉
Make sure you don’t miss out on my FULL TRAVEL REPORT which includes some history of Bolgheri as a wine region, visits to two other wineries and plenty of recommendations for restaurants and places to visit nearby.