The wine of the Island of Elba

THE VINEYARDS, THE AUTOCTONOUS VINES, THE WINES

Wineries

We are glad to introduce our territory and its flavors and for this reason each student has the opportunity to visit with us some of the most important wineries on the Island of Elba. The excursion starts directly from the school where your guide will be waiting for you: an entire afternoon dedicated to the discovery of the native vines of Elba often illlustrated directly by the owners of the companies, expert winemakers who have made their work a real passion. There will be an opportunity to taste the different wines that are produced on the Island of Elba and to visit the cellars where it rests, sometimes even for a few years. An excursion that is really suitable for everyone: it is not important to be an expert in the sector to appreciate it! There is a lot of information you will learn: behind a bottle of wine there is a great job. At the end of the trip, you will feel enriched by this experience.

La Chiusa: as soon as you cross the gate, you are immersed in an atmosphere of times gone by. An avenue of olive trees leads you to the estate that dates back to 1500: the green of the grapevines and the blue of the sea combined with the colors of the pink and fuchsia flowers, make you feel in heaven. The estate overlooks the splendid gulf of Portoferraio and owes its name to the wall that surrounds it and which encloses the 20 hectares of the property. The vines almost arrive on the beach and this makes its wine perhaps the most particular of the Island of Elba. Here, in addition to wine, you can also taste the excellent extra virgin olive oil.

The “Le Sughere del Monteficofarm is located in the eastern part of the Island of Elba meaning those areas where there is the highest concentration of iron and minerals on the island. This company is part of the famous “Costa degli Etruschi Wine Road” and has the particularity of having vineyards on hilly terraces which slope down towards the sea on one side and towards the cork, pine and Mediterranean scrub that covers the Montefico on the other side. The wine of this farm is really interesting and of high quality.

La Fazenda is a company that was taken over in the 90s. Its characteristic is that of having a large sales area directly on the provincial road leading to Portoferraio: the sign says “Wine & Bike” a pairing due to the owner’s passion for cycling, as well as that of wine.

Arrighi is a company within the Tuscan Archipelago National Park whose owner has a culture of Elba and its territory that is higher than normal. He has so much knowledge that listening to him is a real pleasure, as well as a privilege. Located a few minutes from our school, the Arrighi winery is the one that is most suitable for new experiments, not surprisingly it has recently created a “marine” wine called “Nesos“. This wine, created from the Ansonica grape variety, is immersed for five days at a depth of ten meters; needless to say, it aroused great curiosity and great success because it is a unique scientific experiment in the world.

Tenuta delle Ripalte is a company far from the summer chaos: it is located in the homonymous tourist village located on the extreme tip of the Monte Calamita promontory and can be reached starting from Capoliveri, about 9 km away, of which the last 4 on a unpaved road. This could make you give up, but if you have the patience to travel this road slowly you will be rewarded by the breathtaking views that this place offers, especially at sunset

Being also within the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, it follows the strict dictates of sustainable agriculture. The modern cellar, designed by the famous archistar Tobia Scarpa, is truly a very special place, because the view that can be enjoyed from its terrace is unparalleled. The wines are excellent and we recommend tasting the best rosé wine on the Island of Elba.

In all these companies it is possible (and advisable) to buy their products directly. Some of them also offer shipping service abroad.

The autoctonous vines of Island of Elba

The union between the Island of Elba and wine has lasted for centuries. Who was the first to cultivate the vine on Elba is unknown, but the Etruscans immediately realized how fertile the land was for the vines, and since then they began to use its precious territory to produce the most adored beverage of the time. After the Greeks, the Romans arrived and, thanks to the flourishing cultivation, they also began to trade the Elba wine, made known thanks to the numerous amphorae that have been found (some still full of wine) on the seabed of the coasts of the island. Napoleon was convinced that the secret of the strength and good health of the Elban people was hidden in the juice that came out every year from those bunches full of berries. Fortunately, “healthy eating” is back in fashion and, thanks to this, in recent years Elba has seen the revival of viticulture. The redevelopment of this sector is due to local companies that have decided to focus on quality rather than quantity production. The particular soil rich in iron and minerals, the wind (always present on Elba) that protects the vine from diseases, the scents of the Mediterranean scrub and the sea breeze combined with the most modern winemaking techniques, have borne fruit.

In viticulture the word “autochthonous” is conventionally used to indicate an ancient or traditional grape variety of the area. On the Island of Elba we can count 5 native vines, each of them with unique and inimitable characteristics.

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Aleatico

Aleatico is a very aromatic red grape present in different areas of Italy but in Tuscany it has its exceptional territory, Cosimo de’ Medici, a great admirer of Aleatico, contributed to the spread of this grape throughout the island. The raisin wine obtained from its grapes is sweet, decisive and very alcoholic, its quality is really excellent. The small (and almost rare) production justifies the price and, to date, is considered the King of Elban wines.

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Ansonica

Ansonica is the most characteristic white grape variety on the Island of Elba. Its wine is moderately aromatic and fruity (with some herbaceous notes) and its ideal pairing is with crustaceans in general. It seems that this grape variety arrived in the Tuscan Archipelago through Sicily which mainly uses it for the production of marsala. It is also a very good grape to eat: when fully ripe it is easily found on the tables of the islanders.

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Procanico

Procanico is a local variety of the most famous Trebbiano Toscano, one of the best known and most cultivated white vines in Italy. Compared to Trebbiano, Procanico has a less fruitful production and its straw yellow wine goes well with fish-based appetizers and first courses.

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Vermentino

Grape variety that easily adapts to different climatic and environmental situations, Vermentino always provides excellent quality products. Its expansion is in continuous and constant growth, currently covering about 15 hectares of Elban soil and, together with the Procanico, it forms the precious Elba Bianco DOC. Its color is reminiscent of gold and the aroma is intense and characteristic, with fish and shellfish dishes it finds its perfect match.

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Sangiovese

Sangiovese (or Sangioveto) is the most cultivated grape variety in Tuscany where it occupies 60% of the entire vineyard area. Sangiovese is the main component of Elba Rosso and Elba Rosato, which in 2011 received the prestigious DOC recognition. The wine has a ruby red color with a slightly fruity taste, is very full-bodied and goes well with fish soups and grilled meats.

Precisely because the wine culture is rooted in the history of the island and its inhabitants, our school organizes guided tours to get to know and taste some of the finest wines produced by the Elba wineries.

The Wines of the Island of Elba

Until the Second World War, the lands of Elba were mainly covered by spectacular dry stone walled terraces where vines were grown from the slopes of the hills up to over 300 meters high. With the arrival of tourism and “easy money”, the situation changes radically: the culture of grape cultivation loses interest and the viticultural heritage is drastically reduced. The remains of those walls made with extreme skill and patience, although covered by woods and scrub, can still be seen all over the island and often even in the most unthinkable and impervious places.

Fortunately, in recent decades, quality is more important than quantity and, thanks also to the most advanced technologies and a group of increasingly qualified young winemakers, Elba decides to retrace its steps by founding, at the end of the 90s, a Consortium for the protection of wine on the Island of Elba. Since then there has been a continuous succession of successes and recognitions to the ever-increasing quality of Elban wine: today there are about 350 hectares of land used for the cultivation of vines of which, for now, 125 are recorded in the Register for the various D.O.C.

Brief guide on the main types of wines on the Island of Elba:

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DOC White Wine

Let’s start with the DOC White Wine made up of 50% of Procanico and the remaining 50% Vermentino and Ansonica. It must have a minimum alcohol content of 11° and must be served at a temperature of 8/10 degrees. Light yellow in color and with a dry but harmonious flavor, it is a wine that is especially appreciated with fish dishes but is also quite pleasant as an aperitif.

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Elba Ansonica

Elba Ansonica must have at least 85% white Ansonica grapes and the minimum alcohol content is 11.5°. Characterized by an intense yellow color with shades of gold, it must be served at 10/12 degrees. Its flavor varies from dry to sweet and you will appreciate it better if drunk in the company of a good plate of shellfish that enhances its organoleptic characteristics.

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Elba Rosso DOC

60% of Elba Rosso DOC is made from Sangiovese grapes. During the harvest the must obtained by pressing is left to ferment in contact with the skins. After racking, it is put into wooden or steel barrels. Its alcoholic strength must be at least 11.5 ° and served at 10/12 degrees at the table.

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Elba Rosso Riserva

Elba Rosso Riserva comes from the same grapes as Rosso DOC with the only difference that aging must not be less than 24 months, of which at least 12 in wood and 6 in bottle. It is a very elegant wine, the intense aroma of red fruit and ruby red color immediately conquer. The alcohol content must be at least 12.5° and should be served at a temperature ranging from 12 to 14 degrees.

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Elba Rosato DOC

Elba Rosato DOC, also made from Rosso DOC grapes, is a dry, delicate and fruity wine with a characteristic cherry pink color. With 60% minimum of Sangiovese, this wine is obtained by pressing the red grapes without the stalks and by subsequently separating the skins and seeds by pressing. The alcoholic strength must be 11°, it is a young wine which, served at a temperature of 10°, is especially appreciated in summer.

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Aleatico DOCG

The Aleatico DOCG of the Island of Elba, as we have previously written, is the King of Elban wines. 100% aleatico grapes carefully selected and dried in the sun for a short period (maximum 20 days), intense and complex with a ruby red color, a high consistency (minimum alcohol content 16 °), a scent of cherries, plums and memories of cinnamon and cloves: unique and increasingly rare, with this wine you “meditate” and it does not need to be accompanied. However on Elba Island the perfect combination is together with the typical dessert of the place, the “Schiaccia Briaca” made, precisely, with the addition of this precious wine in the dough.

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Moscato Passito DOC

Moscato Passito dell’Elba DOC and Aleatico DOCG represent the two pearls of Elban enology. As historic and as old as Aleatico, it is characterized by a medium spherical, sweet and fragrant grain. Its maturation is very early (the harvest can already take place in late August) and its precious nectar is obtained by putting the grapes to dry in the sun. Its sweet taste recalls the apricot, peach and dried fruit pulp, the alcohol content must be 13/14° and the ideal temperature to taste it is 16-18 degrees. Better to accompany it with dry pastries. 

 

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