Tua Rita, the legendary wine estate located in Suvereto on the Tuscan coast, is celebrating a milestone anniversary. The Merlot-based Redigaffi has passed the quarter-century mark. The first vintage produced was 1994, and the 2019 vintage is on the market now.
The anniversary proved an excellent opportunity to open all vintages produced (there are 26 editions of Redigaffi reviewed in this report) in the company of select Italian and international wine trade and media. I was among the lucky participants in this historic vertical tasting that was held at the estate on July 7, 2022.
Located in the Val di Cornia area just off the breezy shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea and close to the mineral-rich hillside range le Colline Metallifere, Tua Rita was founded in 1984 by Rita Tua (after whom the estate is named) and her husband Virgilio Bisti. They bought the property as a country residence and shortly thereafter found themselves immersed in the world of wine.
They recognized potential and opportunity in an area far away from the headline appellations of Tuscany in an area not previously associated with fine wine.
Today, the estate is run by Stefano Frascolla, his wife Simena Bisti and their son Giovanni Frascolla. Consulting Enologist Luca D’Attoma joined the venture from the start but stepped away in 1998. He was replaced by Stefano Chioccioli, who oversaw many of the estate’s most important releases, including the 2000 Redigaffi that earned a perfect 100-point score by Robert M. Parker Jr.
That score would launch the entire wine industry in Italy, not only the wines made on the Tuscan Coast. In 2010, Virgilio Bisti passed away. That same year, Luca D’Attoma returned as winemaker, and he has been with the estate ever since.
“The 25th anniversary of Redigaffi is an exciting achievement, not just on a personal level, but it celebrates the evolution of a 100% Merlot wine,” said Stefano Frascolla during the tasting.
In fact, the greatest takeaway from the experience in my opinion is just how beautifully Redigaffi has held up through the years. Only two vintages (the 1998 and the 2008) felt overtly tertiary or oxidized. The others show a beautifully elegant evolution in which the Merlot is expressed as dried currant, plum and, often, fresh mint or garden herb.
The 1997 vintage stood out, as did the trio of vintages—1999, 2000 and 2001—that mark the Chioccioli years. You can taste changes to the wine starting in 2012 (with the return of D’Attoma) because the oak starts to take a backseat role to the opulent fruit.
A personal sweetheart vintage is 2014, which is showing exceptionally well right now thanks to its subtle and delicate approach. That was an underdog year with lots of rain and cooler temperatures. The most recent vintages 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019 are all phenomenal.
Redigaffi is a wine of enormous optimism. I say that not only thanks to its exceedingly consistent performance throughout the year or because of its sunny and generous fruit profile. The wine is a symbol of basic enological quality and know-how in the face of a changing climate. The reoccurrence of scorching hot growing seasons is a basic part of the Tuscan Coast identity. Merlot is an early-ripening variety that is losing its foothold in Tuscan wines today. Rising temperatures are indeed a big concern for vintners and enthusiasts alike.
Redigaffi teaches us that a great wine remains a great wine despite growing environmental challenges. It gives us hope.
MONICA LARNER, 14th Jul 2022, The Wine Advocate, July 2022 Week 2.