Ficomontanino, “Granomelo” Toscana Rosso
Ficomontanino, “Granomelo” Toscana Rosso

Ficomontanino, “Granomelo” Toscana Rosso

Tuscany, Italy 2019 (750mL)
Regular price$55.00
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Ficomontanino, “Granomelo” Toscana Rosso

Today’s beautiful Tuscan red represents a big generational shift happening across the wine world—a shift away from chemical farming and heavy-handed winemaking. The young proprietor of Ficomontanino, Maria Sole Giannelli, is the product of Slow Food’s University of Culinary Arts in Piedmont, and, like so many of her contemporaries, she comes to winemaking having read Rudolf Steiner and Masanobu Fukuoka, eager to “grow” wine rather than “make” it. Believe me, we’re all the better for it. 

What Ficomontanino’s “Granomelo” demonstrates is that natural winemaking can also yield clean, pure, complex wine. Working with old vines near Chiusi, a town near the Umbria border not far from Montepulciano, Maria Sole is crafting wines not just with the right intentions but the right results: Granomelo is a beautifully perfumed, 100% Sangiovese wine from high-elevation sites in Chiusi, and I suspect its packaging in a Burgundy bottle is no accident; much as I think of Sangiovese as Italy’s answer to Burgundian Pinot Noir, the amount of bottled evidence to support that assertion remains relatively scarce. Finding enough sweet black cherry fruit to offset the underbrush-y savor is always the challenge, but Granomelo was up to the task in 2019. This is a delicious and deeply serious wine that is poised to make major waves—consider yourselves among the earliest adopters!

Ficomontanino (“little fig mountain”) is the kind of earnest, farmstead-style operation that is, thankfully, becoming ever-more-trendy these days. In 2014, following wine apprenticeships in Piedmont, Maria Sole began reviving and transforming a farm her grandfather first acquired in the 1960s. Located in the southeastern reaches of Tuscany, the estate includes 12 hectares of vineyards, most of them planted by Maria Sole’s grandfather more than 40 years ago on south-facing slopes reaching to elevations of 350 meters. Since taking the reins, Maria Sole introduced organic and biodynamic agricultural practices, seeking to create a self-sustaining ecosystem on the property. Her all-natural approach to viticulture is echoed in the cellar, where wines are fermented spontaneously on ambient yeasts and treated with the smallest possible addition of sulfur at bottling.

Granomelo is named, in a way, for a “cru” vineyard on the property called “Melogranino” (a diminutive of the Italian word for pomegranate). It’s a south-facing site with vines rooted in sandy clay and silt. Sangiovese from this vineyard is spontaneously (and slowly) fermented in clay amphorae, during which the juice is macerated with skins (and some stems) for about two months. Aging is carried out in glass demijohns rather than barrels, allowing the emphasis to remain on resonant fruit and profound minerality.

Under 100 cases of Granomelo were produced, and it displays broader, deeper dimensions than the entry-level “Bulgarelli” bottling from Ficomontanino. Nevertheless, it contains a high-toned, high-energy personality. A resonant chord of black cherry, pomegranate (yes, I know, suggestible…), red currant, cranberry, bay leaf, warm spices, and an extinguished-campfire quality I always associate with Sangiovese. There’s plenty of juicy fruit on the mid-palate but also the tension, smoke, and grip that characterizes a proper Sangiovese wine. Decant this at least 30 minutes before serving in Burgundy stems and pair it with something rustic and unmistakably Tuscan like ribollita or pappa al pomodoro. As I wrote previously about Maria Sole Giannelli, she is a winemaker to watch. Here’s your chance to say, “I knew her when…”

Ficomontanino, “Granomelo” Toscana Rosso


Northwestern Italy


Italy’s Piedmont region is really a wine “nation”unto itself, producing world-class renditions of every type of wine imaginable: red, white, sparkling, name it! However, many wine lovers fixate on the region’s most famous appellations—Barolo and Barbaresco—and the inimitable native red that powers these wines:Nebbiolo.



The area known as “Chianti” covers a major chunk of Central Tuscany, from Pisa to Florence to Siena to Arezzo—and beyond. Any wine with “Chianti” in its name is going to contain somewhere between 70% to 100% Sangiovese, and there are eight geographically specific sub-regions under the broader Chianti umbrella.

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