During the release of our new Italy Investment Report, Cult Wines will be publishing a series of videos showcasing a selection of key Italian producers. We start with Super Tuscan wine powerhouse Tua Rita.
Setting out to produce wines simply by working the land in a natural way, Tua Rita have been able to maintain the perfect terroir for grapes – Merlot being its beating heart – this is a super Tuscan not to be missed. The landscape and buildings on this property were a mere setting for living in contact with nature whilst farming their beloved land.
Tua Rita is located in Suvereto, a small medieval town in the Tuscan province of Livorno, on the gorgeous coast south of Bolgheri. The winery lies at just 300 feet above sea level, on clay, silty soil. You can read more about Tua Rita, their wines and investment potential and performance in the report that can be found below.
1. It has humble beginnings…
Rita Tua and her husband Virgilio bought the southern Tuscany property in 1984 with modest intentions. They planted Cabernet and Merlot across their original 37.5 acres with the aim of working the land in a natural way, and perhaps enjoying some of the fruits of their labour themselves. Suffice to say they never expected to become a huge name in the fine wine business.
2. …and a façade to match
Despite being an Italian wine powerhouse, Tua Rita is a modest estate, and from the outside resembles a simple rural family home.
3. Progress was at first slow and steady…
Despite taking ownership of the land in 1984, Rita and Virgilio didn’t release their first vintage until 1992 – the Bordeaux style Giusto di Notri – opting to take their time learning about the terroir and climate of the medieval Suvereto, where the estate is located.
4. …but it rapidly developed a prestigious reputation
Following its inaugural vintage in 1992, the estate quickly began receiving praise and accolades for its rich, full-bodied reds. Within just five years its 100% Merlot has achieved cult-like status, with critic Robert Parker claiming the 1999 Redigaffi was “as close to perfection as a wine can get.”
5. It holds an enviable record
By the late 1990s Tua Rita was already firmly established on every wine aficionado’s radar, but it truly got its big break when Robert Parker awarded the 2000 Redigaffi a 100-point score, making it the first wine in all of Italy to obtain those highly-coveted perfect Parker points. And that was far from the last perfect score the estate has enjoyed – more recently the 2016 was awarded 100 points by critic Susan Hulme.
6. It maintains a focus on quality, not quantity
After Robert Parker’s perfect scoring, Tua Rita began formal investments into its vineyard and operations, and while the estate has expanded to over 55 acres, it still retains its artisanal ideals. It’s no surprise then, that in producing just 3,400 a year Tua Rita remains one of the hardest Italian wines to get hold of.
7. Its winemaking processes are meticulous
Despite the expansion of the Tua Rita winery and cellar at the turn of the millennium, hand-picked grapes still arrive in small batches at harvest. They are fastidiously selected and de-stemmed at the sorting tables and then, after gentle crushing, the must is transferred to conical wooden vats for fermentation. Depending on the vintage, maceration lasts 25 to 30 days, with carefully regulated remontage. After fermentation, the wine is transferred by gravity flow into oak barriques for malolactic fermentation, before maturing in oak for at least 18 months.
8. The estate produces a number of wines
Even though it’s perhaps most well-known for its Redigaffi, Tua Rita makes a range of other wines, including a Syrah, which was said to be a favourite of the late Virgilio. The estate now plants eight other grape varieties in addition to Merlot, with its second wine – Rosso dei Notri – comprising a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
9. It knows its value
Despite its humble beginnings, Tua Rita is well aware of its iconic Super Tuscan status, and sets its prices accordingly. While the average vintage price sits at around £1,900 per case of 12, the legendary 2000 Redigaffi edges closer to £5,000 per case of 12. In 2016, to celebrate 20 years of the label, the estate released a limited edition Redigaffi 7 with an eye-watering price tag of £900 per bottle.
10. It’s still family-focused
Tua Rita began life with family at its heart, and it continues to retain those values over 30 years later. After Virgilio passed away in 2010, management of the estate passed on to daughter Simena and husband Stefano Frascolla with son Giovanni becoming more involved in the estate in recent years. Rita Tua is said to be happier at home in the kitchen than in the winery these days, but is still on hand to make sure everything is in line with the artisan vision that launched the estate to fame all those years ago.