Maria Sole’s farm is called Ficomontanino (roughly, “Little Fig Mountain”), a property her grandfather acquired in the 1960s as a place to produce olive oil and breed horses. Situated in the far southeast of the region near the town of Chiusi, Ficomontanino is administratively part of Tuscany, but geographically and spiritually it speaks to both Umbria and Lazio, both of whose borders are mere kilometers away. From her 12 hectares of vines, planted at around 350 meters altitude on the south-facing slopes of her family’s property, one can see Lake Trasimeno in Umbria to the east, the mountains of northern Lazio to the south, and the rolling hills of Siena to the northwest.
Maria Sole’s grandfather planted the first vines here almost 40 years ago, making wine as a hobby, and while Maria Sole’s father ramped up production a bit, his approach was more conventional, informed by then-current trends toward power and color. Having studied at Slow Food’s University of Culinary Arts at Pollenzo, Maria Sole was inspired by the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and Masanobu Fukuoka to reimagine her family’s vineyards as part of a larger ecosystem, and when she gained responsibility for them in 2014, she set about establishing a natural equilibrium on the property, incorporating biodynamic preparations, allowing vegetation to grow freely, and relying on only bare traces of copper-sulfate to treat her vineyards.
She has gradually been refining her approach in the cellar as well, working toward ever more expressiveness via ever fewer interventions. Maria Sole’s mother is from Sardinia, and she was inspired to drastically alter her approach to temperature control, sulfur, and other such safeguards by the bold, proudly natural wines of Tenute Dettori (located near to her mother’s birth home), as well as by numerous examples from Piedmont, where she worked after school for a number of years. Her cellar sidekick Fabio, originally from the Valtellina, worked at the legendary Ar.Pe.Pe estate, and both he and Maria Sole bring a certain appreciation of reined-in, precise wildness to the overarching aesthetic of Ficomontanino’s wines.
Practicing Organic, with some biodynamic practices
Copper sulfate and biodynamic preparations
Annual ploughing to promote vineyard health, with grass tolerated between the vines
Sands and clay
Vines are trained in Guyot and Cordon de Royat and average 20-40 years old
Controlled through pruning and debudding, yields average 40-50 hl/ha.
Entirely manual, usually late September
Entirely estate fruit
Noble Kara ferments spontaneously in stainless-steel tanks after c. 24 hours on its skins. Following total destemming, Bulgarelli ferments spontaneously in concrete vats and stainless-steel tanks for 2 weeks. Granomelo is partially destemmed and ferments spontaneously for 60 days in amphorae
During maceration, Bulgarelli sees pumpovers; Granomelo sees a gentle infusion in amphorae
Vertical Basket Press
Spontaneous, in concrete vats until March
Bulgarelli spends 6 months in concrete vats. Granomelo spends 24 months in glass demijohns. Noble Kara spends 6 months in stainless-steel tanks
Wines are racked following malolactic and remain on
their fine lees until assemblage prior to bottling
Fining and Filtration
All wines are unfined and unfiltered.
c. 43-50 mg/l total sulfur