Italians are quite provincial. They love to travel the world, but when in Italy, many prefer spending time only in their region or hometown. The wine from their region, not to mention the food, is always the best, no questions asked.
That’s why it was quite a surprise when Luisa Silvestrini, an architect by trade, and her husband Paolo moved from Piedmont to coastal Tuscany to start their own winery in 2006. As Luisa will tell you, this was a part of Italy that they fell in love with, having traveled to very frequently. They really gained an in depth understanding of the wines from the area, first as consumers, and eventually as producers.
After intense study, Luisa found her perfect vineyard site on the rolling hills of Motescudaio, just 10 short kilometers from the ocean in the province of Pisa. Away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Tuscany, this region has soft rolling hills full of Mediterranean brush, oak trees and a general tranquility. Based on many factors, she selected wine varietals that would best express themselves on her tiny 5 hectare farm in this sun kissed part of Italy. Before her planting, the lovely hills had never hosted vines. She experimented with a few different varietals, that after two years, started to bear fruit and seemed quite healthy. These were the results that her and Paolo were looking for, and they knew that they were on the right track.
After just a few years of winemaking, Luisa is a point of reference for this part of Tuscany. The winery is organic, uses renewable energy to create about 10% of their power, and also uses a unique gravity based water retention system. In a region full of fellow small producers, many of which are organic producers, Luisa’s work here has still managed to stand out. In Montescudaio, the consortium has a general rule that requires organic production, which acts as a sort of protective measure for the territory.
Luisa focuses on the production of Sangiovese, along with some international varietals like Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. The wines are grown in sandy soils with high fossil content. This gives a consistent minerality to the wines and allows Luisa to work with low yields.
Everything done at Colline di Sopra seems to have a purpose, whether its their commitment to organic production or the names of their wines. Eola, which is their base line wine, is named after Aeolus, the Greek god of wind. The mostly northern facing vineyard receives a constant breeze from the ocean, hence the name of the wine. This breeze reduces the dampness on the vines and helps keep the grapes healthy and happy.