I Mandorli is one of Italy's best-kept secrets.
Located on a hill in a small village where the Tuscan coast meets the sea, you arrive with a true sense that you've discovered a rare gem. No one is looking for this place, not many have found it, but it's what everyone should be searching for.
I was fortunate enough to meet the owner's daughter, Maddalena. In this post, I asked her what made her choose to quit her job and embrace a life made of respect for nature and traditional winemaking.
LB: Lorenzo Belli
MP: Maddalena Pasquetti
LB: How did you become a winemaker?
MP: About ten years ago, I was teaching in a primary school in Florence and was feeling more and more the need to be closer to nature, far away from the chaos of the city.
At the time, my father had recently bought this small vineyard, about three hectares large, to start making wine the way it was done once.
I had an incredible opportunity. So, one day, I quit my job, left the city and dedicated myself to support my father in making natural wine.
LB: What is natural wine?
MP: Natural winemaking aims at always respecting nature in order to preserve the land for the next generations. The idea is that we work together with nature in order to find the right balance in using the resources that She provides us with.
Following biodynamic winemaking techniques, we are able to give our products a unique sense to the agricultural act, elevating it from being a mere industrial process.
LB: Which are your most and least favorite parts of being a wine producer?
MP: The most beautiful part is being able to give back to nature what She gives us every day, by respecting the land with biodynamic principles across the different seasons of the year.
Also, being in touch with other producers is great: I love engaging in conversations with other committed believers of natural winemaking.
On the other hand, the administrative part is the one I prefer the least. As you can imagine.
LB: Would you share with us a particular memory of your winemaking adventure?
MP: In 2014, we were not happy with our vintage wines, so we decided not to produce Cabernet and Sangiovese anymore.
Instead, we decided to mix the two grapes giving birth to the unique “vino rosso”.
In the beginning, we had little confidence, but in the end, the result was a really wonderful wine, which is now the most appreciated label of our whole winery!
LB: Which advice would you give to young winemakers?
MP: Unfortunately, most winemakers tend to care only about the final product, forgetting what allows them to produce such great wine: the land.
I encourage every winemaker to learn how to respect and communicate with their land, this is crucial to keep producing great wines in a natural and sustainable way!
Whilst still a small farm, producing only around 25,000 bottles a year, I Mandorli are masters of winemaking, respecting nature in everything they do. This is real Italian quality. A chance to experience the very best the Tuscan coast has to offer.
If you want to bring their rare gems to your table, head over here.
For more interviews with our unique producers, stay tuned!