Emerging from a desire for unity that unites the wineries of Val di Cornia, today, in the wake of a new post-pandemic sociality, it represents a reference point for a network of local producers aiming to enhance the fascinating link between wine and territory, merging their alchemies in the glass. We are talking about the Consorzio Suvereto and Val di Cornia. The newly established reality, based in the medieval village of Suvereto, began its journey in autumn 2021, choosing to bet on the sense of community typical of the region to embrace the specificities that characterize the consortium. The keyword is, naturally, "identity," a concept that in Val Di Cornia embodies a true connective tissue that brings together the human component, territory, and wine productions. What does this institution represent for Val di Cornia, and what are the wines it protects? We discussed this with Secretary Daniele Becchi.
From the idea of "Community" to the consortium process
The Consorzio Suvereto and Val Di Cornia boasts a social base of around thirty companies united by their commitment to the protection and promotion of the three denominations present in the territory: Suvereto DOCG, Rosso della Val di Cornia DOCG, and Val Di Cornia DOC. "After the founding act," explains Daniele Becchi, recalling the highlights of the Consortium's formation, "the first step coincided with the request for the recognition of erga omnes powers, which, according to Law 238/2016 'Organic discipline of vine cultivation and wine production and trade', are attributed based on the representativeness expressed by the consortium in terms of both adhering wineries and productions.
In light of its high representativeness, the Suvereto Consortium obtained recognition of these powers in the spring of 2022. From then on, Becchi clarifies, "All the involved entities embraced the objectives of protection, promotion, and care of the general interests of the supply chain and consumers, not only towards their members but also towards those using the protected designations, regardless of the associative bond. This aspect, the latter, effectively represents a recognition of the centrality of the consortium entity in the development of the brands and their terroirs.
Among the technical prerogatives of the Consorzio Suvereto and Val Di Cornia is what is defined as the "reorganization of the qualitative pyramid", which consists of realigning the disciplinary regulations with the current ampelographic and productive reality.
The third key aspect of the objectives assigned to the Consortium by the erga omnes powers is, finally, related to promotion: in this regard, in light of measure 3.2 of the Rural Development Program (PSR), the institute born between Suvereto and Val Di Cornia received funding aimed at developing a biennial communication plan to increase the recognizability and perceived quality of the designations.
Promoting the relationship between wine and territory: the Consortium tells its story
The pulsating heart of the promotional activity embraced by the wineries belonging to the Consortium is the connection between designations and terroir. "On the other hand," secretary Becchi explains, "wine is the meeting point for all those immaterial elements present in the territory, an aspect that allows us to create a real competitive advantage and thus to create the identity of the geographical area where the productions are born. And the history of the wines of Val Di Cornia boasts fascinating chapters that take us back in time, to the Napoleonic era, when typically Tuscan grape varieties such as Sangiovese and Vermentino intermingled with some international species. The occasion is linked to the arrival of Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, Napoleon's sister and the wife of a Corsican general, who settled in Val Di Cornia following the reconstitution of the Duchy of Piombino. Elisa brought with her to Tuscany a piece of her land, including the cuttings necessary to create vineyards 'in the modern Bordeaux style,' which found a place in the mining village that Elisa herself had built in the Montioni Park to produce alum. A historical anecdote that, on the one hand, confirms the multifaceted nature of the souls that characterize Val Di Cornia, while on the other hand, tells its international profile. As Daniele Becchi emphasizes, "Tuscany is not only Sangiovese, indeed: the cultivations that characterize the territory are much more heterogeneous. On the other hand, out of the 820 hectares of vineyards that extend in Val Di Cornia, 150 are cultivated with Sangiovese, another 150 with Merlot, 100 with Vermentino, 150 with Cabernet Sauvignon, 50 with Syrah, and 50 with Cabernet Franc: a proportion that", Becchi specifies, "speaks volumes about the balance between the 'Sangiovese-focused' Tuscany and the one more attentive to international grafts, which usually develop in coastal areas".
Between thermal waters and mining deposits: here is the terroir of the wines of Val di Cornia
The Consortium tells the world about its three denominations, Suvereto Docg, Rosso della Val di Cornia DOCG, and Val Di Cornia DOC, and unveils their wonders through a journey from the land to the glass: in Val Di Cornia, this is a path that offers truly intense sensations and a taste of mining Tuscany. As President Becchi explains, in fact, "what makes the difference is the contribution of minerals present in this particularly rich territory of deposits and thermal waters, a locality overlooking the Isle of Elba, a peculiarity recognized in terms of both the complexity of the organoleptic profile and the minerality: this means that the wines protected by the Consortium are characterized by a mix of sensations that move on the border between savoriness, acidity, and Mediterranean-balsamic components.
For wine enthusiasts and tourists, the discovery of this sensory universe takes place in a place as suggestive as the history of the three wines: we're talking about the former nursery school of Suvereto, at the foot of the Rocca Aldobrandesca, a historic location that offers a breathtaking view of Val Di Cornia and that, as Daniele Becchi specifies: "Relates wine, its territory, and the production base composed of the approximately 30 wineries that are part of the Consortium, the perfect synthesis between regulatory and protection aspects, associationism, and terroir".
Among the productive realities of Val di Cornia: a journey to Monterufoli
Among the wineries that enliven the activities of the Consortium is also the Tenuta di Monterufoli: here, a few kilometers from the splendid Etruscan Coast, immersed in the Mediterranean scrub of the homonymous natural park, this ancient structure linked to Count Ugolino della Gherardesca offers a plunge into Dante's Tuscany and represents an important stop to discover Val Di Cornia and its terroir with a high concentration of minerals. Not by chance, from here, it is possible to set off to explore lignite and magnesite mines, reach chalcedony deposits with off-road vehicle, and immerse oneself in the vineyards surrounding the Estate during a relaxing bike ride.
Naturally, in this evocative place, where lignite loads once passed towards Livorno, it is also possible to fully immerse yourself in the world of wine: visitors to the estate's cellar have the opportunity to closely observe the production of one of the wines protected by the Consortium, such as the "Poggio Miniera Val di Cornia red DOCG", presented alongside the precious "Pian di Seta Vermentino di Toscana Bio IGT".
The Estate is also suitable for a mini vacation to be spent in the heart of Val Di Cornia, pampered in one of the three accommodation facilities: the Miniera, le Scuderie, and la Casa delle Guardie, which offer a total of nine rooms and six Tuscan-style apartments.
A journey through land and flavors that fits into the context defined by the Consortium and its promotional activities.
With its peculiarities, Val Di Cornia describes an identity perimeter nestled between the coast, waters, and minerals: its wines are the perfect synthesis of this, and, thanks to the Consortium that protects them, they tell this splendid land to the whole world. Are you ready to discover them?