Garfagnana is an ancient borderland between the Apuan Alps and the Apennine mountains, located in today’s Lucca province. Home to one of Tuscany’s highest vineyard sites, the region found its once notable viticulture neglected after the Second World War. After running his family’s osteria for many years, Gabriele da Prato embarked in 1999 on his solitary dedication to restore winemaking in Garfagna.
The tiny winery has received Demeter certification; in any case, da Prato had been working biodynamically since the early days. His efforts are blessed by the moderating influence of the Serchio River--he calls it Garfagnana’s “little Rhone” -- and by the wise remains of terraces from another area, which help retain the sun’s heat here within Tuscany’s most dramatic diurnal shift. Along with gorgeous old vines, the vineyards are home to special sandstone and shale soils, a rich composite soil from the remnants of a prehistoric lake.
In a fascinating history, the French varietals are considered indigenous to this area, as they were brought here by Napoleon’s sister, Paulina. So here we find da Prato making a Syrah with a regional history, alongside a blend of Pinot Blanc and Chenin Blanc.