Maestà della Formica

  • Tuscany, Italy
Maestà della Formica

Maestà della Formica (the “Majesty of the Ant,” named after a nearby mountain pass), is a young biodynamic farm in the village of Careggine, in the wild, mountainous northwest of Tuscany.  Straddled between the Garfagnana and the Apuan Alps, an hour and a half north of Lucca, we are well off the beaten path of Tuscany’s more famous touristic centers and lauded wine regions. Not far are the Massa-Carrara quarries, where Michelangelo sourced his marble for the David.  Wine-wise, there is no DOC or DOCG to be found here, and grapes are all mixed together in tiny parcels:  Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo, Syrah, Gamay, Bonarda, Canaiolo, red Muscat of Hamburg, Abrusco, Canavese, Pollera, Trebbiano, Malvasia, Vermentino, even Riesling. Even Blaufränkisch.  Legend has it that this hodgepodge of vine material came from pilgrims on the Via Francigena, walking from Canterbury to Rome. Or from Italian wet nurses returning from their work abroad.  I’m afraid we’re not in Kansas anymore…

At the helm, attempting to gently guide the inherent biodiversity of Maestà della Formica, is Andrea Elmi.   His 3.2 hectares of vineyards range from 50 to 150 years old, between 700m and 1050m, spread between five different villages. He also runs the Rifugio Alpi Apuane, a seasonal farmstay/mountain refuge restaurant.  This allows Andrea to explore his other passion, la cucina, with the bounty from a hectare of fruit orchards of heirloom Garfagnana cultivars, as well as many foraged Alpine ingredients. Some examples of his creations:  elderflower berry “capers,” hay syrup, pickled fir buds, peach and helichrysum compote. They’ve even developed a product line in conjunction with the Parco Alpi Apuane, a UNESCO Global Geopark. Eat your heart out, Noma.

We are pleased to welcome the Ant, in all its Majesty, to Bowler!

To learn more:

Image Producer PRODUCT Description Country / Region

Maestà della Formica IGT Toscana Bianco 'Vignesperse'
Vignesperse or "Scattered Vineyards,"  is about 50% Trebbiano and 50% Malvasia from four vineyards, totaling 1.6 hectares, in the... Italy

Maestà della Formica Riesling IGT Toscana
100% Riesling, selected in the Mosel, and planted at Maestà della Formica in 2014.  This is an extreme vineyard, 0.6ha at 1050m, densely...

Maestà della Formica Vino Rosso Frizzante 'DrankAnte'
DrankAnte comes from the same four parcels as Vignesperse.  Approximately 30% Sangiovese, 30% Ciliegiolo, 15% Moscato d'... Italy

Maestà della Formica IGT Toscana Rosso 'Gamo'
Gamo is named for Gallicano and Molazzana, the two original source villages for the wine, first made in 2018. It is 40% Sangiovese... Italy