Down a steep hill and wading across a ford, Mulini di Segalari has to be seen to be believed. Planted everywhere you look with vines, bursting with vibrancy even post-harvest, this is a thriving valley of bucolic balance.

 

Following owner Marina Tinacci Mannelli around the former mill site is an education as the winemaker excitedly points out her just planted Sauvignon Gris for a passito and Pugnitello for a punchy experimental red, hands you Vermentino grapes to taste and talks about plans for organic healthy-eating lunches and Winemaker for a Day experiences. Organic since 2010 and officially under conversion to biodynamic, Tinacci Mannelli refuses to rest on her environment-centric laurels: there’s an area under development for outdoor cooking, a herb garden in the works and a desire to introduce a chicken run.

 

Marina's watercolor wine labels change with every new vintage

 

Step into the tiny cellar where all the bottling and labelling is still done by hand: just 10,000 bottles of sea-breezy 100% Sangiovese “Soloterra”, “Un po’ più su del Mare”, an expressive super salty Vermentino and Incrocio Manzoni white, and more typical Bolgheri blends. Exquisite wines with affordable price tags: “I get goosebumps when I think about 50 euro a bottle,” says Marina, in her famously forthright manner.

 

 “Vines are like society; they all talk to one another,” the winemaker explained as we sat down to a smorgasbord lunch of home-grown salad, crumbly cheese and prosciutto from a local producer. “That’s why it’s so important to keep the vineyard self-responsible.”

 

A personal relationship also exists between Marina and her vines. “I feel them and they feel me. I speak to the vines and thank them. Year by year, they understand how to produce a good number of grapes.”

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