Discovering Tuscany’s Hidden Gem: Morellino di Scansano

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Morellino di Scansano is a wine that does not get the recognition that it deserves. Often overlooked because of the popularity of other wines from Tuscany, Morellino di Scansano like those, is based on the Sangiovese grape but is a much better value for the money.IMG_6407

A tasting and lunch of Morellino di Scansano wines was held at Eataly in NYC.

Giacomo Pondini, director of the Consortium Tutela Morellino di Scansano, spoke about the wine. He said that the production zone is the predominantly hill area around the village of Scansano in the Maremma region of costal Tuscany between the Ombrone and Albegna Rivers. Altitude ranges from just a few meters above sea level near Grosetto to 550 meters in the Collecchio zone. The Morellino di Scansano zone covers approximately 65,000 hectares of land in the southwest of the province of Grosetto, the southernmost area of Tuscany. There are about 1,500 hectares of vineyards.

Giacomo Pondini

Giacomo Pondini

Morellino di Scansano DOCG, including the Riserva, must be at least 85% Sangiovese. Vineyards cannot have a density of less that 4,000 vines per hectare. Only emergency irrigation is allowed. The natural minimum alcohol must be 12% for both the regular and riserva

The riserva must be aged for at least two years, one of which must be in wooden barrels. Aging period is calculated from January 1st after the harvest.

The regular can be released for sale starting on March 1st of the year after the harvest. Vinification, aging and bottling must take place within the production zone.

He added that because of its location the wine is softer and rounder than in other parts of Tuscany. He also felt that there was a movement in the zone away from the use of international grapes and barriques.

 

The WinesIMG_6410

Morellino di Scansano “Torre del Moro” 2013 DOCG Santa Lucia made from 100% Sangiovese. The vineyards are on low hills, facing southwest and the soil is of medium texture, calcareous and stony. Harvest takes place the second or third week of September by hand. Traditional vinification in temperature controlled tanks of limited volume. The grapes are left to macerate for a period of 20 days. After malolatic fermentation the wine ages for four months in barrels. The wine is bottled at the end of the summer following the harvest. The wine remains in the bottle for a minimum of 180 days before release. This is a light, fruity, easy to drink wine that goes well with food.IMG_6400

Morellino di Scansano 2013 DOCG Fattoria Barbi (Vivaio dei Barbi) made from 85% Sangiovese Grosso and 15% Merlot. This is a 28 hectare property of which 20 hectares is planted with vines, 16 hectares of Sangiovese and four hectares of Merlot. The estate is on a hill at 250 meters. The soil is stone mixed with sand. Sangiovese from the Maremma, locally known as Morellino, has softer tannins and lower acidity levels than Sangiovese from other parts of Tuscany. There is s pre-fermentation cold maceration (cold soak), which consists of cooling the grapes at a temperature of 60°F in an anaerobic environment (under CO2) to protect the must from oxidation. After 48 hours, the temperature is raised and alcoholic fermentation begins, and lasts 12 to 13 days. After racking and malolactic fermentation, the wine is aged in small and medium oak barrels 222L to 15HL for six months. The wine has hints of red berries, cherries, a touch of tobacco and good acidity.IMG_6404

Morellino di Scansano “Spiaggiole” 2012 DOCG Poggio Maestrino made from 100% Sangiovese from the Spiaggiole and Poggio Mastrino vineyards. The vines are 10 years old and the exposure is east-west. There are 5,000 plants per hectare. For pruning they use the runner system (cordone speronato) and the soil is medium type of volcanic origin. The wine is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Malolactic fermentation also takes place in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged in steel tanks and in the bottle for six months before release. It is fruity with hints of cherry, well balanced and a nice long finish.IMG_6402

Morellino di Scansano “Capatosta” 2011 DOCG Poggio Argentiera made from 85% Sangiovese, 10% Ciliegiolo and 5% Allicante. Representing the winery was Giampaolo Paglia, the owner/winemaker. He said the winery was established in 1997 and they had 6 hectares of old and high quality producing vineyards. They planted new vineyards of local varieties such as Sangiovese and Alicante. He said he makes wines that have a sense of place, where the terroir is allowed to show itself unbiased. Starting in 2009 they began organic farming and follow a very natural and non- intervention approach in the cellar.

Giampaolo Paglia

Giampaolo Paglia

Most of the wines are not filtered or fined. No additives or chemicals are added with the exception of a small amount of sulfites. For the Sangiovese based wines only medium to large oak barrels are used. The wines are made to be drunk young and are aged in stainless steel or cement vats. He also said that as of 2009 they stopped using barriques because they were too aggressive for the Morellino . He ended by saying that Maremmano wines can be Mediterranean without being jammy and impenetrable; Sangiovese speaks a different language on the coast than in inland Tuscany and does not have to affect a thick, heavy accent to enhance this difference. This was my favorite wine at the tasting IMG_6403

Morellino di Scansano “Reviresco” 2012 DOCG Val di Toro made from 100% Sangiovese the grapes are hand harvested and sorted in mid September. The training system is Guyot and there are 6,000 vines per hectare. After destemming, the must ferments in temperature controlled vats, starting at 18°C then gradually rising to 28°C toward the end of the fermentation process. During maceration, which lasts about 20 days, pump over’s are carried out daily and towards the end of the period a short delestage (rack and return). Malolactic is in cement vats, and the wine is transferred into second passage tonneaux of French oak, where it remains for about 10 months. The wine has aromas and flavors of fresh fruit with hints of wild berries and cherries.IMG_6405

Morellino di Scansano “Nero” 2012 DOCG Fattoria Villa Acquavita made from 85% Sangiovese, 15% Malvasia Nera and Alicante. The vines are 330 meters above sea level. Skin contact lasts for at least 10 days. Fermentation takes place for 10 days. The wine is aged in 5.5HL barrels. This is very traditionally made wine with hints of berries, cherries and other red fruits.IMG_6401

Morellino di Scansano “I Massi” 2012 DOCG Conte Ferdinando Guicciardini Massi di Mandorlaia made from 85% Sangiovese and 15% Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Alicante. The wine is fermented in stainless steel with 15 to18 days maceration. The wine is aged for 8 to 10 months in vats and partly in French oak barrels. The wine is aged in bottle for 4 to 6 months before release. This is a well-balanced wine with good fruit, a hint of spice and balsamic with a long finish and pleasant after taste. This was also one of my favorites.

These wines are a real bargain at $20 or less.

 

 

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under Fattoria Dei Barbi, Fattoria Villa Acquaviva Nero, I Massi Morellino, Italian Red Wine, Italian Wine, Morellino di Scansano, Poggio Argentiera Capatosta, Poggio Maestrino Spiaggiole, Santa Luca - Torre del Moro, Val di Torre Reviesco

5 responses to “Discovering Tuscany’s Hidden Gem: Morellino di Scansano

  1. Tom Maresca

    Charles;

    You’re doing your readers a great service by calling attention to the high quality and frequent bargains that can be found in Morellino di Scansano. I’ve never understood why Sangiovese lovers haven’t latched onto these wines: They can be as juicy and flavorful as any wines from the still-more-famous Sangiovese denominations, and usually at a much lower price.

  2. Hi Charles,

    The Capatosta is indeed a brilliant. In quebec, it is imported by Agence PF. It is one of the best Morellinos that i have tasted. Thanks for spotting thesr wines to the public

  3. Joe DeLillo

    Charles ,Santa Lucia is one of my favorites when I can find it. Do you know if it is available in the New York area ? As far as I know it is only available in Mass. and Florida.Thank You,Joe DeLillo

  4. Ciao Joe- I think they said the wine was available in NYC

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