Though Tuscany is surely among the wine world’s best known and most heralded regions, chances are you haven’t had much from Maremma. Chianti and Brunello get most of the press, but this coastal region has much to offer, boasting a unique climate and terroir, which results in charmingly unique–and underrated–wines. We’ll dive into the region by way of the lovely Morellino di Scansano from Valle delle Rose, one of the region’s best estates. Theirs is a Maremma Sangiovese that emphasizes freshness and elegance, not to mention purity of fruit. It represents an incredible value in a region where the best of the best are often highly priced and hard-to-find.
Situated south of the better known Tuscan appellations of Chianti and Brunello, and farther west toward the Tyrrhenian Sea, Maremma has a warmer, more coastal climate, with a higher percentage of volcanic soils than the more inland appellations, to speak broadly. The resulting wines are often notably riper, and more tannic, than those of Chianti and Brunello. That being said, though, our focus this month isn’t quite cut from that cloth. It is at once deep and serious like the best Sangioveses often are, but with ample freshness and elegance as well. Expect notes of bright red cherries, damp earth, baking spices, and wild herbs. Though it would be lovely with any Italian fare, try it with our recipe for Porchetta Roast.
By appellation law, any wine with Morellino di Scansano on the label must contain at minimum 85% Sangiovese. Unlike its more pedigreed brethren to the north, Morellino can be released without any required aging, whereas Chianti and Brunello require extended aging times. Valle delle Rose recognizes the need for aging in wood, opting for a brief but necessary 6 months in small barrels, followed by 3 months in bottle before release. The result is a Tuscan red with gravitas that is also ready to drink straight out of the gate.