Mastering Maremma: The Affordable Way

July 1, 2008

Maremma, southern Tuscany’s premier wine region, is becoming a household word.

Although it is a very young region compared to its northern neighbors in the Chianti Classico area, many famous wines are being made there.

High-end restaurants and deep-pocketed consumers continually clamor for more Ornellaia. This wine, made by Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, stresses a blend of international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. It is a beautifully elegant, jammy tasting red wine. It’s newest releases usually command between $175-$200 at the retail level.

Tenuta San Guido’s Sassicaia is another example of Maremma’s notoriety. This wine that highlights Italian Cabernet Sauvignon is usually released at the $150-$175 price level.

Tua Rita, another high-end producer in the Maremma, makes a wine called Redigaffi. The wine is made of 100 % Merlot grapes. It sells for approximately $250.

Famous wine regions attract famous people. Angelo Gaja, the famous Barbaresco producer in the Piedmont region, has built a winery here called Ca’ Marcanda. Alain Ducasse, the internationally renowned French chef and restaurateur, has opened a hotel/resort here just a few miles from the Tyrrhenian Sea.

These aforementioned wines are magnificent to taste. However, you’ll probably agree with me that you won’t find them on our daily dinner tables. Is it possible to get a taste of the Maremma at home?

The answer is a definite yes!! Go to Scansano!!!

The village of Scansano sits on a mountain ridge in the Maremma. The native Morellino grapes (a.k.a. Sangiovese) are allowed to ripen fully as do the international varieties. The resulting wine tastes much more luscious and fruity than the sangiovese-based wines in the Chianti region.

My favorite producer lately has been Bruni. They make two beautiful examples of Morrelino di Scansano; the Marteto and the Laire.

Other very good producers to look for are Le Pupille and Erik Banti.

Seek out these Morellino di Scansano wines. Your tastebuds and wallet will thank you.

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