The passion of Vignaioli Morelino di Scansano
© by Neil Duarte
Tuscany is famous to lovers of Italian wine for a number of superb red wines including Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, all of which are produced in the inland portions of the region from just north of Siena southward to the towns of Montalcino and Montepulciano. However, if you only know this area, you have missed another very beautiful part of Tuscany located to the southwest of this area that also produces a number of excellent wines.
|Signor Sergio Bucci giving a tour. Photo: Terry Duarte.
After our tour we moved into the tasting room and began to sample Cantina del Morelino's higher level wines. We started with a 2013 DOC Bianco di Pitigliano "Rasenno", a white blend of 80% Trebbiano, 10% Malvasia, 5% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Chardonnay. After cold pressing, fermentation takes place at 16°C in stainless steel tanks. It is aged on the lees for three months. The result is a wine that is very pale yellow in color, has a light fruit nose and finishes early. The Rasenno is a wine to be drunk when young and best in warm climates. Recommended serving temperature is 10-12°C (50-54°C). I rated this wine an 85.
Our second white wine was a 2013 IGT Vermentino Toscano, a blend of 95% Vermentino and 5% Sauvignon Blanc. The Vermentino followed the same pressing and aging as the Rasenno in stainless steel tanks. The wine was a pale yellow in color with a very light nose. It finished medium long and pleasantly smooth. Another wine to be served at 10-12°C and drunk when young (less than two years), I rated this very good example of a Vermentino an 89.
Now we moved to the red wines. Our initial red was a 2013 IGT Scantianum, a 13% alcohol blend of 85% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 5% Syrah. Vinification is at a max temperature of 27°C with maceration on the skins for four days. Then the wine is drawn off and no further contact with the skins occurs. Aging is in stainless steel with the lees for three months. The result was a wine of garnet color with a nice fruity nose. The finish was light but smooth. This young wine is meant to be drunk within two years of bottling and I rated it an 87. It will not overpower any pasta or light meat dish and should be served at 16°C (61°F).
Next we tried a 2013 DOC Maremma Toscana "Capoccia", a blend of 85% Cillegiolo and 15% Alicante. After pressing the grapes receive hot maceration (35°C) for twelve hours followed by fermentation at 27°C. The wine is drawn off the skins after four days and malolactic fermentation is completed on the lees. The Capoccia is aged in stainless steel for three months followed by at least three months in the bottle. The resulting wine was garnet in color with a fruit and flower nose. Its finish was medium and I rated this wine an 88. It is another wine to be drunk within two years and should be served at 16°C.
I recently watched the short (64-minute) film "Barolo Boys" by Paolo Casalis and Tiziano Gaia. This film recounts the revolution of a group of young producers in the Langhe Valley in the 1980s which resulted in the change of methodology in the production of Barolo wine and its subsequent rise to become one of the best known and appreciated wines in the world. The movie features interviews with the rebellious young producers as well as the old guard who opposed them. If you are interested in Italian wine history, this is a worthwhile movie. You can learn more at www.baroloboysthemovie.com.
Red wine no. 4 was a 2012 DOCG Morelino di Scansano "Vignabenefizio", 13.5% alcohol blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon from higher altitude vineyards. This wine follows the same general maceration and fermentation as the Vin del Fattore but the aging of this wine includes six months in French oak barriques followed by at least three months in the bottle. The result was a wine with a deep garnet color and a good nose and a medium long and very smooth finish. I rated this excellent wine a 92.
The final wine was a 2009 DOCG Riserva Morelino di Scansano "Sicomoro", a 14% alcohol 100% Sangiovese made from 40 year old vines. Maceration and fermentation follow the same general scheme as the Vignabenefizzio. Aging is accomplished in French oak barriques for eighteen months followed by thirteen months in the bottle. This wine was deep ruby red in color with a nose of spice and leather. This superb wine finished long and very smooth and I rated it a 93.
Following our tasting Signor Bucci treated us to lunch with the workers in the company dining room which was an excellent opportunity to meet the staff and discuss their excellent wines. I thank Signor Bucci for the great hospitality he showed us during our visit and I highly recommend the wines of Cantina del Morelino. Flat Creek Enterprises LLC in Marble Falls, TX will soon begin to import several of these wines.