Thursday, May 9, 2013

Susannah Gold strikes 'GOLD' with Morellino di Scansano by Philip S. Kampe

Susannah Gold strikes ‘GOLD’ with ‘Morellino di Scansano’ by Philip S. Kampe

Rarely have I been more impressed than with the rapid development of a wine appellation than that of ‘Moellino Di Scansano’.  Two years ago the producers from the Consorzio Tutela dei Vino visited New York and created a huge ‘buzz’ among the wine industry.

I was quoted as saying,’ When we think of wines from Tuscany, naturally we think of Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Vin Santo. Never has Morellino di Scansano entered our stream of consciousness.’

After the array of eight outrageous wines that Susannah Gold, owner of Vigneto Communications ( presented to a select group of journalists at Del Posto restaurant (NYC) recently, my heart and soul has met its future , that being the wines from the Italian wine appellation, Morellino di Scansano.

The wines that we sampled are certainly ‘food wines’, as was discussed. One producer summed-up the discussion with three simple words, ‘Wine is Food’.

The dinner menu consisted of Truffled Beef Carne Cruda with Parmigiano-Reggiano and watercress buds, Garganelli Verdi al Ragu Bolognese, Neopolitan Lamb Rack with smoked neck, Salsa Madre and Wilted water Spinach, followed by a selection of three aromatic cheeses and a Biscotti assortment.
Each course was perfectly paired with two wines from Morellino di Scansano.

Morellino di Scansano recently received its DOCG rating in 2007, twenty-nine years after achieving the DOC status. The appellation is the newest DOCG in Italy. The appellation is located in southwest Tuscany, near the ocean and far from the tourist regions one associates with Tuscany.

The wines from this area are made in the hilly village of Scansano, which includes part of the coastline in Maremma. The winemaking tradition dates back to the 1500’s. Morellino is the local dialect and name for the local grape, Sangiovese. Locals believe that Morellino comes from Morello (brown), the color of Maremmano horses. Others believe that the name comes from the Morello cherry.
Its origin is still being debated.

During the 1800’s, wines from Morellino di Scansano were the most celebrated in Italy. The wines fell out of fashion later in the century. Both Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino surpassed the popularity of Morellino di Scansano.

Today, the wines are gaining popularity, both domestically and internationally. The wines are affordable. They are released young and should be consumed within a couple years of bottling, while the Reserva can be cellared up to fifteen years. By law, the wines must consist of a minimum of 85% Sangiovese, blended with up to 15% of other varietals.

The wines from Morellino di Scansano have soft tannins followed by hints of cherry and licorice. In 1978 there were ten wine producers in Morellino di Scansano. Today there are over nearly one hundred and twenty-five.

The wines from the appellation do not have to age in wood and can be released in March after the harvest, meaning that the wines can be on the shelf with less than eight months of life. The wines upon release are generally crisp and fresh. Prices are between the $12-$19  price range.

Morellino di Scansano Reserva can be released on the first of January, two years after harvest. The wine must remain on oak for no less than twelve months. These wines have richer acidity and higher tannins. Prices run from $30-$45 a bottle.

Consider purchasing wines from Mirellino di Scansano if you love the Sangiovese grape. The wines are an excellent option versus Chianti. The wines are true food wines and pair brilliantly with pasta, pizza and wild boar.

My recommendations include:
2010 Poggio Nibbiale DOCG
2010 Azienda Agricola Santa Lucia ‘Tore del More’ DOCG
2010 Poggio Argentiera ‘Capatosta’ DOCG
2009 Provveditore ‘Primo’ DOCG
2009 Fattoria La Pupille Reserva ‘Poggio Valente’ DOCG
2010 Conte Ferdinando Guicciardini-Massi di Mandorlaia DOCG
2008 Fattoria Mantellasi ‘La Sentinelle DOCG


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