Friday, May 18, 2018

Tuscany's Tyrrhenian Seacoast Is Home To Terroir Driven Maremma Wines by Philip S.Kampe

                                  Affordable Wines from Maremma

The wind driven, undeveloped land of Maremma is home to a wonderful array of both white and red wines. Located in southwest Tuscany and extending to part of northern Lazio, this wind-driven,sun-drenched corner of the world supports sandy and clay soil that is the nucleus for intense wines from the region.

Traditionally, cattle herders occupied the marsh lands of Maremma, having been last drained in the 1930's.

Today, Maremma Toscana is an appellation from the Grosseto province of Tuscany.In 2011, DOC status was awarded to the region. 

Both local and international grapes are used to make a variety of both dry and sweet wines. Fortune came my way on several occasions where I had the opportunity to sample a high quality Vin Santo (red) and a late harvest Vendemmia Tardiva style (white).

Diversity reigns in Maremma, where Metodo Classico sparkling wines made from a single variety, Vermentino or Ansonica varietal reign.

The principal white grapes of the region inlude: Malvasia, Vermentino, Viognier, Ansonica, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Trebbiano.

Red grape varieties include: Syrah, Sangiovese (Morellino), Canaiolo Nero, Ciliegioli and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Microclimates abound in Maremma. The moderate temperature and daily sun helps produce wines with soft tannins and drinkability.Minerality comes from the closeness to the sea paired with the sandy and clay soil, as was mentioned earlier.
A couple of wines were sent to me to sample from Rocca di Montemassi, an estate located in-between the shoreline and the hills. With nearly 400acres and proximity to the sea (only 6 miles away), the cooling breezes and abundant sun make for terroir driven wines, especially the (white) 2016 Calasole Vermentino DOC. Maremma is a favored growing site for the mineral laden varietal.Liguria and Sardinia are also home to this indigenous grape. The vines at Rocca di Montemassi estate are on the site of an old lgnite mine, beneficial for minerals, which ignite the fresh, crisp style of the wine. The rich minerals and the sea breezes help make this under $15 wine intriguing.  The wine is overly expressive, focusing on stone fruit and youthfulness. The 2016 has ample acidity with a creamy, velvety finish.

The second wine is a red 2016 Rocca di Montemassi Le Foccaie (Maremma Toscana). This wine is made from Tuscany's favorite grape, Sangiovese. Cinnamon, balsamic sweetness and red cherries play havoc with the tannins that create dryness on your palate. Its a pizza wine, its a food wine, its a bargain wine ($12) that is the perfect Italian ambassador that does not break the bank. Off dry, high acidity with a sweetness that turns sour and earthy in a short time. The soils of Maremma shape this memorable wine.

These two wines are true bargain wines from Maremma. There are many more complex wines on the horizon from this unique area in the world.

Philip S. Kampe


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