[92 + pts Merchant's Mark] Morellino is the local name given to the Sangiovese grape grown in the hilly Tuscan village of Scansano. This delicious red is full-bodied and well-structured, intense, and quite elegant all at the same time. Rich, with a hint of dark chocolate, creme de mure, cassis, plum, cherry and black raspberry, it offers great mineral notes and a long, silky smooth finish. This is a terrific expression of a great value out of Tuscany and a wine that you'll want in your cellar for everyday enjoyment! This all year round wine can be enjoyed with grilled meat or chicken, pasta, hearty salads, cheese of any kind, and of course homemade pizza.
Sangiovese may be the most recognizable red grape grown it Italy. Sangiovese can be found throughout Tuscany and, depending on the subregion, is given a "local" name. For example, Sangiovese grown in Chianti is also grown in the town of Montalcino. There, however, the genetically similar Sangiovese (Sangiovese Grosso) is known locally as Brunello and thus Brunello di Montalcino is the given name of these hearty, robust wines. Similarly, Sangiovese is the grape of the Vino Nobile de Montepulciano and Morelino di Scansano regions of Tuscany.
Sangiovese can vary in its flavor profile depending on where it is grown. In Chianti, the wine typically displays savory, cherry flavors with a rustic, earthy quality. In Brunello di Montalcino, the wines tend to be a bit more rich and complex with notes of leather, dark cherry and fresh tobacco leaf. Because of the grape's acidity, it typically pairs well with tomato based cuisine. More structured Sangioveses are well suited for rich meats and hard cheeses.
The Fine Wines Of Italy: Italy is the world's largest producer of wine. Throughout Italy's long history, fine Italian wine and food have been integral to its culture. As a result, Italy has numerous indigenous varietals that are grown specifically to compliment foods from its particular regions. The most well known Italian wine regions are Piedmont, Tuscany and Veneto. In Piedmont, the age worthy noble red varietal Nebbiolo is king, while in Tuscany, Sangiovese is the prominent red varietal. In the Veneto, Corvina and Molinara are the primary planted red varietals. Italy has many indigenous and widely planted white varietals such as Venmentino, Falanghina, Tocai Fruliano, Arneis and Cortese, but Pinot Grigio is by far the most well known. Other notable Italian wines come from Sardinia, Umbria, Campania, and Sicily. Fine Italian wines are made by many great producers, however, we are quite fond of the following wines of Italy: Antinori, Bruno Giacosa, Paolo Scavino, Gaja, Castello Banfi, La Spinetta, Luigi Pira, Alesino, Siro Pacenti, Ciacci Piccolomini, Giacomo Borgogno & Figil, Tenuta San Guido and many other Italian wines.
Tuscany is home to some of the most popular Italian red wines. Located along the Tyrrehenian coast, the Mediterranean influence and hilly terrain allow Tuscany to offer a wide variety of wine styles. The most popular red grape in Tuscany is Sangiovese. Most of the Sangiovese wines take on the name of the subregion from where the grapes are grown, provided the winemaker conforms to the D.O.C.G. winemaking laws of that subregion. For example, Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile de Montepulciano and Morelino di Scansano are all Tuscan subregions and all Sangiovese based wines.
Some winemakers elect not to confirm to the subregion's winemaking laws; those wines cannot utilize the region's name on the bottle. These nonconforming wines have come to be known as "Super Tuscans" and often resemble Bordeaux blends with some combination of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and/or Merlot. Many of the elite Super Tuscans come from the Bolgheri area of Tuscany. With Bolgheri receiving its own D.O.C. designation, Bolgheri on a label is starting to take the prestige and luster away from the unofficial Super Tuscan designation.
Though reds may be best known in Tuscany, the region has exceptional white wines that are bright and crisp and retain the minerality from the Mediterranean as well. While Chardonnay can be found in Tuscany, it is more common to find indiginous white grapes like Vernaccia and Vermentino as well as a delicious but lesser know grape, Ansonica.