Drinking Tonight: Morellino di Scansano

Morellino is the local nickname – in the Maremma Toscana region, along the southern coastline of Tuscany – for the premier grape of the region, Sangiovese. There are different theories about this particular name – some say it refers to the local Morello cherries, others to the chestnut coat of the region’s horses. I find it a great way to get a localized production of Sangiovese for a very attractive price. The Scansano region doesn’t require any oak aging, so it’s very common to buy these wines young and fresh – I picked this up at Trader Joe’s last week.

Cala de’ Poeti (2012) Morellino di Scansano, Italy – $8

Photo0272Color: an absolutely perfect garnet red – a wonderful color for Sangiovese.

Aroma: fresh and dried cherries, with just a hint of orange peel and bitter orange marmalade; so far this is shaping up to be a textbook Sangiovese.

Taste: cherry, dried cherry, a touch of kirsch, and some nice, firm tannins on the finish. This needs about 15 minutes to really open up – the acidity is a bit much at first, but it mellow out with just a little time. This would be nice with a slow-simmered tomato sauce dish like osso bucco, lamb shanks, or meatballs left simmering on the back of the stove for the afternoon.

This is recommended – Tuscany is the one region of Italy where I’ve not found many good selections from Trader Joe’s, but this one is a solid, everyday wine that punches above its weight.

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