Tag Archives: Sangiovese

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.


Drinking Tonight: 2 Sangiovese

Having a pizza tonight, and facing off two inexpensive Sangiovese bottlings from Trader Joe’s.

Vola Sangiovese (2012) Puglia, Italy, $4

Color: bright garnet red

Aroma: heavier, spicier than usual for a Sangiovese

Taste: the hotter climate in Puglia makes this wine denser in fruit, with less of the orange peel and spice.

I’m not sure I like the style. It was quite thin when first opened up but it put on some heft after 30 minutes.

Grifone 1967 (2009) Toscana, Italy, $8

Color: Purple-red

Aroma: Heady cherry, plum, and berry fruit, with some spiciness underneath.

Taste: quite lush; a little oak to integrate the fruity Cab and the more laid-back Sangiovese. More berry fruit, with oak and spice coming on in the mid-palate and a very well-balanced finish.

This is one of the original super-Tuscans, with 10% Cabernet and 5% Syrah to go with the Sangiovese.

Clear winner to the Grifone; I don’t think it’s worthwhile to save a few more dollars on the Vola, because the experience with the super-Tuscan is so much more pleasing.