Just when I thought I was beginning to figure out Italian wines and especially Tuscan reds, along came this fantastic little find from Morellino di Scansano. This little known region (well at least for me) is in Southwest Tuscany. South and west of better know regions for Sangiovese like Chianti Classico, Montalcino, and Montepulciano and a little east of the better know parts of the coastal region of Maremma, known for its Super Tuscans which generally include more Cabernet and Merlot than Sangiovese, the Morellino di Scansano region makes wines that are primarily Sangiovese. In fact, the DOCG requires that all reds from the region must have at least 85% Sangiovese, which is more than the 80% that Chianti Classico or the 75% that Chianti requires. A relatively young region, Morello di Scansano achieved DOC status in 1978 with 10 producers, and they were given DOCG status in 2007. Today there are over 200 producers in this region which seems to be a well kept secret.
The land itself has quite a bit of variety as you move throughout the region. In the west, where you get relatively close to the sea, elevations are as low as 30 feet above seal level, and as you move east you will see vines planted in vineyards as high as 1500 feet. Soils also vary throughout the region and are often a mix of limestone, sandstone, rock or clay.
The Tempo Morellino di Scansano 2008, which is produced by Terre di Talamo is produced from vineyards near the coast that have rock, limestone, and sandstone on the surface with a layer of clay lower down that helps the vines survive the hot, dry summers. In your glass, the wine is garnet red in color. The nose is dominated by cherry fruit but has some undertones of cedar as well as some bell pepper. In your mouth, you get cherry, sour cherry, and red currant with very mild tannins. The very nice, balanced acidity helps this wine to linger quietly on your palate for quite some time. Overall, this is a very pleasant wine, that is well worth the $15.99 price that I paid for it.
Pair this with traditional Italian fare. Pasta with meatballs or sausage, grilled red meats, or even Osso Bucco would be delicious with this nice little find from Morellino di Scansano.