Morellino di Scansano DOCG – A hidden gem of Tuscany

Press trip: Studio Cru / Cantina Vignaioli del Morellino di Scansano

At the beginning of June, the PR agency Studio Cru and the winery Cantina Vignaioli del Morellino di Scansano invited me together with a few other wine writers to get to know the Maremma region of Tuscany and the wines of Cantina Vignaioli del Morellino di Scansano. This was my first time visiting Tuscany.

Maremma, Tuscany (picture by Taru /Wine For You)

It was already really warm at the beginning of June, around 28 degrees during the day. As we drove towards Scansano from Rome airport, the scenery slowly started to change. For a while we could also watch the sea horizon from the window. Then numerous vineyards and olive groves, rolling mountains and roads lined with cypress trees began to appear. We had arrived in Maremma, Tuscany.

Tuscany – wine region

The Tuscany region is located on the west coast of central Italy. Northern Tuscany is the Chianti region, southern Tuscany is known for its Brunello di Montalcino wines. Our visit took place in the Tuscan coastal region, Maremma. The Maremma is a relatively flat region, stretching from Pisa and Livorno to northern Lazio. Maremma has a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters.

The sea brings a cooling breeze to the area. In the highest inland areas, such as Scansano, winters can be colder. The soil varies. The area has a peaceful rural atmosphere, where the landscape is alternately colored by wine and olive plantations and wheat fields. The green hills bring variety to the landscape.

Maremma (picture by Taru / Wine For You)

There are 11 DOCG wines in Tuscany. DOCG (Denominazione d’Origine Controllata e Garantita) are wines with a special quality classification. In addition, restrictions regarding geographical boundaries, grape varieties, production methods and grape varieties apply to wines. The main grape variety in the Tuscany region is Sangiovese.

Lunch with a view – Podere l’Ainone

Restaurant Podere l’Ainone (picture by Taru / Wine For You)
Podere l’Ainone (picture by Taru / Wine For You)

After arriving in Scansano, we had a delicious lunch at the Podere l’Ainone restaurant. We started with tomato pasta, with which we enjoyed Cantina Vignaioli Scansano’s Viognier & Chardonnay wine. Next, we tasted fried sea bass with roasted vegetables. Cantina Rosé was served with the sea bass. I think rosé is an excellent choice for fish. This rosé made from Sangiovese and Ciliegiolo grapes also had the right amount of acidity. The meal ended with a portion of fruit and, of course, espresso.

Fried sea bass and Cantina Rosé (picture by Taru / Wine For You)

Antico Casale Resort

Antico Casale Resort (picture by Taru / Wine For You)

We stayed two nights in Scansano, Antico Casale Resort. This place had a wonderfully peaceful and quiet atmosphere. The balconies of the rooms opened up a wonderful view of the hills far away. Our schedule was tight, but luckily I had time to take a quick dip in the hotel’s swimming pool, where you had to go down numerous and slightly steep stairs to get there. The hotel is not suitable for people with reduced mobility. The pool area is small, but it wasn’t crowded that day.

Getting to know the winery by e-bike

Cantina Vignaioli Morellino di Scansano has a total of 700 hectares of vineyards. We got to know the vineyards on electric bikes, which I think turned out to be a really good way. Most of us tried an electric bike for the first time (myself included), so it took some time with the bike’s adjustments. The terrain was challenging in some places, but traveling with the help of an electric bike did not prove to be overwhelming in the relatively hot afternoon.

The winery takes the environment and sustainability into account in its operations. In 2018, the farm was awarded the European Union’s PEF certificate. It is a comprehensive certificate that measures the environmental footprint of the entire supply chain in the vineyard to the disposal of packaging.

After cycling, we enjoyed dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, which served typical Tuscan flavors. With an aperitif, we enjoy crispy bread with tomato. Eggs with truffle was an excellent combination. A cheese cake with salted caramel ended the meal.

Visit to the winery and tasting

Cantina Vignaioli del Morellino di Scansano was founded in 1972. It was a cooperative of 19 wine grovers, whose activities slowly began to be guided by quality. In the 1980s, one of the members, Benedetto Grechi, became chairman of the winery. Over the years, the winery has developed its operations by making investments and investing in exports. Quality and minimization of environmental impacts have always been the focus of operations. Currently, the number of members is already 170. The winery is located a few hundred meters from Scansano’s duration.

Cantina Viganioli Morellino di Scansano (picture by Taru / Wine For You)

The winery produces a very wide selection of wines, mainly from traditional varieties. Sangiovese is a typical grape in the region, known as Morellino. Another grape used is called Ciliegilo, which derives its name from the word ciliegia, which means cherry. Vermentino is a pale grape variety that is used to make sparkling wine and white wine. In the region, the Alicante variety of French origin is also often used with Sangiovese.

At the tasting, we got to taste the red wines. All wines were united by very high acidity and also relatively rich tannins. These wines are excellent wines to combine with different dishes. My favorite was the organic Roggiano Morellino di Scansano DOCG 2018 made from Sangiovese.

This had a very fruity and floral aroma combined with spiciness like black pepper. Long aftertaste. My second favorite was the Sicomoro Morellino di Scansano DOCG Riserva 2015, made from Sangiovese grapes. The aroma has plenty of sweet cherry, forest berries and spiciness. A rich and full-bodied wine with oak aromas.

Sympathetic Pitigliano

Pitigliano (picture by Taru / Wine For You)

At the end of our trip, we got to know the small medieval town of Pitigliano with a local guide. Pitigliano is located about 300 meters above sea level and is carved into the local Tufo rock. Here you can escape the hot sun in the shade of narrow alleys and stone bridges.

Pitigliano is otherwise known as Little Jerusalem. It got its additional name from the Jewish communities that settled in the city in the 15th and 16th centuries. Many places sell special kosher foods. There is also a small synagogue in Pitigliano.

Pitigliano also makes wine from grapes grown in the municipal areas of the province of Grosseto. I also bought myself a bottle of local wine to bring home. In Pitigliano, it would have been nice to spend a longer time and sit down for a coffee in a small streetside cafe. Pitigliano is the perfect destination for those looking for a quiet and historical place.