Wines of the Maremma

by Eva Stelzer

While Tuscany’s Chianti wines have enjoyed world fame, vino from the Maremma is starting to get noticed. (IT)

The vineyards resemble California’s rolling vineyard hills in Napa Valley, the microclimate similar to that of Sicily. This results in a wine with softer tannins. Morellino di Scansano is the region’s most produced red, but Maremma’s wine country profile may shift within a few short decades due to an influx of Chianti investors.

Created in 1997 is the Petra Winery in the heart of the Maremma near the village of Survereto on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is well worth a visit to not only taste their Ebo, Petra, Quercegobbe and Zingari wines, but also to admire the winery’s building design created by Swiss architect Mario Botta, also designer of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The Petra Alto Sangiovese is a medium-bodied, fruit-flavoured wine that pairs well with cold meats. According to wine critic Antonio Galloni, the Petra Alto Sangiovese is an intense wine with flavourful properties.

Known as “the Lady of Morellino” and “the Ambassador of Maremma,” Elisabetta Geppetti recently opened the doors of Fattoria Le Pupille Winery for wine tastings. Her entrepreneurial spirit helped her create an excellent winery from lands that once grew not grapevines, but cork oaks, wheat and woodlands. The vineyard has 75 hectares of vines and produces over 500,000 bottles every year. The Saffredi 2012 and many other Le Pupille wines are available online.

In the south is the exceptional though lesser-known appellation of Morellino di Scansano. Morellino is the name of a local clone of Sangiovese, and the wines are produced with some of the riper versions of the grape. According to the Montreal Gazette columnist Bill Zacharkiw, it’s Sangiovese for those who find wines like Chianti a little too earthy and acidic. While the undulating scenery of better-known areas like Chianti bring tourists out in droves, oenophiles shouldn’t overlook the Maremma.