Italian wine: Cantina Vignaioli Wines of the Maremma

Feb 17, 2024 735

This month, I’m highlighting the Maremma wine region, often overshadowed by its neighboring wine regions to the north. Located in southern Tuscany, the Maremma is a stretch of territory between Pisa and Livorno from the north down to the northern part of the Lazio region.

Let's learn all about the Maremma including some wines from a cooperative, Cantina Vignaioli Scansano.

The wine region of the Maremma

Although you will find wine produced all throughout the Maremma, its main focal point is the central zone within the Grosseto province. Maremma stems from Marittima due to its proximity to the sea. What used to be an area of poverty and swamplands has become a landscape with an untouched countryside. From the coast to the inland the land is filled with gentle hills containing sheep, vineyards, olive groves and wheat crop with dotted hilltop villages like Scansano that we're highlighting today.  

The Maremma has the influences of Monte Amiata to its east and the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west. You'll find a Mediterranean climate on its coast with a more continental climate inland. Areas with higher altitudes face colder winters.

Today I am focusing on the area of Scansano, one of the known places for wine production in the Maremma. Italy is comprised of a number of cooperatives from north to south that are producing quality wines including today’s feature on Cantina Vignaioli Scansano. 

The winery – Cantina Vignaioli Scansano

Cantina Vignaioli is located near the historic center of Scansano. Although the coop began from a few farmers banding together to form the winery, the Etruscans had first realized the potential of this area when they began producing wines there in the 3rd century BC followed by the Romans. Cantina Cooperativa Vignaioli del Morellino di Scansano, the officilal name, started in 1972. Some years later in 1978, this area was granted the designation Morellino di Scansano DOC. The winery continued to invest in their quality production and as popularity grew for the wines of Maremma a new bottling plant was built to increase their production along with providing an aging cellar.

In 2010 the winery focused on sustainability and limiting their environmental impact and carbon footprint. Over the years they have received a number of certifications to include the Carbon Footprint certification, VIVA Sustainable Wine certification and PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) from the European Union that certifies their efforts and process throughout the entire supply chain.

Today Cantina Vignaioli produces over 5 million bottles with 2.3 million bottles of that production labeled under the upgraded Morellino di Scansano DOCG that took place in 2007. This represents 20% of the production under the DOCG designation. The coop is comprised over 170 families and members that represent about 1,730 acres averaging about 7.5 acres per family.

The wines

My preferred wine of the 3 I tasted from Cantina Vignaioli Scansano was the 2020 Cantina Vignaioli Roggiano Morellino di Scansano DOCG. Again, it's all about personal preference here, but I enjoyed them all in their own right. This wine is made of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Alicante and comes from their line that they best feel represents their territory. The grapes are harvested and preserved with carbonic snow and spend 12 hours in hot macerations. In controlled temperatures the wine is fermented and spends 7 days on the skins with 4 months aging on the lees in stainless steel and 3 more months in the bottle.

The wine was ruby colored with a touch of garnet. A rustic, dusty nose of red cherries and blackberries. Dry and medium-bodied with a pure, clean expression of Sangiovese. Cherry notes with elegant tannin. A wine where all the elements seemed to be in harmony. ABV 14%. SRP $24

The other wine, the 2021 Cantina Vignaioli Sangiovese "Vin del Fattore" Maremma Toscana DOC, was also based on 95% Sangiovese with 5% of Cieligiolo. I was intrigued by the term "governo all'uso toscano" found on the label , which as you read earlier was a ancient technique used during vinification where in this wine the Sangiovese grapes withered in refrigeration until they lost 15% of their weight. The Ciliegioli grapes withered for 4 weeks. After fermentation the grapes are blended and spend 3 months in stainless steel tanks on the lees.

Ruby colored with slight purple hues. Juicy, ripe aromas of ripe blackberries and cherries with baking spices. Dry and medium-bodied with moderate tannin. Richer in dark berries on the palette. ABV 14.5%

The NV Cantina Vignaioli Scansano "San Rabano" Vermentino Maremma Toscana DOC Brut is made of 85% Vermentino and 15% Chardonnay. The grapes were harvestedd and preserved in carbonic snow. The Vermentino was fermented in stainless steel and the Chardonnay in barrique. It was matured on the lees for 6 months and then blended and went through secondary fermentation for 5 months. It was further refined for 6 months after the beginning of the secondary fermentation.

This wine was brilliant straw colored with a floral nose of apples and some stone fruit. Nice crispness on the palate with a touch of sapidity. Lemon and apple notes. Good body and the Chardonnay helps add some roundness. Fine and persistent bubbles throughout. ABV 12%

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