The wines of Carmignano DOCG
Carmignano, named for the commune in the province of Prato, is located to the west of Florence. This appellation is noteworthy for several reasons, one being that it is among the oldest wine producing districts in Tuscany, with documents recording such production as far back as the 9th century.
The wine today, as befitting the region, is primarily Sangiovese, but Cabernet – whether Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc – is a requirement in the blend, from 10% to 20%.
Given the requirement of Cabernet in Carmignano, the wine has more tannin than a typical Chianti from the local zone – Chianti Montalbano is also produced in this area – so you could say that Carmignano was the original Super Tuscan, though these are far more reasonably priced wines.
While the riserva offerings of Carmignano are naturally the most complex and ageworthy examples, most producers here also make a lighter, more approachable wine known as Barco Reale, one of Tuscany’s most charming reds. Carmignano producers to look for include Capezzana, Ambra, La Piaggia and Le Ginestre.
The wines of Morellino di Scansano DOCG
Along the coast in southwestern Tuscany, in the province of Grosseto – this is the southern reach of the Maremma - Morellino di Scansano DOCG is another fine value red wine. Sangiovese, known locally as morellino, is the principal grape, with a minimum of 85% required. Other grape varieties that are used include indigenous ones such as Canaiolo or Ciliegiolo, while international varieties such as Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are often incorporated. Various examples, ranging from ready to drink upon release, to riservas, capable of more than a decade of cellaring, are produced.
Morellino di Scansano wines have a lovely freshness and impressive structure. Highly regarded producers include Fattoria Le Pupille, Podere 414, Moris Farms and Poggio Argentiera (this last estate is also worth noting for its Toscana Rosso IGT wines, including “Podereadua,” a 100% Syrah, and “Poggioraso,” made exclusively from Cabernet Franc).
The wines of Montecucco
In Grosseto province, situated between Scansano and Montalcino, Montecucco is a small district with several wine styles. A Montecucco Rosso DOC must contain a minimum of 60% Sangiovese, while a wine labeled Montecucco Sangiovese DOCG has a minimum requirement of 90% Sangiovese.
Again, various styles from medium-bodied to robust are produced, and as the wine district is literally between the seaside locale of Scansano and the inland, forested spaces of Montalcino, so too the wine offers some of the power of the latter, with a bit of the nuances of the former. Producers worth seeking out include Basile, Salustri and ColleMassari.
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