Lionello Marchesi

Modellino di Scansano 2015
Tuscany, Italy $14.99

For many, Sangiovese and Tuscany are practically synonymous. But, while Chianti and Brunello immediately spring to mind, the less familiar Morellino di Scansano offers equally enjoyable wines by another name.

The 2015 Maremma Toscana Poggio alla Sughere (90% Sangiovese  and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon) is a meaty and succulent red wine that reflects the warmth of the golden sunshine that washes over the Tuscan Coast. There is plenty of dark fruit with blackberry confit and cherry marmalade, especially in this toasty vintage. The wine is soft in texture with pretty layers of spice and dark chocolate. This is a great value wine that speaks of place.  This has your favorite meatball recipe written all over it.

Situated in the Maremma province, in the southernmost part of Tuscany, the Morellino territory is nearly halfway between Rome and Florence and centered in the village of Scansano. The vast area includes almost 145,000 acres; however, only 3,705 planted acres (approximately 2%) are registered for the production of this wine, often resulting in long distances between one producer and another.
Unlike Chianti Classico, which boasts a lengthy history, Morellino di Scansano has a much shorter tenure although winemaking in the area dates to the Etruscans in the fifth century.
As the Roman Empire declined, the region was essentially abandoned and became a swampy marshland. Thus, the few remaining inhabitants practiced viticulture solely for personal consumption. In fact, the area was unsuitable for much other than harboring malaria-carrying mosquitos until it was drained by Mussolini during the 1930s. As such, the wealthy residents of nearby Grosseto would flock to the elevated town of Scansano in summer for relief from the heat and illness.