Bullz-Eye Home
The Opposite Sex
Stuff to Buy
Guides & Reviews
Movie DVDs
City Guide
Web Guide
Premium Members

Join  Enter

Cool Links

All Pro Models
Premium Hollywood
EatSleepDrink Music
Sports Blog
Cleveland Sports
Political Humor

Wine Reviews: Review of Morellino di Scansano
by: Vino Joe (e-mail
Pg 1 of 1

Sponsor Links

Bachelor Party
Spring Break

Tuscany's Best-Kept Secret: Morellino di Scansano

You may never have had a Morellino di Scansano (maw-reh-LEE-noh dee skahn-SAH-noh), but if you're a fan of Chianti, this is a wine you should try. Morellino is a grape that is technically a strain of Sanvgiovese (call it a "kissing cousin"), which is the main grape in Chianti. Chianti is a wine area inside the Italian region of Tuscany; Scansano is a village situated on a mountain ridge in the heart of Maremma, which is an area in the southernmost part of Tuscany -- way, way south of Chianti, south of Montalcino, and about 20 miles east of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Its hot weather, valley views, and proximity to the coast and beaches make it more famous to tourists as a vacation spot than wine country. However, those same factors make it an ideal place for vineyards, and there's no doubt that serious wines are coming out of this popular summer getaway.

Interesting wines begin with grapes. Long, hot growing seasons (such as those that occur in Scansano) allow grapes to fully ripen with high sugar levels and in turn produce wines rich in fruit and solid in structure. In other words: the hotter, the better. When you consider that very good wines come from Chianti in the north of Tuscany, and deeper, richer wines come from the more southern town of Montalcino, you can begin to understand the potential of vines grown in Scansano -- the deep, deep south. And the potential is already beginning to be realized, as some of the top Chianti and "Super Tuscan" producers are buying into the area with plans to bottle the next great cult wines.

Until that time, Morellino di Scansano wines stand out as a tremendous value. Take for example "Vivaio del Barbi," which is produced by the Fattoria dei Barbi winery. The 1999 vintage has an expressive, attractive nose with black cherry, plum and black fruit aromas, along with a definite vegetal element (green peppers?) and some earthy hints. On the palate you immediately taste rich, ripe black cherry and berry flavors that blend into a pleasant tartness. Tannins are soft at first, then firm up in the lengthy, balanced finish, which exudes ample acidity and a final punch of black fruit. To REALLY enjoy this wine, pour out an extra glass and set it aside for a half hour or so while you're drinking the first. Giving the wine a chance to "breathe" will bring out even deeper, more earthy aromas and a complex, delicious array of flavors. This little trick will give you a wine that compares favorably to an expensive "Super Tuscan," at about one-half or one-third the price! I matched this wine successfully with a simple plate of pasta and sausage in marinara sauce. The wine's firm acidity and rich cherry fruit meld perfectly with this and a variety of other dishes.

Since Morellino di Scansano is Tuscany's best-kept secret, it may be difficult to find in places other than top wine shops (don't look for it in gas stations or places where beer and plastic-bottled vodka take up most of the floor space). The benefit of this is that when you do find a Morellino, it's bound to be of good quality; importers can't make money on wines that are both unknown and of low quality. This example from the Barbi winery is a great find, but if you don't see it, you can rely on labels that say Erik Banti, Le Pupille or Moris Farms. And expect to pay -- hold your seat -- about 12 to 17 bucks, which is a downright outrageous value.

Send any questions, comments or wine stories to

For even more info on wine, visit our Vices Web Guide!

More Wine Columns from Vino Joe

<<< Previous Article   Next Article >>> : Feedback - Link to Us  - About B-E - FAQ - Advertise with Us

© 2000-2005®, All Rights Reserved. Contact the webmaster with questions or comments. Privacy Policy and Site Map