Morellino di Scansano

A Sangiovese Secret

Some General Impressions

Texture:  I noticed a repeated smooth or silky texture in the wines, a characteristic often associated with wood contact during aging. But in most cases these wines had only seen contact with stainless steel. This, apparently, is a characteristic of the growing region.

Dried Herb Notes: There were a lot of underbrush/dried herb/aromatic wood notes that I personally love to see in Sangiovese-based wines.

Red and black cherry fruit: Classic Sangiovese fruit, with varying styles of cherry flavors and aromas, and excellent acidity, is ubiquitous here, as you will see in my notes.

Quality / Consistency:  Tasting through more than a dozen different wines, I found almost every one of them worth drinking again, or sharing with friends; that says a lot.

Tasting Notes

2007 Mantellassi "Le Sentinelle" Riserva, Morellino di Scansano

Rich earth and mushroom notes at first, giving way to lovely dried herbs and dried red cherry skins. On the palate, elegant black and red cherry, with more dried herbs, black pepper (only on the palate), and a suggestion of tomato. Well-balanced, with an interesting charred wood bite in the acidity, and very fine grained, dusty tannins. There is a persistent finish, with good length, more dried herbs, some aromatic wood, and lean blackberry. The Le Sentinelle is an excellent wine; a nice combination of masculinity and elegance. This is Mantellassi's top of the line Morellino di Scansano, from a single 2.5 hectare vineyard, and aged for 20 months in French oak. Typically, its composition is 85% Sangiovese and 15% Alicante. This well-made, serious wine can be found for around $20. 91 Points

2010 Mantellassi  "Mentore"  Morellino di Scansano $14

Lean black cherry and brambles on the nose with a hint of funkiness. There's a subtle richness at the core of the nose as well, with a sort of crème brulée note and some Asian spice. The suggestion of vanilla is surprising here, since this wine sees no oak in its elevage. The palate has mouthwatering acidity, subdued tannins, sage, and some coffee. The composition is 85% Sangiovese, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Canaiolo Nero making up the balance. 89 Points

2009 La Selva "Colli del Uccellina" Morellino di Scansano $20

Starts off with good depth of fruit on the nose, showing ripe black cherry, lovely perfume notes, sweet aromatics, and some vanilla. Very solid and focused at first. The palate  is smooth in texture, with moderate acidity and limited tannins. There is black cherry again on the palate, with a hint of grilled meat, and a brief finish. Sadly, the initially beautiful  nose faded significantly after being open for an hour or so. Persistent heat on the finish. 87 Points

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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: joeytheg
    1018088 4

    why don't you have print options (no ads, etc) for your articles? you got FB and tweet and lots of bs, but no simple "print".

    May 03, 2013 at 4:23 PM

  • If you right click, you'll see a Print function which gives you the article without advertising

    May 03, 2013 at 8:17 PM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 5,565

    Bob, I had never heard of Morellino di Scansano. So, thank you very much for the informative article.

    Now the question is, "Can I find in in retail stores out here in the remote provinces?"

    May 03, 2013 at 8:33 PM

  • Snooth User: vino in love
    Hand of Snooth
    1184516 339

    Morellino di Scansano is a hit and miss. Some flops but also some very good wines.
    In general, the Maremma is home to outstanding wines..

    May 03, 2013 at 9:52 PM

  • Snooth User: Bob Fyke
    Hand of Snooth
    141389 42,298

    Mark, I will see what I can find out for you and get back. We are speaking of Canada here, correct?

    May 04, 2013 at 7:50 AM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 5,565

    Sorry Bob. You don't know me. You have to take 95% of my comments with a very large grain of salt.

    I'm in California--specifically, the east side of Los Angeles County. So, the fact of the matter is I do have access to multiple retailers--both high-volume multi-location companies and also, higher-end wine-specific providers. I had just never heard of Morellino di Scansano, and, so, I, obviously, do not ever recall seeing it in the stores that I frequent. Let me try harder.

    One of the reasons I hang out a lot here at Snooth is to learn. Your article proves that I have a lot to learn, and Snooth is a great learning facility.

    May 04, 2013 at 3:58 PM

  • Snooth User: Bob Fyke
    Hand of Snooth
    141389 42,298

    LOL Mark. I read "remote provinces", and flashed right back to a drive I did from New York to Alaska, via Canada, and ruled out any possibility of simile. Funny. Just in case someone is wondering, Morellino di Scansano is fairly well distributed in Canada.

    I'm not surprised you had not heard of it before, it seems to fly under the radar. That really was part of my motivation for writing this article. In California, try Total wines, they carry a number of Morellinos, including some of the wines I reviewed in the article. Thanks for the comment about learning here at Snooth and about my article. We will always have a lot to learn about wine; it never stops. That's one of the things that's so great about it.

    May 04, 2013 at 10:40 PM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 5,565

    Thanks, Bob. There is a Total Wine store that is convenient to me. The last time I was there, about 10 days ago, I did pick up some Italian wines, but, like I say, do not recall seeing this. The next time I go there, I'll specifically look for it.

    May 05, 2013 at 10:29 AM

  • Snooth User: Mart P
    Hand of Snooth
    161710 25

    Bob - I am on my way to visit the Maremma area and Scansano in particular. Thanks much for the article and reviews. The first comment (from joeytheg) reflects my own thoughts as well. A right click allows me to print the page view with ads and comments but I can't find a way to print out the entire article and just the article.

    Any suggestions for a winery visit?, an experience not to be missed?, special people to meet? I live in the Langhe Roero area in Piemonte and would be happy to return the favor if you can provide some local insights.

    Thanks in advance.

    Dec 01, 2013 at 9:05 AM

  • Snooth User: Bob Fyke
    Hand of Snooth
    141389 42,298

    Hi Mark. Thanks so much for your interest. Regarding the inability to print articles, I feel your pain. I am not part of the technical team at Snooth, but I will absolutely pass your inquiry on to them. I agree that it would make the articles more useful to everyone if they could be easily printed in full.
    Regarding recommendations, I am working with representatives of the Consorzio and waiting for their reply. Drop me an e mail, and I will send you our recommendations, etc. Have fun!

    Dec 03, 2013 at 8:39 PM

  • Snooth User: Bob Fyke
    Hand of Snooth
    141389 42,298

    For anyone visiting, here are some great recommendations from a friend in the Morellino di Scansano area:

    Concerning wineries, there’s a good number of them than you can actually visit and a have a wine taste:
    Fattoria Mantellassi, Fattoria le Pupille, Tenuta Ammiraglia, Cantina Cooperativa, among those considered “big”.
    Amongst the “medium” and “family” wineries, Terenzi, Massi di Mandorlaia, Santa Lucia, Provveditore, Fattoria di Magliano, Col di Bacche, Poggio Argentiera, Podere 414, La Selva, Roccapesta, just to name a few of them. You can contact the Consorzio for a map of the area with a (nearly) complete list of Morellino di Scansano wineries, description and contacts.

    Concerning other places of interest, I would suggest a bath at the Saturnia thermal spring, any time of the year, and, in summer of course, a dive in the nearby sea, in places such as Talamone, Ansedonia, Castiglion della Pescaia.

    A walk through the “Vie Cave”, an impressive road network linking an Etruscan necropolis and various settlements in the area between Sovana and Pitigliano, consisting of trenches excavated as cliffs in tuff.

    A visit at Pitigliano and Sovana, cities completely built on tuff.
    Also a hike at the National Natural Park of Alberese, aka Parco dell’Uccellina, could be interesting, with plenty of wildlife, beaches, and good local products at the Agricola Alberese (also Morellino producer).

    Then comes the food stuff. Some good traditional restaurants: La Cantina (Scansano), Verdiana (Montemerano), I due Cippi (Saturnia); if in search of Michelin stars you can grab them at the restaurant inside the “Terme di Saturnia” (Saturnia), da Caino (Montemerano), il Pellicano (Porto Ercole).

    Dec 05, 2013 at 4:00 PM

  • Snooth User: Mart P
    Hand of Snooth
    161710 25

    I would definitely add a visit to Sassotondo, just outside of Pitigliano to the list of To Do's. Carla and Edoardo are off the beaten track and a call ahead of time to make arrangements is advised, but it is inspiring what they have developed over the past several years. 'Organic' may or may not be fully applicable (I'm not sure) but they pay a lot of attention to helping nature do its best work - 'biodynamic'. The San Lorenzo Ciliegiolo 2010 nearly brought tears to my eyes at first whiff. The Ciliegiolo 'base' is also a great wine and at a price that makes it accessible for everyday drinking. Carla has clearly found her calling. That visit was the highlight of our trip to the Maremma.

    Jan 03, 2014 at 10:59 AM

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