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