Discovering Maremma through the historic Castello di Montepò

Running from Bolgheri to Lazio, extending throughout the southern Province of Grosseto, Maremma’s a wild and extended land that has now proven to be an immensely promising wine region. As unknown as it may be, for now, the region’s reputation actually used to be even worse. If we go back 20 years, people were saying that it was impossible to produce good wine in the Maremma and we go even further back in history, these gorgeous lands were mostly known as a coastal wilderness boasting a high incidence of malaria, not winemaking. The change in perception and reputation couldn’t have been more drastic. Today, not only has the region been recognized for the quality of its production, the unique character of its Sangiovese’s expression, but also as a sunny destination. Previously, wineries would just use the juice from Maremma for other bottlings in Tuscany. Now the wines have their own claim to prestige.

The flexibility of Maremma’s wine regulations makes it stand apart from Tuscany’s other big names. The region is becoming an experimental playground for producers in search of new promising lands or experimentation. Investors and Tuscan big wine brands and names have been attracted by affordable land, inexpensive production costs, and a warm maritime climate that can ensure good grape quality as well as the presence of great galestro soils and infinite possibilities. Here, the producers are hungry to push the limit, they have something to prove to the world and it makes them genuinely invested. To highlight the characteristics of this area, a new denomination MaremmaToscana DOC has been established, proudly bearing the name of the region. In 2011 it was added to the list of 39 PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) wines in the region of Tuscany. The DOCG in this region of Maremma is Morellino di Scansano, which roughly translates as the Sangiovese of Scansano–the nearby village. The wines from this appellation must contain 85% Sangiovese and to be labeled a ‘riserva’ the wine must have spent at least one year aged in a barrel.

Playful, pleasing, and sunny, the wines of Maremma are wildly popular and still a nice value.

Castello di Montepò

One of the rising stars of the region, Jacopo Biondi Santi & Tancredi Biondi Santi are writing a new chapter in their family’s history of winemaking excellence. Joining together their own heritage, their savoir-faire, and their own Sangiovese Grosso famous clone “BBS11”, they started a new venture in the rich lands of Maremma by founding Castello di Montepò in the 1990s. The decision to purchase that land was based primarily on its richness and diversity of soil types—of which there are 17. At the time of purchase, the land was used primarily for planting grain and included a few acres (about one hectare) of grapevines, as well as 900 sheep. The winery is housed in the castle Montepò itself, a single fortress building dating back to the 11th century set on a rocky outcrop surrounded by woods and vines. It was once a surveillance and defense castle whose tactical geographic position offered both surveillance from the coast and the land.

The estate’s 50 hectares of vineyards are exclusively dedicated to 3 varieties: (30%) Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot and (70%) their own unique and precious clone: Sangiovese Grosso BBS11. The estate produces different labels, all holding a very strong Tuscan charm. Among the different wines, the “Sassoalloro” elegantly interprets the Sangiovese, offering a taste that is both full-bodied and elegant. Production also includes Schidione, a super-tuscan combining sangiovese, cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. With a bold personality, strength, and pampered structure, Schidione shows amazing aging potential. The latest addition the portfolio is the Tuscan rosé “JeT” which is the epitome of quality rosé with rich and fragrant aromas and perfectly striking acidity