Like most parts of Tuscany, the Maremma has a strong wine culture andcultivates some of the region’s best up-and- coming wines and one serious contender to the Chianti’s reign. The latter is the Morellino di Scansano and it’s our only DOCG or protected and controlled origin wine and it’s a red. The Maremma is famous for her reds, but she holds her own when it comes to whites too.
Whether you’re living in the area or travelling through our neck of the woods this summer, there is no better time to stop at a local vineyard. We have hundreds of them. Some of big bad world players, but most are small family-owed operations that have been producing wine from their humble rows of vines for generations.
Naturally you can visit most of these vineyards any time of the year. Most arrange tasting sessions. In September, you can witness and sometimes participate in the vendemmia or the annual grape harvest. Later in the season (around October and November), you can taste the vino novello or new wine.
It’s light, fruity and a perfect aperitif because it hasn’t developed a strong alcohol content yet. Vino novello is almost impossible to buy, so you have to either be at a vineyard at the right time or check out one of the local festivals.
Here are our favourite local vineyards:
Castiglione della Pescaia
I don’t care if they’re probably the biggest wine making family in Italy, I love Antinori’s vineyard in Castiglione della Pescaia. I want to live there. It’s gorgeous and has this breathtaking spiral staircase running through the cellar.
Plus the Antinori family says it can trace its lineage back to the siege of Troy, which is mind blowing. I can’t even figure out who my great grandparents were!
The great thing about Le Mortelle is that it’s a beautiful vineyard that’s really easy to visit and turn into a fantastic day trip. They have an organic orchard and sell bio jams and honey. You can go on a tour and then dine at the cafe or sit on the porch and just take in the view.
This vineyard stands out because it concentrates on white wines when everyone around them does reds… and thinks they’re nuts. The standout bottle is the Enos – a fruity and dry white wine that goes well with almost everything. They also make a sparkling wine.
The vineyard is set beautifully on the Tuscan hills and has a great new tasting room and very chic cellar. Tastings are available on request and everyone speaks English.
Fattoria La Maliosa
Fattoria La Maliosa always gets a mention because it’s one of the few true biodynamic and organic vineyards in the Maremma. Its wines are so unusual.
They taste homemade and are grown without chemicals, picked by hand and turned into wine without sulphates or any other helping hands. Fattoria La Maliosa is a small operation, so they don’t do regular tastings sessions. You need to organise in advance. The vineyard sits behind the Saturnia hot springs and has lovely views of the surrounding towns.
Another big player, Terenzi is a local success story. The family-owned vineyard has being making waves internationally because it produces Morellino di Scansano in its heartland. This red wine is a little like a punch in the stomach. It’s very strong. It has to be to stand up to the wild boar dishes and rich vegetable soups that define Maremman cooking.
Terenzi has tasting sessions everyday (except Wednesdays in winter) from 12pm to 3pm, but they also have a fantastic selection of other tasting packages with varying types of accompaniments. They can even do a dinner with wine pairings.