Along with Piemonte, Toscana is the most significant region of Italy in terms of quality wine. The Tuscan hero, the Sangiovese grape variety, is a dark-berried vine which is virtually synonymous with the great red wines of Toscana and all the romanticism that goes with the territory.
In the south-western coastal area of Toscana, called Maremma, the Sangiovese grape is called Morellino, a diminutive form of morello, which means ‘dark’. The name translates, then, as ‘little dark one’, an etymology almost identical to another of Sangiovese’s many synonyms, the world-famous Brunello from Montalcino.
The Erik Banti winery is located in Scansano, renowned for its wine as long ago as the early 1800s when the Napoleonic army decided to make a garrison there for the troops marching to Rome, which was then governed by the Vatican. Here, the owner put a cork in his first bottle of Morellino in 1981. At the time Morellino di Scansano was a new and relatively unknown DOC and it was only consumed in damigiane (56-litre demijohn) by tourists visiting the splendid Maremma coastline. The first awards came very soon and the excellence of the Scansano grape had been established.
A blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Alicante and 5% Ciliegiolo, the Ciabatta wine has a beautiful bright ruby colour and an intense and persistent aroma, with hints of walnut husks and morello cherries. The passage in barrels leaves a pleasant vanilla undertone. The palate is dry, tangy and balanced, with a persistent, long finish.
Aged for about a year in stainless steel vats and for 13 months in barriques and medium-sized Slavonian oak barrels.
It pairs with roasted or grilled meat, game and wild boar in particular, as well as traditional Maremma dishes like stew and mature cheeses.
Best served at 16-18 °C.
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