Exploring the Maremma: Morellino di Scansano

In this post, we’ll continue at taking a closer look at the Tuscan Maremma. Earlier this week, the subject was Bulichella Winery which is located just outside the medieval town Suvereto on the Etruscan coast. Suvereto is one of the many wine-producing towns in the Maremma just like Scansano which is the topic of today’s article.

Scansano is about a 90 minute drive from Suvereto and is also of medieval origin. While in Suvereto, Cabernet and Merlot are of equal importance as Sangiovese, the situation in Scansano is completely different: Here in the Southern End of the Tuscan Maremma which is known as Maremma Grossetana, named after the city of Grosseto, it is all about Sangiovese or Morellino as the locals like to call it.


Map of the Maremma. The Maremma Grossetana is shown in yellow.

The area around Scansano and Grosseto used tobe marshy and in fact the word Maremma derives from the Spanish word for marsh, marisma. The first who tried to drain the marsh where the Etruscans, followed by the Romans but it was only in the 1930s that the marsh was drained. Nowadays, the Maremma is highly fertile and the land is used to grow crops, olives and vines. When it comes to wine, then Sangiovese turned out to produce the best results.

But Tuscany would not be Tuscany if the locals would just call it Sangiovese. In Montalcino, this iconic grape goes by the name Brunello, in Montepulciano by Prugnolo Gentile and in Scansano they call it Morellino. Sangiovese has many more synonyms so it can be difficult to keep track of them. On the French island of Corsica, Sangiovese is called Nielluccio.

The name Morellino derives from the Italian word morello which means the dark one.

View of Scansano. Photo by LigaDue. License: CC BY 3.0

View of Scansano. Photo by LigaDue. License: CC BY 3.0

Morellino di Scansano

Morellino proved to be so successful that in 1978 the grape received its own DOC appellation – Morellino di Scansano DOC. The viticulture zone covers a square area of about 25 kilometers. The tight regulations require the wines to be produced with a minimum of 85% Sangiovese but a lot of wineries prefer 100% Sangiovese.

Morellino di Scansano Riserva wines are required to mature for a minimum of two years. In 2006, Morellino di Scansano was awarded DOCG status. The appellation is exclusive to red wines.

There are numerous wineries in the Maremma which produce Morellino di Scansano wines – many of these wines offer great value for money, especially in comparison with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino.

There are a few wineries which I want to point out and recommend (in no particular order).

  1. Jacopo Biondi-Santi
    This is one of the more well-known Morellino di Scansano producers.
  2. Fattoria Le Pupille
    Poggio Valente is a must-try.
  3. Azienda Agricola Alberese
    Small winery located in the heart of the Maremma Grossetana. I love their Barbicato.
  4. La Mozza
    I Perazzi is a solid and reasonably priced Morellino di Scansano.
  5. Tenute Loacker 
    Loacker produces a basic Morellino di Scansano and a very good Morellino di Scansano Riserva. Tasting notes for the Riserva are found below.

2007 Tenute Loacker – Valdifalco Riserva

Tenute Loacker produces two Morellino di Scansano wines which are both called Valdifalco. The ‘basic’ Valdifalco has a red label, whereas the Valdifalco Riserva has a grey label.

Valdifalco Riserva is a blend of Sangiovese with small amounts of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Maturation takes place for 12-18 months in oak barrels.

 Prior to drinking, the wine was decanted for about one hour. It kept evolving further in the glass.

2007 Tenute Loacker Valdifalco Riserva Morellino di Scansano DOCGValdifalco Riserva had a ruby red color with garnet red nuances in the glass. The nose was highly aromatic with a heavy aroma of cherry marmalade, some dried plums, a bit of vanilla and cinnamon.

Dry and warm on the palate. Valdifalco Riserva is full-bodied and has silky tannins. Eight years after the vintage there is still a lot of life left in this Morellino di Scansano. Balanced acidity and overall very harmonious. Notes of red cherries, espresso, forest berries and lots of dark chocolate.  Wonderful finish.

4 / 5 stars      

This is a highly recommend Morellino di Scansano Riserva. I purchased it many years ago and am not too sure about the retail price but I believe it cost around €18.

Valdifalco Riserva paired excellent with Spanish chorizo in red wine sauce and kidney beans. Unfortunately, this was my last bottle of ’07 Valdifalco Riserva and it seems to be find this wine these days which is quite a shame. Other Tenute Loacker wines are easily accessible here in Munich but not so Valdifalco Riserva.

Parting Words

The Tuscan Maremma is full of wonderful wines – from Suvereto in the north to Scansano in the south. Valdifalco Riserva from Tenute Loacker is just one of many stunning reds which call this beautiful region their home.

Do you like Maremma wines? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Maremma, Morellino di Scansano and Suvereto.


4 comments on “Exploring the Maremma: Morellino di Scansano”

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      The Maremma is a wonderful region with a beautiful landscape, friendly people, stunning wines and delicious food. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Carol! The Maremma, like pretty much all of Italy, offers great diversity when it comes to food and wine 🙂 Cheers!

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