Who has not fallen in love with Tuscany? Its history, food, wine, rolling hills and picturesque villages make it a destination for every wine lover. A relatively new and upcoming region within Tuscany that is garnering huge accolades and respect is Maremma Toscana. Maremma is an exciting region that is vast, wild and untouched.
Unique Terroir of Maremma
Based in the Grosetto province, Maremma is a paradise situated along the beautiful Tyrrhenian Coast from Livorno in the north to Lazio in the south. The interior parts of the regions range from the Metalliferous Hills to Mount Amiata. It is in these interiors that you find soft gentle hills that are ideally suited for vineyards. Maremma’s uniqueness is its varying terroirs from the mountains to the sea, with varied soil composition, coastal breezes and warm climate.
Maremma differentiates itself from its other Tuscan counterparts, here you find indigenous and foreign grape varieties. This unique region of Tuscany is no longer purely identified with Sangiovese grapes. Pioneering efforts in the early 1990’s lead to the cultivation of indigenous grape varieties like Ciliegiolo, Canaiolo Nero, Alicante, Sangiovese, Pugnitello, Aleatico, Vermentino, Trebbiano, Ansonica, Malvasia and Grechetto. Later it expanded to include foreign grape varieties such as the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Viognier, Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Petit Verdot. Maremma is the new frontier of Tuscany, with more relaxed rules you find wines that are innovative and expressive.
History Of Maremma
There is an incredibly long and rich history in Maremma. It was the Etruscans that introduced viticulture to the region. Its name is derived from the Spanish word marismas or “marsh”. The area was formerly a marshland that was first drained by the Etruscans, then the Romans and recently in the 1930s by Mussolini. It is the traditional home of cattle herders and home to a breed of cattle known as Maremmana.
Maremma has undergone a transformation, it was primarily made of marsh and swamplands. It was not until the mid 20th century that the land was reclaimed and vineyards were developed. There is a newfound exuberance and energy in Maremma. It is a place of innovation and experimentation, making for a range of styles of wines.
Maremma The New Frontier
Maremma is a young wine region, working to build the reputation it rightfully deserves. Considered the new frontier of Tuscany with more relaxed rules, you find wines that are avant-garde and expressive. This exciting region is attracting investments from new ambitious winemakers as well as many illustrious winemakers from other parts of the world. Investments here have been made by the Checchi family, Mazzei family, and Eric de Rothschild from Bordeaux to name just a few.
Tasting The Wines Of Maremma Toscana
I had the opportunity to taste a variety of styles and a range of wines from Maremma in New York City hosted by Consorzio Tutela Vini della Maremma Toscana. The focus of the tasting was on the indigenous varieties of the region, with the spotlight on Ciliegiolo, Alicante and Sangiovese. One of the highlights of the tasting was a comparison of Ciliegiolo. To taste and contrast six Ciliegiolo side by side was a rare treat.
Ciliegiolo is an obscure but charming grape variety that is often overshadowed by Sangiovese. It is one of Tuscany’s oldest varieties. Historically it has been used as a blending grape but interest in Ciliegiolo is on the rise, and in Maremma, it is produced as a single varietal wine that is big and structured. Ciligielo is a fun grape with fruit and freshness and even some age-ability.
Here are 11 wines that were exceptional, edgy and expressive. The wines offered a unique sense of place yet had defining characteristics of Maremma wines.
Le Papesse Maremma Toscana DOC Rosato 2019 – Argentaia
Le Papesse is a beautiful aperitivo rosé. Made from 100% Sangiovese, this wine really wakes up the palate with notes of fresh fruit, cherries, and a hint of rose. Very soft on the palate. It is deliciously savory and fresh.
Maremma Toscana DOC Ciliegiolo 2019 – Sassotondo
The nose is intense and fruity with notes of plum, cherries and licorice. The palate is smooth and fresh with nice acidity. Notes of raspberries and lavender coat the palate. Elegant structure and nice length.
Maremma Toscana DOC Ciliegiolo 2019 – Sequerciani
This is an easy-drinking fresh wine. Notes of vibrant cherries on the nose. Juicy on the palate with a hint of savoriness. Nice tannic structure with incredible fruit and spice.
Albarese Maremma Toscana DOC Ciliegiolo 2018 – Cantina “I Vini Di Maremma”
There is a vibrant red color in the glass. Aromas of spice and fruit with notes of raspberries, cinnamon and roses. Soft silky tannins with a bright palate.
Ciliegiolo Maremma Toscana DOC Ciliegiolo 2018 – I Cavallini
Wine is fresh and bright with aromas of red berries and violet. Medium-bodied on the palate with enticing notes of plum, cherries and black pepper. Juicy and balanced on the palate with an elegant body and silky tannins,
Maremma Toscaana DOC Ciliegiolo 2016 – Cantina Laselva
There is a bright cherry color in the glass with notes of berries and dark spice. Delicate and smooth on the palate with red cherries, star anise and a touch of salinity.
San Lorenzo Maremma Toscana DOC Ciliegiolo 2015 – Sassotondo
Fragrant on the nose with notes of cherries, black currant pepper and spice. Lively and elegant palate with red cherries cinnamon and cloves. A bright palate with a long finish.
Alicante Maremma Toscana DOC Alicante 2016 – I Cavallini
The wine is vibrant in the glass with purple undertones. Aromas of fruit, flowers and spice. The palate has a smooth long finish with a touch of minerality.
Querciolaia Maremma Toscanaa DOC Alicante 2016 – Fattoria Mantellassi
Bright ruby color in the glass. On the nose, there are aromas of plum, dark cherries and berries. The palate is round, supple and juicy with notes of red fruit, spice and chocolate. The finish is long with soft tannins.
Territoria Maremma Toscana DOC Sangiovese 2017 – Cantina “I Vini Di Maremma”
Intense dark ruby red hue in the glass with spice and fruit on the nose. Notes of black cherries and blackberries on the palate. Silky texture and medium body leave a long finish.
Sassi Dautore Maremma Toscana DOC Sangiovese 2018 – Le Sode Di Sant’Angelo
Fresh and intense bouquet of cherry, strawberries, coffee and violets. Rich plum, cherries and pepper greet the palate. Full-bodied with velvety tannins and a long lingering finish.
Maremma is Italy’s best-kept secret and is a region that is worth discovering. The wines we tasted were of excellent quality. In a very unique way, they were different from the rest of Tuscany. The region is coming into its own with quality Sangiovese and exceptional indigenous varieties.