Last Updated on June 16, 2021 by JaimeSays
After over a year without an in person wine tasting, I was lucky enough to be invited to a Maremma Toscana tasting by the incredible professionals of IEEM. You’ll remember that they also hosted the Simply Italian Great Wines event in 2019. I’ll be honest: it had been about three months since I had even participated in a virtual tasting and I was worried about how rusty I’d be. Luckily for me, under the direction of Regine Rousseau of Shall We Wine as moderator and seated with my dear friend Cindy Rynning from Grape Experiences, I was right at home.
1. Gibson’s Italia is a Beautiful Space for Private Events
I know this is not particular to the wines tasted, but I have to make note of how professional and beautifully ran the entire day was by the staff of Gibson’s Italia. I had never been to this space before, and it is truly a stunner. With sights right on the river and a comfortable dining room, it was a great way to be welcomed back to indoor dining in Chicago.
2. Maremma Toscana is the 3rd Largest Wine Consortium in Tuscany by Area
Tuscany is a land well known for its culture, food, and of course, wine! Maremma Toscana is one of many wine consortiums in Tuscany, such as DOCG Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Bolgheri, or Chianti! Maremma Toscana receives honors as the third largest wine consortium in Tuscany by land area. The 2020 harvest was made using 2,290 hectares of vineyard. Of the yield, 64% of the wines produced were red wines, 33% white wines, and 3% rosé.
3. The Majority of Members of the Maremma Toscana Consortium are Vertical Wineries
Living in the Midwest, it is easy to grasp my head around wineries that don’t grow their own grapes. It gets too dang cold around here for local wineries to grow many varieties of grapes. That’s why local wineries, like Lynfred, offer a mix of wines with grapes grown locally and those purchased from other growers in more hospitable states. In the Maremma Toscana Consortium, the majority of members are vertical growers. What does that mean? Well, it means that the producers grow the grapes, harvest them, make the wine, bottle it, and send it out to sell. Thus, the members of Maremma Toscana have their hands in every aspect of the wine making process.
4. You Can Find Maremma Toscana on the Southeast Edge of Tuscany
Maremma Toscana is an area on the Southeast edge of Tuscany. It’s a tourist destination for Italians with beautifully crystal clear water and beaches that are less crowded than more internationally known locales. It’s blocked from the cold northerly winds by Monte Amiata on its eastern border. It is characterized by low humidity, very low precipitation that mostly occurs in the autumn, and long hours of sunlight.
5. Maremma Toscana is Known for More than Just Wine
Maremma is well known for many things outside of the wine industry. Firstly, the Maremma breed of dog! I personally love this breed; they are so big and fluffy, and are sheepherding dogs so they love to work.
The Italian batteri are famous mounted sheepherders that are also characteristic of the region. Tourism is popular for native Italians as the coastline is particularly beautiful.
6. Native and International Grapes Alike Characterize Wine in Maremma Toscana
The 2020 Harvest saw the breakdown of grapes harvested split three ways: 64% dark grapes for red wine, 33% green grapes for white wine, and 3% red wines for rosé. Of the grapes harvested, there are two dominant varietals. A quarter of the grapes harvested for white was Vermentino, and a quarter of the red harvested was Sangiovese. Some of the native grapes in the region include Alicante, Cilieglio, and Trebbiano Toscano. International grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Syrah were introduced in the region toward the end of the 20th century, and have also done well.
Attendees like myself had the pleasure of a guided tasting of 10 red wines from the region. All had complexities that punched above their price points, but two stood out to me:
|Terra di Casteani, Maremma Toscana DOC Rosso 2014 from Tenuta Casteani||Selvoso Maremma Toscana DOC Rosso 2018 from Poggio Cagnano|
|70% Sangiovese, 30% Merlot, Made in Stainless Steel Tanks, Aged in French Barriques for 18-24 Months||60% Cilieglio, 40% Merlot, Made and Aged in Concrete for 1 Year|
|Medium garnet in color, scents of red cherry, balsamic vinegar, tomato, with flavors of sour cherry jam, herbaciousness, and medium tannins||Medium ruby in color, fruit forward on the nose with lots of cranberry, tasted of strawberry with bright acidity, low alcohol, restraint and elegance|
It was a great return to in person wine tastings thanks to IEEM and the selected wineries of Maremma Toscana!
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