Friday, October 23, 2009

Review: Happy Little Cherry

Is there a happier red wine than a good bottle of Morellino di Scansano?

I always enjoy this Italian wine when I drink it, yet then seem to forget about it afterwards and unconsciously discount it as inconsequential and minor. Then I drink another and I'm happy all over again. It's Chianti's younger, friskier cousin, not so heavy and concerned with itself and tradition, but more interesting in bright conversation and living in the moment. The wines come from the environs of the village of Scansano (natch), in the Maremma, which includes a part of the coast of southern Tuscany. Morellino is what the locals call the Sangiovese grape varietal.

The name means "Little Cherry of Scansano," and a more appropriate name there never was. Bright, bouncy cherry flavor is almost always found in the best bottles. Moris Farms, a fine producer in Grosseto, rarely disappoints, and a 2007 I just had was deep yet bright. It had a wonderful dark cherry nose with tinges with spice, sweet tobacco and charcoal and lightly perfumed. In the mouth, it was beautifully dusty and dusky, with more charcoal, cherry and blackberry. It was as light as can be (even at 14%), yet full of depth, like a cheerful person with a lot of character.

This particular wine was vinified in stainless steel tanks and put in bottle after only four months. Morellino need not see wood or age for very long, two reasons for the buoyancy. The mix must by 85% Sangiovese. Moris Farms used 90 % Sangiovese, plus 10 % Merlot and Syrah.

Also, it's cheap. Roughly $15.

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