Antonio Camillo (www.facebook.com/antoniocamilloviniditerritorio/) makes use of the gods in the production of his Morellino di Scansano, the DOCG wine of the Maremma, southwest Tuscany. The Morellino grape is, in fact, Sangiovese by another name which, in turn, is a contraction of Sangue di Giove, or Blood of Jupiter, the king of the gods.
As a young man, Antonio was working in a cantina. He is not from a wine-making family but obviously fell in love with the whole process because he bought two hectares of 40-year-old vines and set out on his own. He now has 17 hectares of vines and produces some 95,000 bottles per year from the modern winery that he moved to in 2015. Here you can see the massive cement vats that he uses to mature his wines. He prefers this method over wood because the cement allows the taste of the grape to come through unaltered – he doesn’t use steel either because the cement allows the wine to breathe.
The first wine I tasted was indeed his Morellino di Scansano. The rules for this wine specify a minimum of 85% Sangiovese but Antonio does not mess about – he goes straight in with 100% Sangiovese which is matured in cement for four months before being bottled. We sampled the 2019 and, after the explanation provided by Valentina, I experienced some measure of trepidation. Sangiovese can be strongly tannic but the amount of tannins you extract depends on the maceration and, with no small amount of skill, Antonio has produced a wine that has a bright ruby colour but without an excess of tannins. On the nose it is young and vibrant with cherries and plums. In the mouth the tannins are medium strength and balance well with the acidity. This would be perfect with barbecued red meat.
Antonio has another passion and that is the Ciliegiolo grape – the name comes from the Italian word for cherry. This is a grape that is used extensively for blending but Antonio has chosen to explore its potential to produce wine in its own right and the results are well worth tasting. The first we tried was from 2019. The colour is light ruby and the bouquet is delicate with cherries in the foreground and plums behind. On the palate the tannins are low with some acidity and a wonderfully full flavour of cherries that bursts into your mouth. Serve it cool with bruschetta and fresh tomatoes.
Finally, we sampled Antonio’s single vineyard offering, Vallerana Alta. Again, this is 100% Ciliegiolo from vines around 60 years old – the colour is a deep ruby with hints of garnet. For once Antonio does age in wood, in this case large botti, and the extra dimension this brings is reflected in the bouquet of cherries with leather and tobacco. On the palate there are low to medium tannins with good acidity and a certain salinity. This is a wine to pair with lamb or baccala or fresh cheese.
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