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Azienda Agricola Roccapesta

The Roccapesta winery (www.roccapesta.com) in the Maremma, southwest Tuscany, is a relatively new project; it started in 2005, and produces around 100,000 bottles a year from 18.5 hectares of vines. The DOCG wine from this area is called Morellino di Scansano. Scansano is the town at the centre of the area and the grape is called Morellino. The first thing to be clear about, as Ginevra the cantina oenologist and our guide explained, is that the Morellino grape is, in fact, none other than the famous Tuscan variety Sangiovese. However, here, in sight of the sea, it is grown in a very different environment to the land that produces Chianti and Brunello.

They do a range of six wines, all red, and I tasted four of them. The first is called Masca, 2016, and is a DOC Rosso di Toscana, made from 80% Sangiovese and 10% each of Petit Verdot and Syrah. The wine is aged for nine months in cement before it is bottled. The foreign grapes, together with the time this wine has had to mature, certainly gives it a huge bouquet, full of plums with maybe a hint of tobacco coming from the Sangiovese. On the palate, there is a balanced acidity with bitter cherry and light tannins.

The second wine we tried is called Ribeo, 2018, and this is a true Morellino di Scansano made from 93% Sangiovese and 7% Alicante, a Spanish variety.  This is matured for 12 months in cement before bottling. The colour is a bright garnet which is characteristic of Sangiovese, and the bouquet is light and floral with raspberry. On the palate, there is a fresh acidity with a pleasing salinity and cherries. Try it with fish or pasta.

Azienda Agricola Roccapesta

Moving on, we sampled a Roccapesta 2018. Again, this is a Morellino di Scansano but this time 96% Sangiovese and 4% Ciliegiolo. Fermented in steel this wine spends 12 months in Slovenian oak barrels. Colourwise, it is a dark garnet with hints of ruby. On the nose there is cherry with vanilla and herbs. In the mouth there is good acidity with cherry and a touch of oregano and some salinity.

Finally, we tasted the third and most prestigious of the three DOCG wines produced here called Calestaia and this was from 2016. Fermented in French oak tini the wine is then matured for three years in Slovenian oak. The colour is dark garnet which is to be expected from a wine that is 100% Sangiovese. The bouquet is deep and complex with leather, tobacco and vanilla. In the mouth it is full-bodied and well- structured with bitter cherry. Indeed, the whole experience is reminiscent of a Brunello except for the hint of salinity in the mouth. A great wine with plenty of aging potential.

There was one final attention to detail – so typical of Roccapesta – which Ginevra pointed out during our tour. All the bottles are hand-sealed with wax over the cork. This is a winery which is concerned with quality and knows how to achieve it. I would strongly suggest you visit if you can – a new tasting room is on the way and if you can’t, then seek out their wines.

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