Montecucco isn’t a wine region I expect most people are familiar with — I wasn’t — so let me introduce you to this small part of the Maremma area in Italy, a locale you’ll find between Brunello di Montalcino and Morellino di Scansano. Sangiovese is of course the grape of choice here, but blending grapes are commonly used to round things out. Today we look at three very different wines from Montecucco, all ready for your holiday table.
2017 Maciarine Montecucco Sangiovese Reserva DOCG – Inky black in color, I would have not blinked an eye if you told me this was sagrantino. Weighty at a whopping 15.5% abv, the wine is laden with dark notes of blackcurrants, anise, dark chocolate, and tobacco. As it develops in the glass, the wine emerges as enduringly leathery but sweet; the experience is immersive and complex, and with airtime it variously showcases notes of violets, raspberry, and mint throughout its journey. That said, it’s a tough road if you’re drinking this solo: There’s so much tannic depth here that the wine becomes overwhelming in the absence of a hearty meal to surround it with. Plan accordingly. A- / $20
2019 Tenuta L’Impostino Ciarlone Rosso Montecucco DOC – A much cheerier wine and far lighter on its feet. Bright cherry up front cuts a more classic sangiovese profile, tempered with light notes of anise, chocolate, and a mixed floral influence. The flavors are tenacious on the palate, cola and tea leaf notes fighting their way through a modest core of tannins and adding layers of nuance. The finish shows just how much acidity resides in the wine, though ample oak influence keeps everything in balance. A standout for any occasion. A / $21
2019 Poggio Trevvalle TorEnte Montecucco Sangiovese DOCG – Moderately tannic but not as heavy as the Maciarine, with more raspberry than cherry in the mix, alongside a slightly floral edge. Dark chocolate dominates the finish, followed by some lighter notes or strawberry and vanilla. A little atypical for Tuscany, but enjoyable, particularly at mealtime. B+ / $25