The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2015

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1 10  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2015 While Maremma has a centuries-old winemaking tradition using Tuscany's signature Sangiovese grape, it was never on the radar for fine wine. Some local producers made juice, but it took an outsider from Chianti, Luigi Cecchi— who first crushed grapes here in 1956 when the region was pumping out rustic wines—to see the area's potential. When the Cecchi family bought property in Morellino di Scansano, they become the first Italian producer with roots in another region to invest there. "My father discovered this area could have potential—he said Maremma is like Napa in the 1970s," recalls Andrea Cecchi, 56, the younger of the two brothers running the estate. And indeed, papa Cecchi was prescient. Morellino di Scansano was granted DOC status in 1978 and upgraded to DOCG in 2007. The estate upgraded, too. Starting with 25 hectares of vineyard in 1996, it now consists of 180 hectares cultivated for grapes (100 of which are owned and the rest under long-term lease), making the Cecchi family the largest owner of cultivated vineyards within the Morellino di Scansano DOCG. This year, Andrea, who holds a master's degree in enology, handed the winemaking reins over to a young team after 25 years and a second career as a moto-cross champion. Instead of grow- ing grapes, he now joins his brother Cesare in growing the Cecchi brand. Though their properties include estates in Chianti Classico, San Gimignano, Montepulciano and Montefalco, it is in Maremma that the brothers see the reinvention of Tuscany. "Here we have everything: weather, an appellation, good soil—all the elements to make good Italian wines," Andrea says. What the estate didn't have was a facility that complemented the family's progressive mindset and vision. In 2009, the Cecchis started construction on a state-of-the-art winery that taps the latest technology and puts sustainability up front and center with gravity-fed processes, gray-water recycling and a cellar dug deep into the ground for natural heating and cooling. Even the color palates evoke harmony with the earth: throughout stones in wheat, gray and brown hues complement brushed steel columns, making the cellar seem like a cathedral to both wine and the terroir from which it comes. The Cecchis are first focused on upping the Maremma profile. This year they will finish off 4,000 square meters of new production bays and 2,000 square meters devoted to hospitality, Cecchi's state-of-the-art winery in Maremma taps the latest technology and puts sustainability up front and center. PHOTO COURTESY OF CECCHI An on-site tasting of La Mora Vermentino and previous vintages of La Mora Morellino di Scansano. PHOTO: LANA BORTOLOT

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