Maremma masterclass report: In the zone

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PHENOMENAL SYRAH

Alessandro Gallo

He also explained why Rocca di Montemassi grows Syrah. “A few years ago we worked with [the late wine consultant] Denis Dubourdieu, and he advised us to plant Syrah, because, even in a poor vintage, you can add Syrah to spice up a wine, and we found that the Syrah was phenomenal.” Summing up, Francesco said: “We are on the right track with Petit Verdot, and we still need to work on Syrah.” And for the future – are there other grapes he would like to try? “A grape like Tannat could be interesting,” said Francesco, “because being a pioneer is always a good thing.”

A tasting of the range produced by Rocca di Montemassi – and Podere San Cristoforo (an estate in the region that is owned and managed by Francesco’s cousin, Lorenzo) – highlighted the character of Maremma’s wines. Importantly, the samples sipped by the attendees of this London event showed how the area was home to something both fine and distinctive. Furthermore, with unusual blends incorporating native grapes and French varieties, Maremma has become a playground for a leading winemaking dynasty such as the Zonin family.

From the varietal Viognier to Petit Verdot, or the blends of Sangiovese with Syrah, this part of Tuscany is like no other. It is a place unshackled by tradition, with the terroir for a new type of Italian fine wine.

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