~ The DOC Montecucco. Visible in the distance is Castello Colle Massari ~

Many of you are reading this now and likely wondering what Montecucco is and I can’t blame you.  While most consumers would probably struggle to correctly define what Chianti Classico is, let alone Rufina or Senesi, a DOC like Montecucco is likely way off the radar.  

The Montecucco DOC is a small area nestled between Montalcino and Scansano, in the northern most corner of Maremma.  In fact, only a narrow river separates the Brunello production zone from that of Montecucco and the areas largely share the same microclimate.  Many would be hard pressed to identify Montecucco on a map, let alone be familiar with its wines.  In fact, the zone only received DOC recognition in 1998 and one of the zones leading producers, Castello Colle Massari, has only been producing wines since 2000.  
The Montecucco DOC relies mainly upon the production of two red wines;  Montecucco Rosso and Montecucco Rosso Riserva.   Both wines are based predominantly on Sangiovese, though the former requires 60% of the wine be Sangiovese while the latter mandates at least 80%.   Aging also varies, with the Riserva requiring at least 24 months prior to release.  

~We served the 2013 Colle Massari with large meatballs (Polpettoni) that were about the size of my fist.  A mix of beef, pork, veal and pancetta, they were flavorful and hearty ~

Today we’re focusing on the newest release from Castello Colle Massari; the unquestioned leader in the DOC.  The brother and sister team of Claudio and Maria Tipa have realized their dream for making quality wines in this region and have now expanded that dream via the purchases of the estates Grattamacco (2002) in nearby Maremma and Poggio di Sotto (2011) in nearby Montalcino.  Not ignoring their roots, the team have also built a state of the art wine cellar under the Castello that has been partially carved from the terrain.

The estate of Castello Colle Massari is situated at the foot of Mount Amiata, at approximately 320 meters above sea level and oriented towards the Meditteranean Sea. Extending some 1,200 hectares, about 110 hectares are devoted to vineyards, 60 to olive groves and 400 hectares of mixed crops. The remaining area is woodlands and the whole farm is surrounded by a protected state forest.
~ The new cellars at Colle Massari were partially carved into the earth. Note the stone in the background ~

Today we’re focusing on the estate’s workhorse red,  the 2013 Montecucco Rosso Riserva.  This lovely rosso is  80% Sangiovese, 10% Ciliegiolo and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Vinified in stainless steel, it then ages in a combination of barrique and tonneaux for 18 months, 50% of which are new and 50% that have seen their 2nd and 3rd passage.  Refined in bottle for at least 12 months prior to release,  the aging at Castello Colle Massari goes beyond the required 24 months if warranted by the vintage. 
The 2013 is a bright violet color through to the rim of the bowl and displays aromas of fresh flowers, wild berries and new leather with spicy undertones.  It’s very nice to smell and dominated by the Sangiovese at the moment. 
On the palate, the wine is bright and lively with a ripe, medium bodied core of crushed red fruits, notes of vanilla and cinnamon and soft earth notes.  Well balanced, this has plenty of lively acidity and the finely knit tannins which do not interfere with the enjoyment at all.  While I don’t find this to be at all reminiscent of Brunello as some suggest the DOC can imitate, this is a tasty wine that can bridge the gap while the Brunello in your cellar ages.  Good value.  91 points, about $20-25.
~ In general, Colle Massari is a producer worth seeking out ~

Buon fine settimana!
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