When my wife and I got married then went to Rome and Tuscany for our honeymoon. We were younger of course, and on a pretty tight budget. Despite our lack of extra cash, Tuscany was an incredibly rich experience. As we thought about bringing a few souvenirs home for friends, our budget started to rear its head. So instead of hitting a wine shop on those winding, romantic, tourist laden lanes in a Tuscan hill town, we went to the grocery store.
We picked a few wines for some friends and something a bit more “spendy” for us. Needless to say our friends were touched by the gifts upon our return. Years later we gathered at friends for dinner. It was a bit of shock when they came forward with a wine that we bought for under ten euros now five years on. Wines in this price point are thought of as “drink immediately” and so we braced ourselves for what “should” have been a bit of a meh, but that wine, Cecchi’s La Mora Morellino di Scansano, was frankly superb and so we never had to explain what we actually paid for it.
Cecchi has been producing wines in Tuscany for more than 120 years. The focus is on the family’s original vineyard holdings in Chianti Classico but they have also extended to offer value wines from Umbria and Maremma.
2014 Cecchi La Mora Vermentino, Tuscany, Italy $16
A light bodied and refreshing white wine with more complexity than you’d expect is a good way to describe this white well known throughout Italy, though it may be called different names. Pigato in Liguria and Favorita in Piedmont. The grape may make its best wines on the Italian island of Sardinia but this Tuscan example offers plenty of fresh citrus and floral aromatics. The palate is crispy but layered and not the least bit one dimensional. The wine offers flavors of citrus fruit and a zippy acidity along with a depth accented by hints of beeswax, fresh herbs and a slight nuttiness.
2015 Cecchi Sangiovese di Toscana, Tuscany, Italy $12
Sangiovese is of course Tuscany’s darling and perhaps no wine delivers more on value and drinkability. Sangiovese has the ability to morph from daily drinker to structured fine wine. This wine was made to drink now, and is reminiscent of those honest, simple wines that are available in tratorrias and osterias throughout Tuscany, often made by the proprietors themselves. This wine however has a level of polish to it just given the Cecchi family’s long track record making Sangiovese. Aromas of violet and red berries and a fresh red fruit palate with loads of strawberry and raspberry flavors, and just the slightest notes of clove.
From the hillsides within the Chianti DOCG this wine is almost pure Sangiovese but there is about ten percent native grapes; Canaiolo and Colorino Toscana. A bit more distinguished than the Sangiovese bottling but just as fresh. Aromas of cut berry mix with hints of earth and a more distinguished palate with dark cherry flavors, soft red fruits and tannin create a semblance of structure for such a young wine.