Montescudaio DOC dates from 1977 for still wines of all three colours from the Tyrrhenian coast, Tuscany, west of Siena in the northern part of the Maremma. Winegrowing in Montescudaio almost certainly dates to the Etruscans, and this DOC lies within the so-called Etruscan Coast, or Costa degli Etruschi.
Production zone: The zone includes the eponymous municipality of Montescudaio, and six other municipalities, namely Casale Marittimo, Castellina Marittima, Guardistallo, Montecatini Val di Cecina, Riparbella, and Santa Luce. All are in the province of Pisa (PI), just north of the border with Livorno province, and mostly inland along Cecina river valley (between the Cecina and Cornia rivers, like Bolgheri, but the latter is slightly further to the south) towards the Etruscan town of Volterra.
Terroir: Comparisons with nearby Bolgheri ‘are inevitable. The area is that bit further from the sea and therefore slightly higher in altitude at 200 metres, and therefore cooler, with a greater contrast of day and night-time temperatures,’ (Rosemary George MW: 2004, p.272). Montescudaio’s vineyards tend to be north-west facing, so the wines need time. The region produced mainly bulk wine and shifted away from this later than Val di Cornia and Suvereto (hence there is a mix here of good estate bottlers as well as those who still sell in bulk).
Wines: The DOC originally covered a red based on at least 50% Sangiovese plus traditional red and white Tuscan grapes along the original Chianti model. The white was based on Trebbiano Toscana (minimum 50%), Malvasia and Vermentino. The DOC was revised in 1999, allowing international varieties (eg. Cabernet, Chardonnay).
Montescudaio Bianco DOC: Dry. Trebbiano Toscano (initially the rules stipulated 50-100% but this has been relaxed), as well as other permitted white varieties eg Viognier, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Malvasia. 85% minimum for varietal wines.
Montescudaio Rosso DOC: Until 1995 the rules for this red wine ‘harked back to the dark ages, requiring…a minimum of 15% white grapes (Trebbiano [Toscano] or Malvasia Bianca) to be mixed into the uvaggio di vigneto, together with up to 85% Sangiovese – an archaism which other Tuscan denominations, in particular Chianti Classico, stopped…in the early 1980s,’ (Nicolas Belfrage: 2001, p.152-4). Now this is a Chianti-like blend: 50% Sangiovese minimum plus 50% other red grapes (Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, Colorino, Malvasia Nera, Montepulciano). Varietal wines from Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sangiovese (85% minimum).
Montescudaio Vin Santo DOC: The Vin Santo is made from the same permitted blend as the Bianco.
Certified Biodynamic: Duemani.
Certified organic: Marchesi Ginori Lisci.
Nicolas Belfrage MW, From Brunello to Zibibbo: The Wines of Tuscany, Central and Southern Italy (London, 2001).