Massimo Romeo’s father, a lawyer and professor with taste for the countryside, bought property in Montepluciano in the early 1970s. A decade later Massimo himself, by now a young man, decided to acquire his own property for farming and vineyards. Starting with just 7.5 acres of vineyards, Massimo’s debut wine was a 1982 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Since then he has more than doubled his vineyard acreage and introduced new wines, including his flagship Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Lipitiresco. Massimo has been the president of the Consorzio del Vino Nobile, the local producers’ organization. He was also an early adopter of sustainable farming practices, and since 2008 the estate has been certified as fully organic. Sangiovese is the estate’s primary grape, and Massimo Romeo makes a portfolio of Sangiovese-based, appellation specific wines. Massimo is the winemaker, and Wine Enthusiast has rated some vintages in the mid-90s. Wine Spectator has complimented the wines for “their old-world feel.”
Tuscany, or Toscana in Italian, is Italy’s best-known wine region and its most diverse. Historically Sangiovese was the primary grape grown in Tuscany and Chianti was considered the purest expression of Sangiovese. Sangiovese and its many clones are still important, and they are the grapes used for the Tuscan appellations of Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano, Chianti, Chianti Classico and Carmignano. But in the last 50 years innovative producers, many of them in southwestern Tuscany in the area called Maremma, have also planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. The tradition defying producers have blended those varietals with Sangiovese to produce dazzling wines that do not conform to Italy’s appellation regulations. Such wines are called Super Tuscans and cannot be labeled with either of Italy’s highest level quality designations, which are in order of status Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantia, (DOCG), and Denominazione di Origine Controllata, (DOC). (This has not at all hindered the demand for Super Tuscans, some of which are consistently among the world’s most admired and well-reviewed wines.) Tuscany has six DOCG appellations and thirty-four DOCs. Though famous for its red wines, Tuscany also produces whites made primarily from Trebbiano and Vernaccia.
There are also many Tuscan Indicazione Geographica Tipica (IGT) wines that are often an innovative blend of traditional and non-traditional grapes. This relatively new appellation status was started in 1992 as an attempt to give an official classification to Italy’s many newer blends that do fit the strict requirements of DOC and DOCG classifications. IGT wines may use the name of the region and varietal on their label or in their name.
This red grape is largely grown in central Italy. As the sole component or in a blend, it gives us Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino and Super Tuscans, among other favorites wines. The name is derived from the Latin for “blood of Jove.”