“A spectacular wine in the making”
96-99 POINTS – ANTONIO GALLONI, VINOUS
Today sees the release of the new vintage of one of Italy’s most iconic wines, Masseto. This Super Tuscan is one of the most consistent and collected fine wines from Italy, standing alongside Pétrus as one of the world’s great Merlots.
Originally part of the Ornellaia estate, the Masseto vineyard was planted in 1984 following the advice of the legendary Russian-American winemaker and consultant for Ornellaia André Tchelistcheff (known for his pioneering work in Napa through the ’60s and ’70s). Tasked with looking for sites to plant Cabernet for Ornellaia, he instantly identified the blue clay soils on the Masseto hill as ideal for Merlot.
The marine influence is key to the success of the Masseto site, with cool sea breezes and a magnified intensity of light, especially towards the end of day. The vineyard’s blue clay soils provide the perfect balance of heat intensity by day and cooling influences at night to produce a wine with both power and elegance.
The 2017 vintage was incredibly dry, meaning fewer clusters, smaller berries and more concentrated fruit. Winemaker Axel Heinz managed this with less extraction, shortening the maceration and keeping fermentation at a cool 25˚C to retain balance and poise.
Tasting the wine last week, we were blown away by the intensity and concentration of the wine, which nevertheless retains a racy acidity so typical of Italy. The freshness keeps the fruit density perfectly balanced, with no sign of over-ripeness. This is an opulent, hedonistic wine with both depth and vigour.
“The clarity of the ripe blackcurrants, black cherries and flowers in the nose is entrancing. Lavender, too. It’s full-bodied with firm, silky tannins that run long and straight through the wine, providing brightness and focus. Goes on for minutes. Strength with finesse. Drink after 2024, but already wonderful to taste."
98 POINTS – JAMES SUCKLING