MASSETO Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2018
MASSETO Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2018
OWC 3 x 750ml
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The Masseto 2017 Masseto puts on another exhilarating, knock-out performance for the third year in a row. The Masseto vineyard is a triangular-shaped plot tucked in at the back of the same property that houses the Ornellaia vineyards and winery. This special site is located at the base of the mountains that rise gently from the Tyrrhenian Sea, with the picturesque silhouette of the Castiglioncello castle at the top. The vines are planted at an altitude of 80 to 100 meters above sea level in blue clay soils that are unique to Bolgheri. That ideal position opens the vineyards to soft breezes, proximity to the sea, long daylight hours and cool diurnal shifts from the protective wall of low mountains at the back. It's a little garden of Merlot Eden. The center of the vineyard now is home to the new Masseto winery and an adjacent tasting room built into a pre-existing farmhouse. This wine was made in the old winery (the existing Ornellaia winery). Fermentation kicks off in a combination of steel and oak tanks before the wine is racked over to barrique, where it rests for two years. The wine then goes into bottle for 12 months before its release. Like most vintages of Masseto tasted this early in the game, the oak is omnipresent, and it grounds the wine in terms of texture and structure. It is powerful, but that's always the case with Masseto (this vintage records a 15.5% alcohol content). I tasted this wine next to the decidedly more playful Massetino, and the Masseto moves over the palate with substantial fruit weight and concentration gained over the course of this hot and dry growing season (which produced smaller, richer and more compact berries). Perhaps, what this vintage lacks is that profound varietal character that we saw in recent vintages like 2016 and 2015. If concerned that the hot vintage would draw out too many ripe fruit tones, the oak serves to soften some of the more volatile components of the fruit. Those distinctive notes of macchia mediterranea (wild bush) that I always associate with Masseto are less present in this vintage. You feel the oak tannins on the finish with toast and vanilla that will certainly shed as the wine ages. In fact, I went back to taste the wine 12 hours later, and they had already softened considerably. This 2017 vintage will be released in October 2020.
Vintage 2016 Wine Advocate / Robert Parker 100/100 - Monica Larner 19-April 2019
Masseto has pulled off back-to-back home runs. This is the first time that an Italian wine has earned 100 points in successive vintages. The 2016 Masseto is a thunderstorm of emotions, but it manages to keep them under perfect control. Like the 2015 Masseto before it, this vintage is a seamless wine of the highest pedigree. It represents an encore performance, continuing the string of successes that is bringing Italy to the forefront of the wine world. The first thing you'll notice is the thickness and concentration of the fruit that makes an immediate impact on all the senses, in terms of appearance, aroma and mouthfeel. There is no overstating the sheer power and richness of this iconic vintage of Italy's groundbreaking Merlot. Despite that considerable mass, this Masseto remains delicate and graceful. You gain better perspective as the wine opens in the glass and reveals deeper layers that were not immediately apparent on first nose: dark fruit, spice, sweet tobacco and black cherry. There is great tightness and laser focus to the fruit. I tasted the 2016 and 2015 vintages together for comparison when I scored this wine, and then I tasted this 2016 edition alone about a month later to confirm my impressions. These vintages are identical twins, two perfect wines.
Vintage 2016 Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, 94-97/100 March 2019
The 2016 Masseto is finishing its aging in barrel. Dark, sumptuous and super-expressive, the 2016 has so much to offer. Expressive aromatics, silky tannins and layered of dark, resonant fruit are some of the signatures. All the elements simply fall into place in a Masseto endowed with terrific balance and class.
Vintage 2016 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, 100/100 - June 2019
This is so solid and powerful with incredible vertical dense that goes down and down on the palate. Compacted and thick with caressing and polished tannins that are powerful yet refined. Super concentration yet agile and energetic. This is a wine that needs time to come together and resolve all of its amazing components. Reminds me of the legendary 2001. Try after 2023.
Wine Spectator 97/100 - BS - Issue: Sep 30, 2019
A flashy style, featuring concentrated yet fluid flavors of blackberry, plum, violet, cedar and iron, wrapped in toasty, vanilla-scented oak. The acidity is vibrant and refined, but dense tannins provide support as this cruises to a long finish. Best from 2022 through 2045. 330 cases imported. — BS
Vintage 2016 Jancis Robinson 18/20 2016 Vintage Tasted on 5-Sep-2019 / When to drink: 2024 to 2034
100% Merlot. A common scenario in recent years, the winter of 2016 was characterised by abnormally warm weather with heavy rainfall in February. Budbreak took place on time in the last week of March. The abundance of water in the soil and the warm weather in April led to quick and normal vegetative vine growth. Towards May, temperatures returned to normal, slowing the growth down slightly, bringing about flowering, which took place in the last week of May with dry sunny weather that was perfect for a good fruit-set. The summer temperatures were within the norm with very little rain favouring notable water stress towards the end of the ripening stage. The usual mid-August storms were also absent, maintaining a state of hydric stress through the first part of the harvest, but luckily with significantly cool temperatures at night, allowing the vines to recover from the daytime temperatures. Ripening was steady, building up excellent phenolic potential and a balanced sugar/acidity ratio. Harvest started early on 24 August with the younger vines. In September, a few rain showers arrived, providing enough water in the soil to prevent the vines from shutting down. This allowed the winery to complete the harvest under virtually perfect conditions. The older vines of ‘Masseto centrale’ took great advantage of this situation and continued ripening until the third week of September. The last plots were picked on 20 September. Dark garnet. Very complete and luscious on the nose. Liquid velvet impression! Appetising with the sweetness/ripeness compensated for by masses of tannin – more than earlier vintages? Still needs time but it’s very glamorous.