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Bolgheri - Le Macchiole Messorio

by NEAL MARTIN

If you love Merlot, I have a special treat this year. I sat down with Cinzia Merli and her winemaking staff for a small vertical of some of the best vintages of Messorio ever made (2000, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and the current release 2013). In addition to this special tasting, I reviewed Le Macchiole’s other famous wines such as the Cabernet Franc Paleo and Syrah Scrio. These are some of the finest wines I have tasted from this estate. For almost a quarter of a century, Le Macchiole was guided by the expert hand of consulting enologist Luca D’Attoma. Luca left this project two years ago to pursue other estates. 

 

All the wines presented here were made by Luca nonetheless. Cinzia Merli of Le Macchiole during our retrospective of Messorio in Bolgheri, Tuscany. Le Macchiole was founded in 1983 but by the mid-1990’s the estate wanted to make a pure expression of Merlot. Neighboring Tenuta dell’Ornellaia was already making Masseto, a wine that would become a source of inspiration for many vintners in Bolgheri. Le Macchiole had already planted Merlot to use in its blended reds. They identified the best hectare of the grape, which was slowly enlarged to two hectares (replanted at 10,000 vines per hectare). The soils exhibit veins of mixed limestone clay that run east to west along this single parcel. At almost 20 years old, the vines are in their prime production years today. The excellent 2013 vintage underlines this fact. Le Macchiole produces anywhere from 10,000 to 11,000 bottles of Messorio per year.

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History

It all started with Eugenio's need to find new stimuli, to construct a new life, more in harmony with the land. Highly motivated as well by his desire to realize the ambitious project of producing great wines, truly respectful of the vineyard. To realize this dream, he began planning out his vineyards and planting a number of different varieties in the few hectares he had.

 


In 1991 he decided to take on the young winemaker, Luca D'Attoma, who immediately espoused his idea of creating a wholly original wine, one that would break with the staus quo. Eugenio’s untimely death did not put an end to this dream: Cinzia moved in and assumed the new role of managing the winery herself. With courage and tenacity, she carried forward and further developed her husband’s project and in 2008, was rewarded for her efforts: Le Macchiole's wine, Messorio, was given a score of 100 by Wine Spectator.

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Vineyards

Le Macchiole has always been aware of swimming against the tide by creating new trends. Right from the start, the estate distinguished itself by choosing to invest first in vineyard research before even planning the cellar. They were the first to plant Syrah, the first to produce a 100% Cabernet Franc, the first to adopt high density planting, up to 10,000 vine-stocks per hectare, and low yields, at the most, one kilo of grapes per vine-stock. To achieve this, weak rootstocks are chosen, and very short cordon spur pruning is practiced along with drastic thinning of fruit clusters.



Respect for the vines is central, thus every operation is done by hand. The estate applies organic methods with the single objective of fortifying and strengthening the vine; for this reason they haven't felt the need to declare it on the label.

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Winemaking

Wine is made in the vineyards, therefore intervention in the cellar is reduced to a minimum. Le Macchiole, still today, is a project in evolution with continual experimentation going on regarding methods of vinification, fining, and micro-vinification for single vineyards. This dedication and enthusiasm translates into wines of special character; each one with his own story. Like Cinzia says, the wines are their children: Paleo Bianco, Bolgheri, Paleo Rosso, Scrio and Messorio.

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  3 wines  from  Le Macchiole . In a tasting of  18 wines 

"New Italy" tasting with superb wines like from great vintage 2004 Masseto, Redigaffi, Messorio, Galatrona, Scrio etc.

16d 22h ago

 Tuula Hällström, Wine Collector (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Le Macchiole . In a tasting of  8 wines 

Some interesting Friday evening wines like Messorino 2004, Femme 1996, Greywacke 2015 etc.

3m 25d ago

 Hiroshi Ishida / Wine Blogger, Pro (Japan)  tasted  9 wines  from  Le Macchiole . In a tasting of  19 wines 

Today, Bolgheri is among Italy’s famed wine producing regions, but this seemed far from a possibility in 1983, the year Le Macchiole was founded and a time when the area was known simply for a close proximity to the sea and having abundant fruit and grain agriculture. Yet, two native Bolgheresi, Eugenio Campolmi and Cinzia Merli, were devoted to the idea of vine growing in their home even when it was not considered a viable way to start a living. “My husband Eugenio and I started off with very limited, if almost no, resources,” Cinzia recalls. “We gave up working his parents’ retail and restaurant business and bought a few hectares of land planted to wheat.


We decided to plant vineyards starting with many varieties - sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, syrah, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and vermentino - so that we might see what grew best on our little property. That is how our life project began and, for me, our learning is still in progress. I believe that Bolgheri is in the early stage of development. It has just become aware of its potential and understanding of which grape varieties give their best to each part of the different soils; much is still yet to be accomplished here.”

8m 22d ago

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