With the 2011 vintage, Masseto returns to a typically Mediterranean expression of a warm year in the Bolgheri terroir. Yet the overall impression is one of superb balance and measure, notwithstanding the wine’s rich concentration and ripeness. A near-opaque colour greets the eye, followed by explosive aromas of gloriously-ripe wild red berryfruit cosseted by hints of toasty oak and dark chocolate, but easily avoiding any hint of jamminess. A full-volumed palate impresses with its deep concentration and opulence, displaying remarkably supple, glossy tannins. Masseto 2011 concludes with a cleanly-defined vein of crisp acidity, infused with the fruit and spice encountered on the nose.
Masseto was born ‘almost by chance’ in 1986 when it was decided to vinify the Merlot from the Masseto vineyard alone as it ‘promised well’. This small, exceptional and legendary cru has soon become a collector’s item sold in auctions all over the world. The first vintage was called very simply ‘Merlot’ but, from 1987, it has taken on the name of its vineyard ‘Masseto’.
The Masseto vineyard is a unique place. Blessed with the generosity of a Mediterranean climate, this small vineyard enjoys breath-taking views, which stretch to the Tuscan coast, and a mosaic of different soils including an exceptional presence of grey clay. The gentle breezes coming off the sea during the war summer months, the intensity of the sunlight and the specificity of the unique soils, allow the vines to develop and ripen gradually and contribute to granting Masseto its enchanting combination of freshness and ripeness.
The wine is the synthesis of its singular 7 hectare vineyard formed of three types of soil. At the top of the hill, at around 120 metres above sea level, the loosest ground is made up of clay and sand with numerous pebbles and, this contributes to the elegant nature of the wine. In the sloping part of the vineyard (with about a 10% gradient), grey clay predominates and gives the wine its structural backbone. Lastly, the lower rows grow on less clayey soil which lends the wine its fullness, warmth and generosity.
Masseto is 100% Merlot and is aged in barriques for 24 months, followed by a further 12 months in the bottle. It is then ready for release on to the market but still has a very long life ahead. The result is a wine with great structure and longevity which, due to the selection made and philosophy behind it, is produced in very limited quantities.
MASSETO 2011 one of Masseto’s most surperb expressions. Winemaker Axel Heinz: “A warm, dry growing year, a wine of great balance.”
Bolgheri, 9 October 2014 – Masseto, a cru Merlot grown in the vineyard on a hill that gives its name to the wine, debuts today on the domestic and international markets in its 2011 vintage. Its exceptional terroir, combined with painstaking attention at every step of its production, have made Masseto, right from the very beginning, one of the world’s greatest wines, one given the highest accolades and awards by the most authoritative wine-sector journals and guides, and the first Italian wine to win placement in Place de Bordeaux, En Livrable, in 2008 with the 2006 vintage.
Masseto increases in value up to 90% over its price after just 12 months following release to market (Source: Liv-Ex: the 2008 vintage rose to +48% after one year, the 2009 reached +71%, and the 2010 achieved +90%, while the 2011, just released, is already at +29% over its initial price.)
Further, if one looks at comprehensive growth in value, Masseto over 10 years has more than quintupled its value (Source: Liv-Ex, cf. graph below).
“After a very late-developing 2010 growing season, 2011 was characterised by warm, dry weather and a harvest much earlier than the average,” explained Leonardo Raspini, General Manager and Agronomist. “ A rainy winter was followed by a warmer-than average spring that brought forward the start of vine growth by a full 10 days. Budbreak was particularly rapid and uniform, always a good indicator of a fine growing year. Then cooler weather in June and July slowed vine development. The expected rains arrived on schedule after flowering and during veraison, encouraging optimal cluster growth, aromatic intensification, and, even more important, exceptionally-generous accumulation of polyphenols. A heat spell at the end of August further quickened ripening, bringing us the earliest harvest ever in the history of Masseto. The grapes arriving in the cellar were perfectly sound and healthy, well balanced, and with no sign of over-ripeness.
“With the 2011 vintage, Masseto returns to a typically Mediterranean expression of a warm year in the Bolgheri terroir,” commented Axel Heinz, Winemaker and Director of Production. “Yet the overall impression is one of superb balance and measure, notwithstanding the wine’s rich concentration and ripeness. A near-opaque colour greets the eye, followed by explosive aromas of gloriously-ripe wild red berryfruit cosseted by hints of toasty oak and dark chocolate, but easily avoiding any hint of jamminess. A full-volumed palate impresses with its deep concentration and opulence, displaying remarkably supple, glossy tannins. Masseto 2011 concludes with a cleanly-defined vein of crisp acidity, infused with the fruit and spice encountered on the nose.”
In the cellar, each individual vineyard lot was vinified separately, then the lots were matured separately for the first 12 month, in French oak. The definitive assemblage was then made, and the final wine returned t the same barrels for an additional year, for an overall total of 24 months. Masseto 2011 was given a further 12 months in the bottle before release.