x
  • Country ranking ?

    43
  • Producer ranking ?

    6
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2030
  • Food Pairing

    Roast Leg of Lamb with Mint Pesto & Mustard Crumbs

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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The 2012 Masseto benefited from another particularly dry, sunny year which thanks to the rains prior to the
harvest, created perfect conditions for the ripening of the Merlot, without excessive heat or dryness and
enhanced by the exceptional terroir of the Masseto vineyard.

The 2012 vintage combines the principal characteristics of a great Masseto: rich and generous but also very
fresh and with a firm structure in a wine of great intensity and complexity. The colour is intense and dark,
olfactory impact develops classic notes of red and black fruit, chocolate and liquorice, subtly enhanced by
the toasting of the wood. The palate shows well-rounded and full, with a thick, dense tannic texture that
boasts rich fruit and spice notes. The finish is prolonged with a lively and vibrant acid vein that closes on a
note of intense freshness.
Tasting February 2015

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The Story

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.

The bunches, hand harvested in 15kg crates, were carefully sorted by hand on a double sorting table before and after destemming and then subjected to a gentle crushing. Six different lots were vinified separately. Fermentation took place in both steel and wood tanks, followed by 15-20 days maceration at a temperature between 25 and 30° C. Afterwards, malolactic fermentation took place in 100% new oak barrique, and the different lots were kept separate for the first 12 months of maturation. The wine was then blended and reintroduced into the barrels for another year, making a total of 24 months. After bottling, the wine was aged for an additional 12 months prior to release.

 

Tenuta dell'Ornellaia makes outstanding wines even in poor vintages - better than any other. In the capable hands of winemaker Thomas Duroux and consultant Michel Rolland, the estate continues its long-standing, stellar record of world-class wine production. Even the estate's "second" wines demonstrate high quality grape growing and flawless production methods. Located in Tuscany's tiny coastal DOC of Bolgheri, the estate was one of the first to plant vines in the area. With producers like Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia, Antinori, Grattamacco, and Le Macchiole among others, Bolgheri is the hotbed of winemaking momentum in Toscana.

With the same name as the winery, a reference to the grove of flowering ash trees surrounding it, Ornellaia is the estate's principal wine. The 63 acres of predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with small plantings of Cabernet Franc vines, lie on elevated parcels composed of clay, gravel, and loam soils. The clones of diverse origins yield a rich palette of nuances. All grapes are destemmed, gently pressed, and introduced into either wooden or stainless steel fermentation vessels. Maceration takes place over a period of 25-32 days at a temperature not exceeding 30 degrees Celsius, during which time the wine completes its alcoholic fermentation. The juice remains unblended until the wines have spent approximately one year in small French barriques. The final cuvee is assembled to evoke the vinous finess of the Cabernet highlighted by ripe, aromatic notes of Merlot in an elegant yet firm style balancing fruit, acidity, oak, and tannic backbone.

The estate's Le Volte is a blend of Tuscan Sangiovese with Bordeaux's Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that can be considered a "Young Ornellaia." They also produce Le Serre Nuove, the "second Ornellaia," and Masseto, one Bolgheri's greatest wines!

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Wine Information

2012 was a dry growing year, like 2011, with the scarcity of water already evident during a cold, dry winter.

At budbreak, which occurred normally, a water deficit of some 100mm, compared to the multi-year average,
was already evident. A mild, sunny spring brought excellent vine growth, with a rapid, consistent flowering.
July and August were hot and almost rain-free, prompting fears of arrested ripening due to lack of water. In
spite of this, veraison was normal and satisfactory under optimal conditions. A few spells of rain between the
end of August and beginning of September gave final momentum to the ripening, and the fruit achieved fine
overall ripeness, with optimal levels of aromatics and polyphenols. The harvest took place between 29
August and 17 September.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

The 2012 Masseto is seductive from the first sip. The 2011 edition of this wine was very successful, and not too different in character from this wine. What the 2012 vintage offers instead is a level of textural richness and creaminess that is absolutely outstanding. The very nature of the fruit feels velvety and silky smooth, without a single ripple. The bouquet reveals upfront aromas of dark cherry and spice that are contrasted perfectly against one another. Classic vintages of Masseto include 2001 and 2006. The 2012 vintage doesn't offer the same backbone firmness as those years, but it offers lots more exuberant richness instead. Some 32,000 bottles were produced. The wine should hold forward for many, many years.

Of course the exciting news from Ornellaia this year is the introduction of a new white wine. Readers can learn more about this wine in the video I shot with winemaker Alex Heinz that is posted to www.erobertparker.com. The 2013 Ornellaia Bianco Toscana is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier that is released in limited production numbers. Only 4,000 bottles were made. The idea here was to craft a white wine with the same soaring ambition and lofty goals as the celebrated Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore that is, hands down, one of the best wines made in Italy. I enjoyed a terrific tasting of this venerated estate's new products.

  • 95p

The 2012 Masseto is an incredibly sexy wine. I can’t believe how expressive it is here. The year was mostly warm and dry, but not excessively so. Raspberry jam, mint, spice, white chocolate and sweet floral notes all race out of the glass. Sumptuous in feel, with gorgeous, open-knit fruit and soaring aromatic intensity, the 2012 dazzles from start to finish. What a wine!

  • 97p

Masseto 2012 / Fantastic aromas of lavender, rosemary, violets and currants. Full body, a wonderful concentration of fruit yet tense and taunt energy. The new wood is exposed now but will become integrated and polished. Give it three or four years together. The pure merlot magic is there. The 2011 was a perfect wine, and this is very close indeed. Drink in 2019. 99 points

  • 99p

The 2012 Masseto benefited from another particularly dry, sunny year which thanks to the rains prior to the harvest, created perfect conditions for the ripening of the Merlot, without excessive heat or dryness and enhanced by the exceptional terroir of the Masseto vineyard.
The 2012 vintage combines the principal characteristics of a great Masseto: rich and generous but also very fresh and with a firm structure in a wine of great intensity and complexity. The colour is intense and dark, olfactory impact develops classic notes of red and black fruit, chocolate and liquorice, subtly enhanced by
the toasting of the wood. The palate shows well-rounded and full, with a thick, dense tannic texture that boasts rich fruit and spice notes. The finish is prolonged with a lively and vibrant acid vein that closes on a
note of intense freshness.

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Information

Origin

Bolgheri, Tuscany

Other wines from this producer

La Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia

Le Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia

Le Volte dell'Ornellaia

Le Volte dell’Ornellaia

Ornellaia

Ornellaia Bianco

Poggio alle Gazze dell'Ornellaia

Inside Information

During the harvesting five different batches were vinified, starting with the younger vineyards and concluding
with the later part from the Masseto Centrale vineyard. The clusters were hand-picked in 15 kg boxes, and
then graded and selected by hand on a double sorting table, before and after destemming, and finally softpressed.
Each single vineyard block was vinified separately. Fermentation took place in stainless steel or
wooden vats, followed by maceration at temperatures of between 25° and 30°C for 15-20 days. Then
malolactic fermentation was started in 100% new oak barriques, with the different batches being kept
separate for the first 12 months of maturation.
The wine was then assembled and reintroduced in the barriques for another year, making a total of 24
months. After bottling, the wine was aged for an additional 12 months prior to release.

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Highlights

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