x
  • Country ranking ?

    9
  • Producer ranking ?

    3
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    from 2020

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Masseto is preparing its 2013 vintage for market. The vintage was one of the latest harvests on record but one that was particularly favourable for Merlot.

According to Axel Heinz, winemaker and estate director of Masseto: “Masseto 2013 is the result of an overall late, fresh weather during the harvesting period. These are particularly favorable conditions for Merlot, which was able to ripen slowly and completely in sunny weather, without excessive heat. These conditions enhanced full expression of the aromatic qualities and perfect ripening of the polyphenolic content.”

Masseto 2013 is the result of an overall late and fresh climate during the harvesting period. These are particularly favorable conditions for Merlot, which was able to ripen slowly and completely in sunny weather, without excessive heat, which enhanced a full expression of the aromatic qualities and perfect ripening of the polyphenolic content. Intense ruby in color, the nose immediately reveals fully ripe fruitiness endowed with great freshness and complexity, underlined by delicate notes of vanilla and cocoa. On the palate, the wine is substantial and rich, with great density, and a rare tannic quality of silkiness and smoothness. Black fruit aromas are accompanied by a strong note of freshness and a long, elegant finish, which is prolonged with a delicate hint of cocoa.

 

 

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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

Masseto 2013 is a result of an overall late and fresh climate during the harvesting period. These are particularly favourable conditions for Merlot , which was able to ripen slowly and completely in sunny weather, without excessive heat, which enhanced a full expression of the aromatic qualities and perfect ripening of the polyphenolic content. Intense ruby in colour, the nose immediately reveals fully ripe fruitiness endowed with great freshness and complexity, underlined by delicate notes of vanilla and cocoa. On the palate, the wine is substantial and rich, with great density, and a rare tannic quality of silkiness and smoothness. Black fruit aromas are accompanied by a strong note of freshness and a long, elegant finish, which is prolonged with a delicate hint of cocoa.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

The 2013 Masseto paints a glorious picture of Tuscany. It captures an inspired moment in time and walks an impressive tightrope between power and elegance. In my preview tasting last year, I noticed the firm textural richness of the 2013 vintage and the crystalline sharpness of its aromas. Thanks to 12 additional months of bottle aging, that impression is evermore constant and concrete. The focus is there, yet the wine has also fleshed out and put on more velvety definition especially in terms of mouthfeel. It wears its pedigree with pride, but most importantly it offers the balance and integration to promise a long and healthy aging future. The 2013 vintage follows closely on the heels of the impeccable 2006 and 2010 vintages in terms of cellaring potential. This is definitely a bottle that should interest collectors.

Welcome to a whole new world of Masseto. Italy's most famous Merlot is about to enter a new chapter in its already legendary chronology. As I made my way through the beautiful drive that cuts through the vineyards of Tenuta dell'Ornellaia on the way to the winery, I could not help but notice the giant yellow crane looming large in the distance over by the celebrated Masseto single-vineyard. Finally, we have solid proof that the much-anticipated Masseto winery is soon to become a reality. The various shareholders behind Ornellaia (including the Spi Group, Frescobaldi and Mondavi) have long desired to spin off Masseto as its own brand, thus making Ornellaia and Masseto two independently operating entities under the single winemaking direction of Alex Heinz. As you will notice, I have honored the winery's request to list Tenuta dell'Ornellaia and Masseto separately in this report. Plans to build a winery and tasting space dedicated solely to Masseto were initially approved in 2006 but have since been modified in later years to include 1,200 extra square meters of workspace that could potentially house a 10 percent increase in bottle production, according to local media reports. As it stands now, Masseto makes from 30 to 33,000 bottles of its namesake Merlot. Various media outlets report the new winery price tag at between 8 and 13 million euros. During my visit, Alex offered some description of the new winery saying it would be mostly underground and virtually hidden from view, reflecting many of the aesthetic choices already embodied at the Ornellaia winery. The Milan-based architectural studio Zitomori came up with the design that represents a collaboration between a Japanese and an Italian architect. As the monumental 2013 vintage hits the market, we can raise our glasses to a new beginning at Masseto.

  • 97p

The 2013 Masseto is a wine of real vibrancy, clarity and precision. In some moments, the 2013 shows a bit of its voluptuous fruit, but it is rich, structured and clearly in need of time. Like all Massetos from cooler years, the 2013 is a long-distance runner. Give it time. A warm, dry summer helped the vineyards catch up after a late and irregular flowering. Cool nighttime temperatures provided the diurnal shifts at the end of the season that are so critical for the development of aromatics.

  • 97p

Intense nose. Herbs, black truffle, thyme, cacao, ripe blackberries, raspberry liqueur. Full bodied, juicy, lots of fine sweet tannins, fine acidity, ripe raspberries, blackberries, good structure, bitter chocolate, Ricola in the finish, long.

  • 96p

Aromas of blueberries, violets and roses turn to black truffles. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and great length. So gorgeous and persistent. It goes on for minutes.

  • 98p

Masseto 2013 is the result of an overall late and fresh climate during the harvesting period. These are particularly favorable conditions for Merlot, which was able to ripen slowly and completely in sunny weather, without excessive heat, which enhanced a full expression of the aromatic qualities and perfect ripening of the polyphenolic content.
Intense ruby in colour, the nose immediately reveals fully ripe fruitiness endowed with great freshness and complexity, underlined by delicate notes of vanilla and cocoa.
On the palate, the wine is substantial and rich, with great density, and a rare tannic quality of silkiness and smoothness. Black fruit aromas are accompanied by a strong note of freshness and a long, elegant finish, which is prolonged with a delicate hint of cocoa.

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Information

Origin

Bolgheri, Tuscany

Vintage Quality

Excellent

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

After a dry 2012, winter 2013 was characterized by mild but very rainy weather, which caused a delay in budding of up to 15 days. A cool, rainy spring also led to an irregular and very long flowering period - with a two week delay compared to the average - which reduced production and resulted in an uneven development of the grapes. Fortunately the summer, which arrived punctually as the end of June, was perfect, dry and sunny, with a few peaks of heat in July and August. The slow vegetative development was ultimately beneficial because it deferred ripening until after the hottest period. The August storms significantly lowered temperatures, especially at night, which favoured  aromatic expression. This however led to a later than average harvest , which started on 12th September with vineyard parcel "Masseto Alto" and concluded on 25th September with the last block of "Masseto Centrale", with predominately sunny weather without excessive heat.
 

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