Drink 2021 to 2036
Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux (December 2021)
Daniel Thomases - 24/04/2006
About this WINE
Masseto is an Italian wine produced in the Bolgheri of Tuscany, specifically within the coastal area known as the Maremma. It is renowned as one of Italy’s most prestigious and sought-after wines, particularly for its exceptional quality and limited production.
Masseto is made exclusively from Merlot grapes, which is somewhat unusual for Tuscany, as many other regional top wines are predominantly composed of Sangiovese. The choice of Merlot is significant because it thrives in the clay-rich soil of the Masseto vineyard, producing grapes of exceptional quality.
The vineyard is located in the Bolgheri region, specifically in the Tenuta dell’Ornellaia estate. Its unique terroir, characterized by clay soil mixed with gravel and excellent drainage, contributes to the wine’s distinct character and complexity. The winemaking process involves hand-harvesting the Merlot grapes, careful sorting, and fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is then aged in French oak barrels, with a portion of new barrels each vintage to provide structure and complexity.
Masseto is produced in minimal quantities, making it a rare and highly sought-after wine. The annual production is small, with variations depending on vintage conditions.
IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) Tuscany is a wine classification from Italy's Tuscany region. It is one of the official wine classifications recognized by the Italian government. IGT is a step below the highest classification, DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), and above the DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) level.
The IGT classification was introduced in 1992 to allow winemakers more flexibility in grape varieties and employ winemaking techniques while still ensuring a certain level of quality and geographical indication. This classification gives winemakers more freedom to experiment and innovate, deviating from the strict regulations of the DOC and DOCG classifications.
IGT Tuscany wines can be produced throughout the entire region of Tuscany, encompassing various sub-regions and terroirs within the area. This classification allows winemakers to use traditional Tuscan grape varieties, such as Sangiovese, and non-traditional grape varieties, including international ones like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and others.
The IGT Tuscany classification gives winemakers the flexibility to create wines that showcase the unique characteristics of their specific vineyards and winemaking styles. It allows for experimentation with blending different grape varieties, using innovative winemaking techniques, and exploring new regional vineyard sites.
IGT Tuscany wines can vary greatly, from traditional and terroir-driven expressions to more modern and international styles. This classification has played a significant role in developing Super Tuscan wines, often IGT designated and known for their high quality and international recognition.
Overall, IGT Tuscany provides a platform for winemakers in the region to express their creativity and produce wines that reflect their unique vision while maintaining a connection to the rich heritage and traditions of winemaking in Tuscany.
The most widely planted grape in Bordeaux and a grape that has been on a relentless expansion drive throughout the world in the last decade. Merlot is adaptable to most soils and is relatively simple to cultivate. It is a vigorous naturally high yielding grape that requires savage pruning - over-cropped Merlot-based wines are dilute and bland. It is also vital to pick at optimum ripeness as Merlot can quickly lose its varietal characteristics if harvested overripe.
In St.Emilion and Pomerol it withstands the moist clay rich soils far better than Cabernet grapes, and at it best produces opulently rich, plummy clarets with succulent fruitcake-like nuances. Le Pin, Pétrus and Clinet are examples of hedonistically rich Merlot wines at their very best. It also plays a key supporting role in filling out the middle palate of the Cabernet-dominated wines of the Médoc and Graves.