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!
Drink 2020 - 2032
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (January 2020)
The 2012 Masseto is seductive from the first sip. The 2011 edition of this wine was very successful and similar in character to 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 much more exuberant richness.
Some 32,000 bottles were produced. The wine should hold forward for many, many years.
Drink 2017 - 2037
Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (October 2015)
Fantastic aromas of lavender, rosemary, violets and currants. Full body, a wonderful fruit concentration, 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 from 2019 onward
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (August 2015)
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.
Bolgheri is a new DOC in the coastal Maremma region which first rose to prominence during the 1970s with the emergence of the so-called Super Tuscan wines like Ornellaia and Sassicaia. These new ventures had rocked the DOC establishment by using high proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon, opting out of the DOC system and relabeling their wines as simply Vino da Tavola (table wine).
Having won universal acclaim and exchanging hands for unprecedented prices (higher even than Tuscany's finest examples), the authorities relented and awarded Bolgheri its own DOC. The actions of the Super Tuscans inspired a generation in Italy, even if some of the wines here have lost a little of their lustre since.
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.