This vintage marks another philosophical shift for this important Tuscan wine, especially in terms of tannin management. The 2008 Messorio sees 25% neutral oak. The idea was to return to mixed oak vessels, with new and neutral oak, for its 18-month aging period. This was also a difficult year that required very careful berry selection and lots of work to pick out the best fruit on the sorting table. Various vineyard parcels were harvested independently and vinified separately. But despite the fussiness, Le Macchiole had reached a point of winemaking maturity at this point that allows for more intelligent and innovative decisions. This wine has a long way to go and I'd venture that it's just barely entering its drinking prime. The bouquet is dark and sophisticated, but it is fluid and ever-changing as well. Drinking range: 2017 - 2035 Rating: 95-95 Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate (www.robertparker.com) (Oct 2016)
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From the moment you see the deep ruby red colour and breathe in the heady perfume emanating from the glass, you know you are in for a treat! An immediate nose of ripe fruits of the forest is complemented by the gentle spice notes of white pepper, cinnamon and a hint of cloves with subtle overtones of vanilla from the 14-month ageing in predominantly new French oak barriques. The elegant palate matches the nose perfectly with similar ripe fruit, gentle oak and spice characteristics; the well-balanced acidity and warming ‘Christmas’ spice notes of cloves and cinnamon carrying over to a long, soft finish of cream and chocolate, backed up by smooth tannins. Although relatively high in alcoholic strength at 14.5% ABV, the alcohol level is completely in balance and lends a refined warmth to the mouth feel. This wine can be drunk now, but will benefit from ageing (5-15 years) to bring out even greater complexity and richness on the nose and palate and to allow the tannins to develop further in harmony with the fruit and spice flavours. Robin Goldsmith, www.thewritetaste.co.uk (Mar 2014)
Expensive? Yes, but not compared with Masseto, the Bolgheri Merlot with which Messorio competes. For now, the 2008 is less aromatic and voluptuous than the 2007 – the flavours are more tar and liquorice, blackcurrant and fennel – but there’s a tightness and definition that suggest that ultimately this 2008 may go further. Ideally you shouldn't think about opening a bottle (or magnum) for at least three years. Rating: 93 www.thewinegang.com (Jan 2014)
Cool and aloof, in a restrained blueberry-, blackberry- and mineral-flavored way. Though concentrated, this is fresh, fluid and elegant, with a tightly wound finish. Requires patience. Merlot. Drinking range: 2014 - 2028 Rating: 92 Bruce Sanderson, The Wine Spectator (Oct 2011)
The 2008 Messorio is simply marvellous in this vintage. Layers of dark fruit take shape beautifully in the glass as this reticent Messorio shows off its pedigree. The 2008 is a decidedly inward wine that, once again, stands apart from some recent vintages. The 2008 is a mid-weight, refined Messorio endowed with tons of balance and sheer finesse. It will be a fascinating wine to follow in the coming years. The 2008 Messorio was aged for 14 months in the standard French oak barrique (75% new), a move away from the smaller barrels that had been used in past years. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2028. Rating: 97-97 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Oct 2011)
Initially put onto the wine map by Eugenio Campolmi in 1983, the Le Macchiole estate has been run by his wife Cinzia since 2002. Located in Bolgheri, with 22 hectares of vineyard over much of the best soils of the region these are, along with the Sassicaia and Ornellaia's vineyards, also among the oldest and most established vines in Bolgheri. Their careful selection of grape varieties and cultivation techniques according to climate and soil has led them to concentrate on Merlot, Syrah and most importantly Cabernet Franc, a variety which can express itself so well in the hands of Le Macchiole.
All of their wines are marked by a unique and unmistakable character. Full bodied wines, and yet with clean and elegant flavours, leading to great freshness and finesse, they are incredibly sought after world-wide. The estate has been organic since 2002, and they are experimenting with biodynamics.
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