2011 Le Macchiole
Clearly very ripe vintage, with some jamminess and dried character to the black-cherry and plum fruit. Coffee, vanilla and cedar oak expression. Plush palate, with some black-tea maturity showing through, then mouth-coating tannins grip the palate. Long, espresso finish shows there's some class here, even in a ripe vintage. Not necessarily my style, but there's a lot of class and care that has been put into this wine. Drinking range: 2018 - 2033 Rating: 17.5 Tim Jackson MW, www.jancisrobinson.com (Apr 2020)
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Rich, ripe and dense, sporting black cherry and leather flavors and hints of tar and tobacco leaf. Powerful and well-structured, with a long, tobacco- and mineral-inflected finish. Merlot. Drink now through 2024. Rating: 94 Bruce Sanderson, The Wine Spectator(Sep 2015)
Good full ruby. Initially reduced aromas of coffee and cocoa, with very ripe dark fruit and vanilla notes emerging with aeration. Very savory, rich and dense, with ripe black fruit and herb flavors joined by rising dark currant, mocha, marzipan and mineral elements on the complex finish. Tannins are youthfully chewy. D’Attoma says that Messorio should never be touched for at least two years after bottling as it needs to settle down and smooth out. Although 2011 was a warm year, this is a much better showing for Messorio than was the 2009, another product of a hot year. Rating: 92+ Ian d'Agata, www.vinousmedia.com(Dec 2014)
Cinzia Merli tells me that this vintage was not as hot as initially portrayed. In fact, she says harvest came earlier in 2012 following the summer heat (compared to 2011). The 2011 Messorio is the result of a slightly later growing season that was extended thanks to some cooling rains in June and July. This is a smooth and balanced wine that does not show any of the jammy or overtly sweet notes you get with Merlot in parts of central Tuscany. The bouquet is redolent of cherry, leather, tobacco and plum. There are lingering mineral notes that add definition and focus. Again, this wine shows an excellent quality of tannins with long-lasting softness, silkiness and textural finesse. Drinking range: 2015 - 2025 Rating: 94+ Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate (www.robertparker.com)(Oct 2014)
Initially put onto the wine map by Eugenio Campolmi in 1983, the Le Macchiole estate has been run by his wife Cinzia since 2002. In the heart of 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.
1996 Léoville Barton may be the first thing to catch your eye, but let it wander to a mature Grand Cru from up and coming superstar Stéphan Magnien, and a bottle of the Super Tuscan Merlot Messorio, from Macchiole. A wine which makes the likes of Masseto looks embarrassingly expensive.
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