Tenuta dell&

Tenuta dell'Ornellaia "Massetino" Toscana IGT 2018
(Tuscany, Italy)

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Notes from the Winemaker:
Harvested under ideal conditions, the vintage 2018 is characterized by its particularly harmonious and balanced profile. Massetino shows a dark, purple-tinged ruby colour. The nose is very expressive, dominated by vibrant and ripe cherry fruit, spicy and balsamic overtones and a touch of toasty oak. The palate is elegant, with a seamless and silky texture, polished tannins that support a bright and pure expression of fruit. The finish shows hints of vanilla that lead into a minerally sensation of freshness.

After the drought vintage 2017, winter 2018 seemed to indicate that things were getting back to the norm, with cold weather and even a few days of snow which we had not seen for years. Things changed quickly from march onwards with one of the rainiest springs in Masseto’s history. At the same time temperatures, particularly in April, were higher than average, which led to a rapid vegetative growth, culminating in flowering which occurred one full week earlier than normal. Precise timing and presence of all our workforce was required to keep pace with the vines and operate shoot thinning and positioning of the canopy. While temperatures came back to the norm in May, the high amount of rain created a high level of disease pressure, especially for downy mildew, which put the nerves of vine growers to the test for the rest of the growing season. Only through perfect organization and the meticulous work carried out in the vineyard during the few days without rain, was it possible to keep canopies and grapes healthy.

In July mostly sunny and warm weather allowed for a little rest before véraison stepped in timely around the 22 July. August was warm with a bit of rain around the 15th, which prevented the appearance of any major hydric stress. Sugars and acidity moved at a slow pace while berry sizes grew a bit more than usual.

Harvest started on 31st August with the youngest gobelet-trained vines and then stopped for one week until we started picking the older vines from the 6th September onwards. Differences between parcels within Masseto were particularly marked, leading to a very long harvest that was concluded only on 4th October and yielded 9 different vinification lots.

Every single lot of the vineyard was vinified separately. The large berry sizes lead us to frequently operate saignées on the tanks. At the same time, it was important to extract softly to avoid any rusticity in the tannic structure. The innovations we put into Masseto’s new cellar proved to be extremely helpful in this. The use of gravity flow to fill the tanks perfectly preserved the integrity of the fruit, while the conical shaped concrete tanks allowed us to extract gently with a limited amount of pump overs and extend maceration times for up to four weeks at a temperature of 28-30°C

Malolactic fermentation took place in barrels, with 50% new oak. After the first 12 months of ageing the wine was blended and racked back to its barrels for a further 3 months, before bottling. The wine then remained in the bottle until release in October 2020.

Ratings & Reviews

96 Points - James Suckling (2017 Vintage):
"This new second wine from Masseto is extremely exciting with black-olive, rust, brown-sugar and dark-berry aromas. Full-bodied, chunky and structured with blackberry and salty undertones. Chewy yet polished tannins. It’s a substantial wine with lots of fruit and alcohol, due to the very dry and hot growing season, but it’s still fresh and vivid. Drinkable now, but better after 2023." - (27 Jun, 2019)

95+ Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (2017 Vintage):
"Now that Masseto has a new home, a dedicated winery slash temple, it makes perfect sense that the brand would introduce a sibling wine. We had been hearing stirrings regarding the possible release of a second Masseto wine, and indeed the Masseto 2017 Massetino was born at about the same time the stunning new winery was unveiled. All these exciting changes lined up perfectly, making 2019 an important milestone year for the brand. I know that some critics have commented that Masseto didn't need a Massetino, the implication being that a second wine could distract from the main attraction and give the entire operation a more commercial air. I would disagree. Not only does this addition make a perfect companion, Massetino holds its own. Masseto is famously 100% Merlot, and Massetino is 92% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc, a grape that has been showing spectacular results on this stretch of the Tuscan Coast. The addition of the Cabernet Franc gives this wine a very different personality, and it beautifully draws out the wine's high tones or the more lifted aromas of black olive spice and crushed aspirin or mineral that immediately catch your attention at the back of the usual black cherry, spice and tobacco. This wine is more playful and ultimately more fruit-driven, with less fruit weight. The Merlot comes from the same blue clay soils that distinguish Masseto, and the wine sees a less intensive oak regimen. You sense this in the freshness of the aromas, the elegant weightless quality of the mouthfeel and the softer tannins. Both steel and oak fermenters are used for brief skin maceration before going into barrique for 15 months, followed by an additional nine months in bottle. In all honesty, I would gladly go with Massetino over Masseto if I devilishly intended to drink the whole bottle. While Masseto can sometimes be too much, Massetino is just right. Welcome to a beautiful new world, young Mr. Massetino." - Monica Larner (21st May 2020)

95 Points - Vinous (2017 Vintage):
"The 2017 Massetino is the first release for Masseto's new second wine, and it is a total stunner. All of the opulent radiance of Masseto is present, but Massetino has less tannin and overall structure, both of which will make it easy to drink upon release. A dollop (6-7%) of Cabernet Franc adds quite a bit of dimension. In fact, tasting Massetino made me wonder if one day Masseto itself might include some Franc, as that grape brings such gorgeous aromatic brilliance to blends. For now, though, Massetino is a beautiful wine to enjoy on its own terms. Black cherry, chocolate, licorice and sweet spice all build into the effortless finish. Massetino is a very serious second wine. In fact, I wouldn't even call it a second wine at all. " Antonio Galloni - (Mar 2020)

93 Points - Wine Spectator Magazine (2017 Vintage):
"A lush, velvety red, this delivers ripe plum, black cherry, cedar, spice and subtle chocolate aromas and flavors. Dense and solidly built, with enough acidity to stay balanced and focused on the finish. Should gain a little with short-term aging. Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2021 through 2033. 75 cases imported." - BS

Wine Enthusiast Magazine (2017 Vintage):
"Aromas evoking cocoa, violet, toast and baked plum slowly take shape in the glass. While the name translates to “Little Masseto,” this ripe brawny wine is anything but little, evoking roasted coffee bean, ground clove, coconut and dried cherry set against assertive, close-grained tannins. It reflects the extreme heat of the vintage, with scorching alcohol that dominates the clenching finish and throws it off balance. Give the tannins a few years to unwind. Kerin O’Keefe" - (5/1/2020)