Tag Archives: MASSETO

2016: An exemplary vintage reconfirms the legend of Masseto

In Masseto’s thirty-year history, each new vintage is eagerly awaited with the anticipation that this wine deserves.  An anticipation which was fully satisfied with a 2016 which, thanks to a textbook vintage, was able to capture and fully express the distinctiveness of the hill it comes from.

Masseto 2016 is once again a remarkable expression of power and class, of silky concentration, of extremely balanced complexity coming from a vineyard located 120 meters above sea level, only a few kilometres away from the Mediterranean coast and planted on blue clay soils, which are unique in the Bolgheri area.

In the glass, the wine reveals “a particularly intense and young colour, on the nose, the intense aroma of ripe dark fruit blends with subtle notes of cocoa and spices. On the palate, the rich and dense structure of ripe and silky tannins is balanced by a sensual and vibrant fruity note and a lively acidity that creates a long finish that is clean and full-bodied”. This is how Eleonora Marconi describes it, the winemaker of Masseto who works under the directorship of Axel Heinz. A verdict unanimously shared by influential wine critics who reviewed Masseto even before its official release on the market.

After a legendary 2015, it was perhaps ambitious to expect another textbook vintage but 2016 turned out to be highly successful with a dry and sunny growing season, plenty of sunshine and the right amount of rain, which accompanied the grapes to a perfect maturation. After verifying the excellent phenolic potential of the grapes and the balanced sugar/acidity ratio, harvest began on 24 August, starting from the youngest vines/rows and ended on 20 September in the ‘Masseto Centrale,’ section of the vineyard, home to the older vines/plants.

Today Masseto, a wine that has been internationally acclaimed since its inception in the 1980s, has its own winery.  Only the grape receiving area and a farmhouse called ‘Casa Masseto’ are externally visible. It is within the depths of the hill that most of the winery is located. A series of spaces with varying internal volumes, heights and levels that are reminiscent of a sacred place and offer the perfect wine-making and aging conditions for Masseto.

In the heart of the winery lies the ‘Masseto Caveau,’ – the winery’s historical library. Few bottles from each and every vintage are preserved here as the jewels of the winery, suspended inside a stainless-steel mesh. And it is right here where a few bottles of Masseto 2016 have been laid down to age in a perfect environment.

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This April, Masseto has inaugurated its “home” with a wine cellar designed by the architects ZitoMori. Carved deep into the ancient blue clay that underpins the vineyard, the Masseto winery is a physical and symbolic tribute to the Estate’s history and rapid evolution from intuition about the hidden potential of a vineyard site, to internationally acclaimed wine.

Masseto, located on the Tuscan coast close to the small village of Bolgheri, is a wine that was never meant to exist. The potential of the slope where the vineyard now sits was finally seen in the 1980’s, when, against all odds, advice and local tradition, the first vines were planted. Intuition paid off. The blue clay, cooling coastal breezes and abundant refracted light from the Tyrrhenian Sea all contribute to Masseto’s intriguing combination of power, elegance and complexity. Masseto has received international acclaim since its birth in 1986.

The Masseto estate is controlled by the Frescobaldi Family group.

MASSETINO A ‘SECOND VIN’ BORN AFTER THE SELECTION MADE FOR MASSETO

 

Massetino 2017 the ‘second vin’ of Masseto will make its début in October 2019 and will be available to selected accounts in Italy and the US during its first vintage release.

 

“Massetino comes from a strict selection from the estate vineyards made during blending” says Axel Heinz, Estate Director.

 

The 2017 vintage was hot and dry, requiring a very accurate selection. Less Masseto was produced, so it was considered the right moment to bottle Massetino. 

 

Giovanni Geddes, CEO Masseto comments: ‘It seems to be a natural development for the Masseto Estate to produce a ‘second vin’ and the 2017 vintage proved to be the right time to do it.  It is an exciting moment for the Masseto Estate and the new winery provides us with the right environment to pursue this new project’.

 

2017 will be remembered as one of the hottest and driest vintages in recent history. Due to an unusually mild winter with temperatures 3°C above average, budbreak occurred two weeks earlier than usual. Apart from a brief period of cold weather towards the end of April, the entire growing season was dominated by warm and dry weather, leading to a reduced development of the canopy.

As a result, Massetino 2017 represents the characteristics of this vintage: dark in colour with rich and ripe aromatics, dominated by ripe plums and blackberries. The palate is broad and rich, with a remarkable freshness and firmness of structure. 

 

Only a very limited number of bottles have been produced in this first vintage and distribution has therefore been concentrated to selected accounts in Italy and in the US.

THE MASSETO WINERY UNVEILED

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An architectural masterpiece quarried from the blue clay

 

Carved deep into the ancient blue clay that underpins the vineyard, the Masseto winery is a physical and symbolic tribute to the Estate’s history and rapid evolution from intuition about the hidden potential of a vineyard site, to internationally acclaimed wine.

‘The Winery is a tribute to the past, present and future of Masseto. It celebrates the incredible story of a wine that was never meant to exist,’ said Masseto CEO, Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja. ‘Years of planning and effort have been dedicated to building the right home for Masseto. One that consolidates three decades of experience, where every aspect has been designed to meet the winemaking team’s highly detailed requirements.

Technical facilities in the subterranean building, reminiscent of a sacred temple, have been stripped back to low-impact basics. ‘Nothing is missing, and there is no more than necessary,’ said Masseto Estate Director, Axel Heinz. He stressed that winemaking at Masseto, which balances austerity, modernity and tradition, will remain unchanged. ‘Our wine making is about reducing the process, reducing intervention, with a ‘less is more’ philosophy.’

Designed by architects Hikaru Mori and Maurizio Zito of the ZitoMori Studio, the building represents and reinforces Masseto’s discreet but powerful identity. Above ground, only the low lines of the grape reception area and the restored Masseto House emerge from the hill.

Built to incorporate a gravity flow winemaking process, and benefiting from the blue clay’s natural insulation, the structure is symbiotic with the hills and vineyard that surround it. The architects called their underground design concept, The Quarry. ‘To represent the effort required to produce the wine made here, we created a series of spaces – not by construction, but by extraction from the hill’s monolithic mass. The diverse internal volumes, heights and levels are reminiscent of a gold mine as it follows seams of precious metal to the core,’ said Japanese-born architect Hikaru Mori.

Cast-in-place concrete was used for the winery’s architectural framework. Inside, clean lines of glass and steel predominate, balanced by rows of oak barrels. Textured and scored surfaces throughout are a reminder of the extractive construction process, while openings in the walls frame vertical profiles of the vineyard’s inimitable blue clay terroir.

At the very heart of the structure lies the Estate’s wine vault, Masseto Caveau. Bottles of every vintage since 1986 are preserved here, in perfect cellaring conditions, each suspended in its own stainless-steel mesh cradle. There could be no better physical manifestation of the Estate’s history.

The 2018 vintage is the first to be vinified in the Winery, by recently appointed cellar master, Eleonora Marconi.

Masseto, located on the Tuscan coast close to the small village of Bolgheri, is a wine that was never meant to exist. The potential of the slope where the vineyard now sits was finally seen in the 1980’s, when, against all odds, advice and local tradition, the first vines were planted. Intuition paid off. The blue clay, cooling coastal breezes and abundant refracted light from the Tyrrhenian Sea all contribute to Masseto’s intriguing combination of power, elegance and complexity. Masseto has received international acclaim since its birth in 1986. The Estate is controlled by the Frescobaldi Family Group.

 

 

Masseto takes a leading role in the Christie’s Auction in Hong Kong

Masseto takes a leading role in the Christie’s Auction in Hong Kong with Rare Library Releases and an exceptional ‘preview’ of Masseto 2015 in Hong Kong

The ‘Premier Preview Masseto 2015’ lots achieve an equivalent price of € 1,036 per 750ml bottle  

Masseto, Italy’s most collectable estate, is proud to announce the results of the unique lots made available directly from the winery which were auctioned during Christie’s Fine and Rare Wine auction held in Hong Kong on May 26, 2018.

Considered one of the world’s greatest investment wines as rated by the Liv-Ex auction index, nineteen rare Masseto library release lots were offered to collectors directly from the Estate and achieved a grand total of €109,791 in sales, marking yet another crowning achievement for the storied wine.

Featuring rare bottlings (6 x 750ml) of Masseto from vintages 1995-2009, and large formats (Magnum, never-before-released Double Magnums, and extremely limited release Imperial bottles dating back to 1995), bidding was very animated, with collectors eager to secure these exceptional wines of provenance.

In addition, a notable highlight of the Christie’s auction was the world-exclusive ‘Premier Preview Masseto 2015’ section, offering collectors and ‘afficionados’ the opportunity to purchase the highly anticipated release of the 2015 vintage Masseto prior to its official release in Fall 2018. This vintage, considered to be among the most coveted wines ever produced by the Estate since its inaugural vintage in 1987, was offered in eight separate lots which included all bottle sizes produced (750ml, magnum, double magnum, and the extremely rare numbered Imperial bottle (5/80) and Nebuchadnezzar bottle (1/10).  These lots achieved a grand total of €63,177, which translates into €1,036 per bottle equivalent.

Each lot of Masseto 2015 was offered in original wooden cases with metal plates bearing the text ‘Premier Preview Masseto 2015 – Christie’s Hong Kong – May 2018’ and included a special certificate of origin unique to the lot.

Axel Heinz, Masseto Estate Director and Winemaker remembers, “Vintage 2015 will go down in Masseto’s history as one of the great vintages. The almost textbook-like growing conditions produced a wine with a perfect balance between a mature, yet complex, aromatic expression of great freshness and a rare quality of ample, silky and smooth tannins. The dark and intense color is followed by a rich aroma with hints of fully ripe red fruit and spicy, balsamic and cocoa notes. In the mouth, it becomes sensual and rich, with great density and an ample and perfectly smooth tannin. The fruity notes are balanced by the spicy flavour of wood; its fresh and vivid final taste comes to a close with a hint of cocoa. Given the greatness of the vintage this is a wine which will go on developing over decades to come.”

As with regular bottlings of Masseto, each library release wine sold at the Christie’s Fine & Rare Wine auction on May 26, came equipped with the innovative Prooftag™ technology on the neck of each bottle, guaranteeing authenticity and provenance.

‘‘Christie’s are delighted with the strong results for the lots direct from Masseto with 100% of the lots offered selling and particularly the “Premier Preview Masseto 2015” allowing the lucky buyers to secure this fantastic vintage before general release for sale in the autumn. 6 bottles of Masseto 2015 were sold for HK$ 49,000 and a rare Nebuchadnezzar for HK$ 196,000. We sincerely thank the team at Masseto for the partnership for this special auction”.

Tim Triptree, Director and Senior Specialist, Christie’s 

New Winemaker at Masseto: Eleonora Marconi

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Eleonora Marconi as the new winemaker of Masseto, under the supervision of Axel Heinz, Masseto Estate Director. 

Eleonora discovered her passion for wine back in high school, when she trained as a sommelier. From there she began studying for a degree in oenology at the Polytechnic University of Marche in Ancona, Italy, which led to an internship at the famed Frescobaldi Castello di Nipozzano winery and then to a full timeposition as winemaker over a period of 6 years.

born in Italy to an Italian father and Australian mother, Eleonora has a meticulous and thorough approach to winemaking and a true appreciation and respect for terroir.

In addition to her work at Nipozzano in Italy, she has garnered international experience working in the vineyards of South Australia and France. 

Also, she is part of a growing number of women who are making strides in the wine business – an industry once dominated by men.

MASSETO 2014

 

This year will enter the record books as one of the longest seasons and latest harvests ever, in which the unique qualities of the Masseto terroir played a crucial role.

 

 The 2014 vintage will remain one of the most unusual in Masseto’s history. A warm, rainy winter yielded to a mild, dry spring that encouraged normal vegetative development with a timely, even flowering. After normal conditions in July, August turned rainy and cold, making it difficult for the grapes to ripen and significantly increasing the risk of fungal diseases. However, meticulous work carried out in the vineyard throughout August, including leaf-pulling and anti-fungal treatments, allowed the grapes to remain healthy and arrive in excellent condition at harvest in September and October, when the weather was mostly sunny and dry. As always, great terroirs reveal their qualities, and in 2014 the blue clays of Masseto proved their enviable powers, swelling and making the soils impermeable, thus avoiding excessive accumulation of water and consequent dilution of the grapes. During the harvest, the painstaking selection of clusters was essential and some individual vineyard blocks were harvested in up to three separate passes. A rigorousquality-selection was also carried out on sorting tables, so that only sound, perfectly-ripe grapes went into the tanks. .

“Stylistically, the wine displays outstanding balance, with supple, velvety tannins and remarkably complex aromatics,” noted Alex Heinz, Winemaker and Estate Director. “This Masseto expresses a refined sensuality and silk-smooth seductiveness, all in its own distinctively classic, elegant fashion. The 2014 vintage is testimony to the incredible ability of Masseto to cope with adverse weather conditions, thanks as well to the crucial role played by the clay and by the overall natural balance of these vines. All of which amounts a harmonious combination of terroir and human interpretation.”

“This year has been an auspicious one for Masseto,” explained Alex Belson, Director of Masseto. “We have just started excavations into the heart of the Masseto hill to lay the foundations for a dedicated wine production facility that will be ready in time for the 2018 harvest. It has been incredibly exciting to see these blue clays emerge, impermeable and so distinctive, with their mysterious secrets of millions of years”

To offer some specifics regarding processing, the clusters, harvested by hand into 15kg boxes, were selected by hand on a double sorting tables before and after de-stemming, and then gently pressed. A full eight individual vineyard blocks were picked and vinified separately. Fermentations took place in tanks of both steel and wood, followed by a maceration of 15-20 days at a temperature between 25 and 30°C. Malolactic fermentation started in 100% new oak barrels, and the different lots were kept separate for the first 12 months of maturation. The wine was then assembled and reintroduced into the barrels for another year. After bottling, the wine was aged for an additional 12 months prior to release.

Masseto 2013

Vintage 2013 will be remembered as one of the latest harvests in  history with particularly favorable growing conditions for Merlot. 

 

masseto-bottlesThe Masseto vineyard is a unique place with a mosaic of different soils including an exceptional presence of grey clay. The gentle breezes coming off the sea during the warm summer months, the intensity of the sunlight and the specificity of the unique soils, allow the vines to develop and ripen gradually and contribute to granting Masseto its enchanting combination of freshness and ripeness.

Masseto 2013, which is being released in this period,  is once again testimony to the unique alliance of terroir, climate and human talent determining its timeless value. This vintage will be remembered as one of the latest harvests in the history of Masseto to date”. Alex Belson, Director MASSETO

After a dry 2012, winter 2013 was characterized by mild but very rainy weather, which caused a delay in budding of up to 15 days. A cool, rainy spring also led to an irregular, very long flowering period, with  two-week delay compared to the average, which reduced the crop and resulted in uneven development of the grapes. Fortunately the summer, which arrived punctually at the end of June, was perfect, dry and sunny, with a few peaks of heat in July and August. The slow vegetative development was ultimately beneficial because it deferred ripening until after the hottest period. The August storms significantly lowered temperatures, especially at night, which favoured aromatic expression. This however led to a later than average harvest, which started on 12 September with the “Masseto Alto” vineyard parcel and concluded on 25 September with the last parcel of “Masseto Centrale”, with predominantly sunny weather

without excessive heat.

“Masseto 2013 is the result of an overall late, fresh weather during the harvesting period. These are particularly favorable conditions for Merlot, which was able to ripen slowly and completely in sunny weather, without excessive heat. These conditions enhanced full expression of the aromatic qualities and perfect ripening of the polyphenolic content. Intense ruby in colour, the nose immediately reveals fully ripe fruitiness endowed with great freshness and complexity, underlined by delicate notes of vanilla and cocoa. On the palate, the wine is substantial and rich, with great density, and a rare tannic quality of silkiness and smoothness. Black fruit aromas are accompanied by a strong note of freshness and a long, elegant finish, which is prolonged with a delicate hint of cocoa”. Axel Heinz, Winemaker and Estate Director MASSETO

The clusters, hand-picked in 15 kg boxes, were graded and selected by hand on a double sorting table before and after de-stemming, and then gently pressed. Each of the four vineyard blocks was vinified separately. Fermentation took place in either steel or wooden vats, followed by maceration for 15-20 days at a temperature of between 25 and 30°C. Malolactic fermentation was started in 100% new oak barrels, keeping the different lots separate for the first 12 months of maturation. The final blend was subsequently assembled and reintroduced in the barrels for a further year, for an overall  total of 24 months. After bottling, the wine was aged for an additional 12 months prior to release.