Robert Parker 97P
The 2013 Masseto paints a glorious picture of Tuscany. It captures an inspired moment in time and walks an impressive tightrope between power and elegance. In my preview tasting last year, I noticed the firm textural richness of the 2013 vintage and the crystalline sharpness of its aromas. Thanks to 12 additional months of bottle aging, that impression is evermore constant and concrete. The focus is there, yet the wine has also fleshed out and put on more velvety definition especially in terms of mouthfeel. It wears its pedigree with pride, but most importantly it offers the balance and integration to promise a long and healthy aging future. The 2013 vintage follows closely on the heels of the impeccable 2006 and 2010 vintages in terms of cellaring potential. This is definitely a bottle that should interest collectors.
Welcome to a whole new world of Masseto. Italy's most famous Merlot is about to enter a new chapter in its already legendary chronology. As I made my way through the beautiful drive that cuts through the vineyards of Tenuta dell'Ornellaia on the way to the winery, I could not help but notice the giant yellow crane looming large in the distance over by the celebrated Masseto single-vineyard. Finally, we have solid proof that the much-anticipated Masseto winery is soon to become a reality. The various shareholders behind Ornellaia (including the Spi Group, Frescobaldi and Mondavi) have long desired to spin off Masseto as its own brand, thus making Ornellaia and Masseto two independently operating entities under the single winemaking direction of Alex Heinz. As you will notice, I have honored the winery's request to list Tenuta dell'Ornellaia and Masseto separately in this report. Plans to build a winery and tasting space dedicated solely to Masseto were initially approved in 2006 but have since been modified in later years to include 1,200 extra square meters of workspace that could potentially house a 10 percent increase in bottle production, according to local media reports. As it stands now, Masseto makes from 30 to 33,000 bottles of its namesake Merlot. Various media outlets report the new winery price tag at between 8 and 13 million euros. During my visit, Alex offered some description of the new winery saying it would be mostly underground and virtually hidden from view, reflecting many of the aesthetic choices already embodied at the Ornellaia winery. The Milan-based architectural studio Zitomori came up with the design that represents a collaboration between a Japanese and an Italian architect. As the monumental 2013 vintage hits the market, we can raise our glasses to a new beginning at Masseto.