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Masseto Toscana IGT 2020 £800.00
Masseto Toscana IGT 2020
In the early 1980s, the first vines were planted on the west-facing clay-rich soils of the Masseto hillside. Geological studies had suggested that this might be a special site and the battles between the celebrated oenologist André Tchelistcheff and the founder to plant Merlot instead of the safer choice of Cabernet Sauvignon are legendary. From the very first harvest, the unique personality of the wines from this vineyard planted along a vein of Plyocene blue clay was clear for all to see (and taste). More than 30 years passed since those initial steps. Since the birth of Masseto, an extremely strict selection of grapes has always been carried out in order to guarantee the highest possible quality.
After a mild and rainy winter, there was a temporary drop in temperatures in March, with a few nights below 0°C just when the vines began to bud in the last week of the month. Fortunately the new shoots were still protected by the downy tissue around the bud, which prevented frost damage. The weather was generally warm during the rest of spring, with normal rainfall, ensuring regular vegetative development until blossoming, which took place between the 20th and 25th of May. A passage of heavy rain towards the middle of June was followed by a very long dry period with a substantial absence of rain and scorching temperatures until the end of August. Veraison took place evenly and quickly between the 20th and 25th of July, triggering the ripening of the grapes under a blazing sun. Rain arrived at the end of August, leading to a considerable drop in temperatures, with overnight lows sometimes falling to 13°C, creating the ideal conditions for completing the ripening of the Merlot grapes. They were harvested early and quickly in order to preserve their freshness as much as possible, and just in time to avoid a sudden week-long heat wave, in which temperatures soared to 37°C. The Merlot harvest was completed on the 14th of September, followed almost immediately by the Cabernet Franc harvest, which ended on the 16th of September.
The grapes were harvested by hand into 15 kg crates. After destemming and gentle crushing, the grapes were transferred to concrete tanks by gravity, without any pumping. Each individual parcel of the vineyard was vinified separately. Fermentation took place spontaneously with indigenous yeasts at temperatures of around 25-28°C, with pumping over two or three times a day and délestages where necessary. The total time spent in the tanks ranged from 21 to 28 days. Malolactic fermentation took place in barriques, with 100% new oak, keeping the various batches separate for the first 12 months of ageing. Subsequently, the wines were blended and returned to barriques for another year, totalling 24 months. After bottling, the Masseto 2020 underwent a further 12 months of bottle ageing before being released on the market.
Masseto 2020 is a wine that has embraced all the key traits of the vintage. It displays excellent concentration both in terms of colour and bouquet. They remain persistent and vivid in the glass without subsiding over time. The potency of this wine returns on the palate with beautiful length and balsamic flavours. The integrity of the tannin reveals the ageing potential typical of Masseto.
96+ Points Robert Parker
The 2020 Masseto now sees new DNA with a touch of Cabernet Franc added to this celebrated Merlot-based icon wine. This is a vintage of enormous richness and density, and everything about the wine is taken up a notch or two (including the bottle glass weight and the 15% alcohol content). But Axel Heinz and his team are well prepared for the hot vintages like 2020, and changes to farming and canopy management ensure even ripening. This wine is always hard to analyze in its youth. It needs many more years to soften and flesh out. Give it time.
*Product excluded from further discounts.