Masseto History and Curiosities :
Masseto is one of the most famous Super Tuscan wines, made entirely from Merlot. It is made by Tenuta dell’Ornellaia and is known for its aromatic complexity, opulent fruit and tannic structure, and is consistently regarded as one of the top wines in the world with auction prices to match. It is classified as IGT Toscana.
The 6.6-hectare (16.3-acre) site, a former clay quarry, was identified by famed enologist André Tchelistcheff as having great potential for Merlot. This is due to its high content of compact clay, particularly in the central portion, with more pebble- and sand-based soils in the upper and lower portions. The vineyard is managed in small plots and, despite its modest size, the harvest can take up to a month.
After grape selections before and after de-stemming, Masseto’s fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The base wines are then aged in medium-toast French oak barrels for about a year, with barrels unsuitable for the final blend discarded. After blending, the wine is aged for another year.
Masseto was first released in 1984 to immediate acclaim. Today, production totals around 35,000 bottles a year. As with Ornellaia, Masseto has been owned by the Frescobaldis since 2005, and Michel Rolland has been consultant since the death of Tchelistcheff in 1994.