Source: jamessuckling.com. Issue Date: Tuesday, October 5, 2021 (JS-95)
Very attractive aromas of currants, spices and sweet tobacco with some graphite and slate. Full-bodied with a rich and rather dense mouth feel, plenty of fruit and a spicy, dark-chocolate aftertaste. A solid and sturdy second wine from Masseto. Try in 2023.
CLIMATE AND VINTAGE
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 veraison 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.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING
Every single lot of the vineyard was vinified separately. The large berry sizes lead us to frequently operate saignees 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 28-30C 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.
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.