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Le Macchiole Paleo 2005

Cabernet Franc from Tuscany, Italy
  • W&S95
  • WS93
  • RP93
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Winemaker Notes

Named for the vineyard of its provenance, Paleo Rosso is the flagship wine for Le Macchiole and was the first wine in Bolgheri to made entirely from Cabernet Franc. Ruby red with violet flecks, its red fruit aroma offers notes of yellow and black pepper, tobacco, and nutmeg. Clean on the palate, it finishes with elegant minerality, ripe fruit, and a hint of balsamic.

Critical Acclaim

W&S 95
Wine & Spirits

Cabernet franc seems so well adapted to the soils at Le Macchiole that it’s impossible to separate the land from the grape. Grown in a mix of limestone and chalk, with rocks, sand and clay, this '05 seamlessly combines savory, ferrous tannins with fresh black-and blueberry flavors. It’s cool and dark when first poured, that darkness offset by high notes of fresh mint. With air it becomes full and broad, the coolness a textural component that feels like silk pulled tightly across a sheet of iron. It’s a beautiful wine, with abundant complexity and flawless integration.

WS 93
Wine Spectator

Decadent aromas of berries, meat and earth follow through to a full body, with velvety, rich tannins, a long, flavorful finish and a coconut and berry aftertaste. Impressive. Cabernet Franc. Best after 2011. 2,000 cases made.

RP 93
The Wine Advocate

The 2005 Paleo (Cabernet Franc) is impressive. Wild herbs, roasted coffee beans, new leather, minerals and dark fruit emerge from this long, refined wine. Although the intensity tapers off slightly on the mid-palate, this is an absolutely gorgeous wine loaded with style and personality. Still tightly wound, it needs further bottle age to reach its peak. It is arguably the most successful of the estate's 2005s. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2017.

Le Macchiole releases its wines later than most estates on the Tuscan coast, so readers will find the 2004s in the market, while the 2005s are due to arrive this Fall. Proprietor Cinzia Merli and long-time oenologist Luca D-Attoma have turned out a glorious set of 2004s. The 2005 vintage proved to be much more challenging as the damp, fresh growing season made it hard to achieve full ripeness. These are pretty wines, but they aren't quite at the level of the estate's finest efforts.

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Le Macchiole

Le Macchiole

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Le Macchiole, , Italy
Le Macchiole
Long before it was fashionable, Eugenio Campolmi saw the potential of his homeland, buying his first vineyard in Bolgheri in 1975 baptised "Le Macchiole". In 1987, he hired famed oenologist Vittorio Fiore as a consultant before the later was joined by Luca d'Attoma for years later. In contrast to his renowned neighbors who focused on Bordeaux blends, Campolmi focused on achieving the purest expression of individual varieties, crafting distinct wines of unprecedented quality. Soon Le Macchiole joined Sassicaia, Ornellaia, and Guado al Tasso as one of the most prestigious estates in Bolgheri. Following Eugenio's death in 2002, his wife Cinzia Merli, who shares her husband's passion, took over at the estate. Working with Luca D'Attoma, she has carried on her husband's legacy by continuing to make great Tuscan wines.

A long and narrow valley producing flavorful red, white, and pink wines, the Rhône is bisected by the river of the same name and split into two distinct sub-regions—north and south. While a handful of grape varieties span the entire length of the valley, there are significant differences between the two zones in climate and geography as well as the style and quantity of wines produced. The Northern Rhône, with its continental climate and steep hillside vineyards, is responsible for a mere 5% or less of the greater region’s total output. The Southern Rhône has a much more Mediterranean climate, the aggressive, chilly Mistral wind, and plentiful fragrant wild herbs known collectively as ‘garrigue.’

In the Northern Rhône, the only permitted red variety is Syrah. In the appellations of St.-Joseph, Hermitage, Cornas, and Côte-Rôtie (where up to 20% Viognier may be co-fermented), it produces savory, peppery wines with telltale notes of olive, bacon fat, and smoke. Oily, perfumed whites are made from Viognier in Condrieu and Château-Grillet, while elsewhere only Marsanne and Roussanne are used, with the former providing body and texture and the latter lending nervy acidity. The wines of the Southern Rhône are typically blends, with the reds often based on Grenache and balanced by Syrah, Mourvèdre, and an assortment of other varieties. All three northern white varieties are used here, as well as Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourbelenc, and more. The best known sub-regions of the Southern Rhône are the reliable, wallet-friendly Côtes du Rhône and the esteemed Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Others include Gigondas, Vacqueyras, and rosé-only appellation Tavel.

Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.

In the Glass

At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.

LATPALEO_2005 Item# 99244

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