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Flat front label of wine

Maculan Brentino di Breganze Merlot 1999

Merlot from Italy
    0% ABV
    • WS87
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    0% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Although the grapes are French, Fausto Maculan assures us that the wine is quintessentially Italian. Deep ruby red with garnet reflections, Brentino has a complex bouquet of ripe berry fruit, liquorice and wood. Full-bodied and dry with perfectly balanced acidity. Recommended with hearty pasta dishes, roasted and grilled meats. Drinks well upon release but capable of 6-8 years of aging.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Maculan

    Maculan

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    Maculan, Italy
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    For three generations the Maculan family has been selecting and vinifying the best grapes in Breganze, an enchanting village set like a small jewel at the foot of the Alps in Italy’s Veneto region. The surrounding mountains protect the area from cold winds, creating a perfect microclimate for the cultivation of vineyards. But it is Fausto Maculan’s drive and commitment, rather than any accident of nature, which set these wines apart and distinguish Maculan as an innovative and dynamic winery. Designed by Fausto himself, the winery is one of the most stunning small wineries in Italy, an amazing mixture of ingenuity and style. The new winery provides the theatre for a marvelous combination of antique traditions and modern techniques using the latest winemaking technology. Long-held family traditions are respected: from using specially selected vineyards and the careful selection of the bunches of grapes, to aging in new, small oak barrels and conserving the grapes on racks for the production of Torcolato. The fusion of tradition and innovation results in a selection of fresh and fruity whites, well-structured reds and delicious dessert wines. Designed by Fausto himself, the winery is one of the most stunning small wineries in Italy, an amazing mixture of ingenuity and style. The new winery provides the theater for a marvelous combination of antique traditions and modern techniques using the latest winemaking technology. Long-held family traditions are respected, from using highly selected vineyards and the careful selection of the bunches of grapes, to aging in new, small oak barrels and conserving the grapes on racks for the production of Torcolato. The fusion of tradition and innovation results in a selection of fresh and fruity whites, well-structured reds and delicious dessert wines.

    Named “Oenotria” by the ancient Greeks for its abundance of grapevines, Italy has always had a culture that is virtually inextricable from wine. Wine grapes are grown just about everywhere throughout the country—a long and narrow boot-shaped peninsula extending into the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. The defining geographical feature of the country is the Apennine Mountain range, extending from Liguria in the north to Calabria in the south. The island of Sicily nearly grazes the toe of Italy’s boot, while Sardinia lies to the country’s west. Climate varies significantly throughout the country, with temperature being somewhat more dependent on elevation than latitude, though it is safe to generalize that the south is warmer. Much of the highest quality viticulture takes place on gently rolling, picturesque hillsides.

    Italy boasts more indigenous varieties than any other country—between 500 and 800, depending on whom you ask—and most wine production relies upon these native grapes. In some regions, international varieties have worked their way in, but their use is declining in popularity, especially as younger growers begun to take interest in rediscovering forgotten local specialties. Sangiovese is the most widely planted variety in the country, reaching its greatest potential in parts of Tuscany. Nebbiolo is the prized grape of Piedmont in the northwest, producing singular, complex and age-worthy wines. Other important varieties include Montepulciano, Trebbiano, Barbera, Nero d’Avola, and of course, Pinot Grigio.

    An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

    In the Glass

    Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

    Perfect Pairings

    Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

    Sommelier Secret

    Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

    WBW2050565_1999 Item# 22881