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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Ornellaia Masseto (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2008

Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
  • RP97
  • WS93
0% ABV
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  • RP97
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Winemaker Notes

Masseto 2008 is the expression of a warm vintage, most of it having been harvested in the first half of September. With great concentration, its color is particularly deep and young. The nose is characterized by rich and fully ripe fruit yet without any traces of over ripeness, focused and intense with spicy and mineral notes. On the palate the wine is remarkably dense, concentrated and opulent, with a very pure expression of fruit. The tannins are present and firm giving the wine focus and precision to balance the wine's opulent richness. It is undoubtedly one of the great expressions of Masseto with a great ageing potential.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 97
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2008 Masseto is another huge wine. It boasts tons of energy in a tense, inward style I can only describe as implosive, as if the wine is holding back all of its energy. A deep core of black fruit, grilled herbs, licorice and new leather emerges from time to time, but the tannins are still imposing. There is no shortage of pedigree. I fully expect the 2008 to develop into one of the great Massetos. Needless to say, it will be interesting to taste the 2008 in vertical tastings in the future. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2033.
Rating: 97+
WS 93
Wine Spectator
A dark, extracted red, offering plenty of juicy plum, blackberry and violet notes framed by vanilla and toast. Squarely in the modern camp, yet this works. The tannins are slightly gritty now, but should mesh with time. Merlot. Best from 2014 through 2024. 400 cases imported.
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Ornellaia

Ornellaia

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Ornellaia, Tuscany, Italy
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In 1981, Marchese Lodovico Antinori breathed new life into Tenuta dell' Ornellaia, an estate whose potential had been ignored for decades. With the help of Andre Tchelistcheff, the famous agronomist, Antinori planted the first French vines in Bolgheri, which lies in the heart of Tuscany's coastal region, Maremma. The estate yields some of the finest Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc in Tuscany. In 2002, Marchesi de' Frescobaldi and Robert Mondavi became owners of Tenuta dell'Ornellaia, which is now owned exclusively by Marchesi de' Frescobaldi.

One of the most iconic Italian regions for wine, scenery and history, Tuscany is the world’s most important outpost for the Sangiovese grape. Ranging in style from fruity and simple to complex and age-worthy, as well as in price from budget-friendly to ultra-premium, Sangiovese makes up a significant percentage of plantings here, with the white Trebbiano Toscano coming in second.

Within Tuscany, many esteemed wines have their own respective sub-zones, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The climate is Mediterranean and the topography consists mostly of picturesque rolling hills, scattered with vineyards.

Sangiovese at its simplest produces straightforward pizza-friendly wines with bright red fruit and not much more, but at its best it shows remarkable complexity. Top-quality Sangiovese-based wines can be expressive of a range of characteristics such as sour cherry, balsamic, dried herbs, leather, fresh earth, dried flowers, anise and tobacco. Brunello expresses well the particularities of vintage variations and is thus popular among collectors who like to cellar the same wine over multiple years. Chianti is associated with tangy and food-friendly dry wines at various price points. A more recent phenomenon as of the 1970s is the “Super Tuscan”—a wine made from international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, with or without Sangiovese. These are common in Tuscany’s coastal regions like Bolgheri, Val di Cornia, Carmignano and the island of Elba.

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. But the grape also has enough stuffing to make serious, world-renowned wines. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, in St. Emilion and Pomerol, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, 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 with Cabernet Franc.

YNG113427_2008 Item# 113427