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CLIMATE AND HARVEST    The 2010 growing season will be remembered for being one of the latest in recent years. From budbreak on, in fact, the growth stages were some 10 days behind normal, and that slow pace continued through to the harvest. A rainy spring was followed by a hot, dry Summer, which favoured optimal development of the clusters. A few rain showers interrupted the harvest in September, but adequate dry, sunny periods allowed the fruit to fully ripen. Painstaking vineyard management, and careful leaf-pulling in particular, ensured that the grapes were sound and healthy. Cool nights encouraged fine development of aromatic compounds, with the grapes displaying remarkably crisp fruit and floral qualities.

Picking began in mid-September and concluded on 12 October with the late-ripening varieties.

VINIFICATION AND AGING    Harvest started on 14 September, with the youngest vines of ‘Masseto Junior’ and ‘Masseto Isola’ and was concluded on 4 October with the left section of ‘Masseto Centrale’; that concluding date was the latest ever in the history of Masseto, yielding a total of five different vinification lots. The clusters were hand-picked into 15-kg boxes and then graded and selected by hand on a double sorting table, before and after destemming, and finally carefully crushed. Each single vineyard block was vinified separately.

Fermentation took place in both steel and oak, followed by a 15-20 day maceration at 25-28°C. The wine then began malolactic fermentation, in new oak barriques. Each individual lot was matured separately for the first 12 months.

The wine was then assembled and returned to the barriques for an additional year, for a total of 24 months. After bottling, the wine aged a further 12 months prior to release.

WINEMAKERS NOTES    The relatively cool 2010 growing year yielded a wine that is remarkably elegant and with superb, complex aromatics. The colour is dense and near-opaque, while the nose boasts intense, deep fruit backgrounded by delicate spice and a vein of crisp minerality. If the palate may be somewhat less opulent than in warmer years, it displays an impressively-dense suite of firm tannins that seem to linger forever. The equally-lengthy finish conveys elegant notes of toast and chocolate. A great Masseto, graceful and elegant, but with its accustomed magnificence.

Tasted May 2013
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