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2002 Ornellaia - Masseto

ITALY / TUSCANY /
  • 90 WA
  • 90 WS
  • 88 IWC
  • Variety
    Merlot
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SKU: 53693-2002-750-3A
  • International Wine Cellar | Rating: 88

    ($230; 100% merlot) Dark, saturated ruby. Perfumed aromas of black cherry, dark chocolate and leather, with pepper and espresso accents. Sweet, bright and nicely focused if politely styled; surprisingly juicy for the vintage, with sound acidity framing the black fruit flavors. Dense and fine-grained, with the chocolate note carrying through on the palate. Finishes with a hint of drying tannins. This boasts good texture and ripe fruit for the year, but I think of it as an excellent merlot, rather than an excellent Masseto. (Folio Wine Company, Napa, CA)
    Author: Ian D'Agata
    Issue: September/October 2006
  • Wine Spectator | Rating: 90

    Aromas of berries and fresh herbs such as basil. Turns to flowers. Medium- to full-bodied, with very silky tannins and a long caressing finish. Beautiful 2002. Better than I remember from barrel. Merlot. 2,750 cases made.
    Author: James Suckling
  • Wine Advocate | Rating: 90

    The 2002 Masseto is a strong effort, made all the more notable given the poor overall quality of the vintage. It presents an herbal profile on the nose along with notes of tobacco, black pepper and white truffle that emerge with some time in the glass. On the palate it is a decidedly slender Masseto, with less concentration than is typical of this wine, but the fruit is vibrant and fresh, the oak well integrated, and it offers much persistence as well as length in a more linear expression of this wine. While the 2002 will never compete with the best Massetos, on an absolute level it is a lovely wine that clearly has the potential to offer some surprises down the road.

    The 100% Merlot Masseto, on the other hand, has proven to be a wine of greater singularity. Its unique, unmistakable personality always comes through, especially in a set of widely diverse vintages, as this vertical attests. The Masseto vineyard measures roughly 7 hectares. Set on a gently sloping hill, the vineyard is divided into three sections which contain different clay-based soil types. The structure of Masseto comes from the central portion of the vineyard (Masseto Centrale), where the terrain is most compact. Towards the upper part of the hillside (Masseto Alto) the soils contain a higher percentage of rocks and thus yield wines that are more aromatic. The lower stretch of the vineyard, known as |Masseto Junior,| is also the most recent to be planted. According to Raspini the fruit from these vines bridges the qualities of the wines from the central and upper portions of the vineyard and thus serves to give Masseto its finesse and balance. There is also a small amount of fruit that comes from the |Vigna Vecchia| plot which is the source of the Merlot that is used for Ornellaia.

    Each parcel is harvested and vinified separately. Fermentation and maceration typically last around 25 days, give or take, depending on the quality of the fruit, after which the wines are moved into 100% new French oak barrels for the malolactic fermentations. The wines spend 12 months in oak prior to being assembled, after which the final blend spends an additional 12 months in oak prior to being bottled.
    Author: Antonio Galloni
  • Self | Rating: 92

    nose of grass, peppercorn and plum. A little young, but soft and rich and smooth. This is one o the finest expression of merlot I have had
    Drink Dates: 2009+
    Author: Ricknat1
A premiere estate located in Tuscany's Bolgheri coast, Tenuta dell'Ornellaia produces the renowned Merlot-based blends Masseto, Ornellaia, Le Serre Nuove, and Le Volte. The unique microclimate and combination of clay in the soil eventually proved ideal, epitomized by the 2001 Masseto, which garnered 100 points from the Wine Spectator. The pinnacle achievement at Ornellaia, the Masseto has developed a cult following for its limited allocation.

Ornellaia, a Cabernet, Merlot, Cabernet Franc blend which debuted in 1985, is the estate's signature wine. Le Serre Nuove, which requires less aging and displays a more fruit forward style, is something of a "second wine" and joins Le Volte, a Sangiovese, Cabernet, Merlot blend, as wines at a younger age.

See other similar producers:Isole e Olena,Fattoria San Giusto a Rentennano

The rolling hills of Tuscany are home to ancient vines that grew wild long before modern times. Sangiovese is the variety of the region's best-known wines, Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti. In recent years, “Super Tuscans"—blends including non-native Bordeaux varieties—have gained in popularity and acclaim. The region's Mediterranean climate, with its warmer average temperatures, provides ideal conditions for the development of rich, structured, and age-worthy wines. 

Merlot is a soft and elegant grape with medium tannin, high acidity, and notes of plum, red currant, tobacco and red cherry. It is typically aged in French oak, which contributes notes of mocha and clove.

Plantings of Merlot dominate Saint-Émilion and Pomerol, making this variety Bordeaux’s Right-Bank beauty. The variety is most famous amongst wine aficionados due to its presence in the world-renowned Château Petrus wine and its important role in Bordeaux blends. The typical style in this region is medium-bodied with medium alcohol and high acidity, fresh fruit character, and vegetal, leafy aromas. This herbaceous flavor profile is achieved by harvesting grapes earlier, a practice that is rare outside of Bordeaux.

In order to generate maximum intensity of color, concentrated fruit, and soft, velvety tannin, most other regions harvest Merlot grapes as late as possible. The best examples of this “international” style are aged in new oak to add flavors of toast, vanilla, and clove.

In Tuscany, Merlot is a key contributor to “Super-Tuscan” blends and is also made in a varietal style by top Italian producers Ornellaia, Tua Rita and Petrolo Galatrona. California producers such as Pahlmeyer, Blankiet Estate, and Pride Mountain are also responsible for some of the world’s best wines made from Merlot. 

Merlot tends to fall in the middle of the spectrum for tannin, color, flavor, and acid, making it a strong match for a wide variety of food. Typical pairings include Cornish hen, roasted chicken, richly sauced dishes, casseroles, and caramelized vegetables.

Collector Data For This Wine

  • 267 bottles owned
  • 57 collectors
  • Average collector rating: 92
    (Out of 57 collectors)