60% Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot with a dollop of Alicante
La Massa is at the bottom of a long, steep drive where a beautiful villa and farm buildings stand in a clump of pine and cypress trees. Here you are, right in the heart of Chianti Classico, in an area known as the Conca d’Or or Golden Basin where four south-facing spurs are occupied by four of Chianti’s top producers. Driving up, down and across the property you pass plots of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet densely planted on a wide range of orientations and soil types. This is the crucial factor in lending great complexity to Giampaolo Motta’s wines while late harvesting gives them beautiful harmony and super-ripe tannins. As for Giampaolo, he is a young, well-travelled Neapolitan. Taking his team on a fact-finding mission to Château Margaux is just on example of the fresh approach he brings to Chianti.
Italy Vintage Guide
The long, cool growing season of 2013 produced aromatic, well-balanced wines, whilst 2012 showed particularly well in Tuscany and in sheltered sites in Piedmont. A warm growing season in 2011 gave powerful wines with ripe tannins in contrast to the cooler season of 2010 which gave fresher wines for midterm drinking. 2009 was another warm year with higher alcohol, ripe tannins and good aromatics. 2008 delivered approachable, soft, elegant wines. This followed the excellent pair of 2007 and 2006. 2005 proved to be a difficult year with erratic weather patterns. Age-worthy, complex wines were produced in 2004 after the hot year of 2003 which seemed to suit Tuscany better than Piedmont. 2001 backwards, through to the latter half of the ’90s, proved something of a run of very good or excellent vintages, in which 1997 stands out, even in this company. 1994 gave lighter, fruity wines (drink up) while 1993 was patchy, 1992 was wet, 1991 was spoiled by rain at harvest, but 1990 was superb, starting the decade on a high.
This generous, fleshy, barrique-aged Tuscan red is from the heart of Chianti Classico, the Conca d'Oro area, but it's a blend of indigenous with international grape varieties – Sangiovese (60%), Merlot (33%) and a seasoning of Cabernet Sauvignon – so it's not Chianti. It's packed with spicy cherry pie and chocolate flavours matched by nicely chewy, fine, ripe tannins. You can drink it now but it will sail through to the end of the decade.
The Wine Gang,
www.thewinegang.com, January 2016
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