We have advised some degree of caution when considering offers on the more mixed 2014 vintage and suggested that it was worth keeping your powder dry for selective 2013s that are released onto the market later.
There is no doubt about it: 2013 is an impressive vintage for Tuscany. It was not all plain-sailing as early season conditions were mixed; it was a cool and wet up until July when near perfect conditions kicked in for three straight months. Harvest was in line with what might be termed a normal vintage, beginning in late September/ early October. The vintage differs in style from the with the bolder 2012s and headier, and more irregular, 2011s, which were both the product of hotter vintages. In general, the 2013s have a fine freshness and balancing acidity with silky fine tannins which makes for an elegant impression.
Those regions situated along the northern coastline of Tuscany clearly excelled in 2013. It is here where we find wines produced from varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. The standard bearers for the Bolgheri district of Sassicaia and Ornellaia already garnered strong reviews when they were released last year, but what is perhaps most striking is the steps forward taken by estates such as Le Macchiole, which we offer below. Bolgheri is no longer a two horse race.
Cinzia Merli’s impressive estate has enjoyed a strong run of vintages. Merli is not someone to sit on her hands and she is intent on fine-tuning the estate’s production, whether it be reducing the impact of oak on the resultant wines or focusing on increasing the quality of fruit produced across her 22 hectares of vineyard. It is one of the oldest estates in the region, having been established in 1983. It rapidly shot to fame when the region was relatively unknown on the wine map and since then, their reputation has been elevated still further, with impressive reviews for its trio of single varietal wines, namely Messorio (Merlot), Paleo Rosso (Cabernet Franc) and Scrio (Syrah).
Antonio Galloni gives a glowing endorsement of Cinzia Merli’s estate:
‘In a region that is increasingly dominated by deep-pocketed owners and glamorous wineries, Le Macchiole stands out for decidedly artisan wines that reflect more human values than is often commonly found in this part of Tuscany.’
Like Galloni, I am hugely impressed by the quality and sophistication of the wines of Le Macchiole. I have tasted and enjoyed a number of past vintages, largely of Messorio and Paleo Rosso, and yet I am certain that quality is higher today than it ever was in the past. The Paleo Rosso is a case in point, a wine that has highlighted the potential for Cabernet Franc to excel in the region. There is currently some excitement about this variety in Bolgheri; it achieves terrific ripeness but retains poise and elegance, with silky fine tannins. In short, these are remarkably detailed pure wines and in a vintage like 2013, they deserve to be snapped up.
2013 Messorio, Le Macchiole
97 points, Antonio Galloni
£590 per 6 bottle case in bond
The 2013 Messorio is the highlight in this range of new releases from La Macchiole. Ample and flamboyant on the palate, the 2013 exudes depth. The 2013 is naturally quite primary at this stage, but it will be magnificent with a few years in bottle. Messorio has a way of becoming exotic and visceral over time. Today, the 2013 is at the very early stages of that journey. Drink 2020-2033.
2013 Paleo Rosso, Le Macchiole
96 points, Antonio Galloni
£295 per 6 bottle case in bond
The 2013 Paleo Rosso is super-expressive from start to finish. Soaring Cabernet Franc aromatics make a strong first impression. Mocha, espresso, plum, chocolate and savory herbs give the 2013 tons of aromatic intrigue, but there is plenty of textural depth to back things up. A deep, sensual wine with striking fruit purity, the 2013 Paleo Rosso will drink well for a number of years. Best of all, the 2013 is a terrific expression of Franc on the Tuscan coast in a late-ripening year. Drink 2020-2033.
Please let us know of your interest. Limited volumes available.
To request a wine, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Atlas team. We can be reached on +44 (0)20 3017 2299, firstname.lastname@example.org or by submitting the form below. Please note that stock may be limited and is always sold on a 'first come, first serve' basis.