99/100 JamesSuckling.com, Oct 2014 "This is a good example of how the 1998 vintage was better in the region of Bolgheri than 1997. It shows superb fruit with berry and chocolate character and hints of nuts and dark fruit. It's still full-bodied with chewy yet polished tannins. This is tight and like a wine 10 years younger. Decant three or four hours before serving."
97/100??RP;??Antonio Galloni, Nov 2011:??"The 1998 is even better. It shares much of the richness of the 1997, but with more delineation and nuance. The wine blossoms beautifully on the mid-palate and finish, with layers of expressive fruit and fabulous overall balance. This is a stunning Masseto. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2018."??
93/100??RP:????Antonio Galloni, Nov 2007:??"The 1998 Masseto is another wine that is drinking particularly well today. It is opulent and expansive on the palate, where it offers plenty of ripe dark fruit along with more advanced notes of tobacco, showing much length and style although the tannins finish slightly hard and dry. 93/Anticipated maturity: 2008-2018.??
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.
Tenuta dell???Ornellaia is without question one of Italy???s blue-chip properties. The gorgeous, sprawling estate is located in Bolgheri in Tuscany???s Maremma. On a recent visit I had the opportunity to taste a number of the estate???s wines with General Manager/Agronomist Leonardo Raspini and Oenologist Axel Heinz, including verticals of the estate???s top bottlings Ornellaia and Masseto."