The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Le Macchiole and Tua Rita

Posted on | June 15, 2015 | Written by David Gwo | No Comments

David Gwo 12.8.14Today our focus will be on Merlot coming from Tuscany’s Bolgheri region. Commonly referred to as one of the “Bordeaux” or “international” varietals, Merlot is one of the main grapes used in the red wine blends in both the Left and Right Banks of Bordeaux, as well as the famed region of Pomerol. Merlot is called an international varietal because, like Cabernet Sauvignon, it appears in many wine-producing regions around the world. Believe it or not, though, there are far fewer examples of exceptional Merlot as a single-varietal wine.

There are three top Italian Merlots coming out of Italy that immediately come to mind, they are: Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Masseto, Tua Rita Redigaffi, and Le Macchiole Messorio. On its own Merlot can be rather mediocre, but a few places do extremely well with the grape, and Bolgheri happens to be one of them. My focus is on the 2009 vintage of Tua Rita and Le Macchiole. 2009 was a great year for the wines of Bolgheri, if you’ve yet to be impressed by Merlot, these bottles will not disappoint. If you can be patient, I’d encourage you to wait a bit before popping their corks; these wies will offer years of drinking pleasure down the road.

Le Macchiole 2009 Messorio $189.00

Le Macchiole is famous for its mono-varietal bottlings. While the estate’s entry-level Bolgheri Rosso is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah, Le Macchiole’s other wines all focus on a single grape, and the Messorio is their flagship 100% Merlot offering. This wine is consistently great in every vintage displaying dark plummy fruit backed by notable structure and notes of earth, chocolate, and spice. This wine always possesses really terrific concentration and enters a great drinking window 5-8 years after the vintage date.

Tua Rita 2009 Redigaffi $299.00

Redigaffi is undoubtedly one of my favorite expressions of Merlot anywhere. The estate only started producing wine in the mid-80’s, but it skyrocketed to wine super-stardom in the ‘90s with this flagship Merlot bottling, which grabbed the attention of major wine critics and publications. I’ve had the pleasure of tasting some back vintages of Redigaffi, and it always impresses for its depth, complexity, and sheer drinking pleasure. If you enjoy full-bodied wines that age gracefully, this is one to have in your cellar!


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