The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2010

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Page 28 of 104

CEllAR FOCUS Super Supertuscan I by Anthony Dias Blue t’s startling to realize that the Supertuscan movement, responsible for the “newfangled” wines that launched a handful of winemakers into the stratosphere of cult celebrity, is now well over three decades old. Wines that were once shocking in their daring use of French varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are now considered iconic Italian masterpieces revered as much as Italy’s more traditional Brunellos, Barberescos and Barolos. Every novice wine geek knows Sassicaia and Ornellaia, at least by name if not by flavor profile. But there’s a somewhat less publically recognized name among Supertuscans that dates back to the earliest days of the movement and is every bit the equal of those more talked-about labels: Le Macchiole. The visionary Eugenio Campolmi bought the vineyard called Le Macchiole in 1975. Realizing that the “sweet spot” for viticulture in the coastal Bolgheri region was further inland, he replanted his vines in 1983, later hiring the celebrated enologist Vittorio Fiore as a consultant. When Campolmi passed away tragically in 2002, at the young age of 40, his wife Cinzia Merli took over the estate, aided by her brother Massimo. Today, Luca D’Attorna, who has been at Le Macchiole since 1991, is the winemaker. The estate makes five wines. Paleo Rosso was originally a Cabernet Sauvignon-Sangiovese blend, but Campolmi believed, correctly, that Cab Franc was the better fit for his particular terroir; Paleo Rosso became the first wine in Bolgheri to be made entirely from Cabernet Franc. Paleo Bianco is a Sauvignon- Chardonnay blend. The Merlot called Messorio and the Syrah called Scrio are 100 percent varietals, while the Bolgheri Rosso is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Syrah. Cinzia Merli, owner of Le Macchiole. I was recently able to taste five of the recent releases at one memorable sitting. Here are my notes: Le Macchiole 2006 Paleo Bianco, Toscana ($70) Smooth, lush and peachy with soft, rich floral notes; creamy, rich, unctuous. 70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Chardonnay. 90 points Le Macchiole 2004 Paleo Rosso, Toscana ($120) Smooth and rich with notes of chocolate and ripe plum and cassis. Complex but elegant; stunning and intense with remarkable balance. 100% Cabernet Franc. 95 Le Macchiole 2005 Paleo Rosso, Toscana ($120) Silky and balanced with ripe plum and lively acid- ity. Chocolate and classic flavors of spice and deep cassis and ripe herbs. 100% Cabernet Franc. 92 Le Macchiole 2005 Scrio, Toscana ($180) Smooth and spicy with ripe black- berry, spice, chocolate with ripe flavors and deep, complex style; very three- dimensional. 100% Syrah. 93 Le Macchiole 2005 Messorio, Toscana ($325) Smooth,velvety and luscious with ripe plum, chocolate and spice; rich but beautifully balanced and complex with a long, long finish and stunning texture. 100% Merlot. 95 Le Macchiole is imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates 28 / the tasting panel / august 2010 LE MACCHIOLE iS AMonG THE iTAliAn EliTE . PHOTO COURTESY OF LE MACCHIOLE

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