Masseto 2017 is certainly a child of its vintage, that has managed to encapsulate all the ripeness and concentration of a particularly sunny and dry vintage. The colour is almost black, the nose reveals a rich and ripe expression of concentrated black fruit, with hints of spices and liquorice. On the palate the wine manages to combine great intensity and ripeness of fruit with a remarkable sense of balance and freshness. The tannins are densely knit, the texture velvety, the finish shows lingering fruitiness and a vibrant acidity giving a final touch of freshness. Although it comes from one of the warmest vintages, 2017 can be considered a very typical Masseto in its unmistakeable combination of richness and elegance.
Climate and vintage
2017 will be remembered as one of the hottest and driest vintages in recent history. Due to an unusually mild winter with temperatures 3°C above average, budbreak occurred two weeks earlier than usual. Apart from a brief period of cold weather towards the end of April, the entire growing season was dominated by warm and dry weather, leading to a reduced development of the canopy. Flowering and fruit set went well, but due to the lack of water cluster and berry sizes stayed small. July and August stayed hot and virtually without rain, but fortunately with sufficiently cool nights to allow the vines to recover from the heat and continue to ripen the fruit without shutting down, maintaining excellent levels of acidity in the grapes. Harvest started early and was the fastest ever, only three days of picking between the 24th and 30th August. Given the particular conditions, the grapes were picked rather by vine age than by single vineyard, yielding only four different lots.
Vinification and ageing
The bunches, hand harvested in 15kg crates, were selected by hand on a double sorting table before and after destemming and then subjected to soft crushing. Fermentation took place in both steel and concrete tanks, small portions of vineyards in barrel. Given the small berry sizes and great concentration of fruit, extractions were kept as soft as possible, with few pump-overs and low temperatures of maximum 25°C, to keep the flavours fresh and vibrant. Maceration times were kept on the lower side, total stay in tank never exceeded 21 days. Malolactic fermentation began in 100% new oak barrique barrels, while keeping the various lots separate for the first 12 months of ripening. Subsequently, the wine was blended and reintroduced once again into the barrels for another year, for a total of 24 months. As usual, Masseto 2017 was given another 12 months in bottle before being released on the market.