Masseto has pulled off back-to-back home runs. This is the first time that an Italian wine has earned 100 points in successive vintages. The 2016 Masseto is a thunderstorm of emotions, but it manages to keep them under perfect control. Like the 2015 Masseto before it, this vintage is a seamless wine of the highest pedigree. It represents an encore performance, continuing the string of successes that is bringing Italy to the forefront of the wine world. The first thing you'll notice is the thickness and concentration of the fruit that makes an immediate impact on all the senses, in terms of appearance, aroma and mouthfeel. There is no overstating the sheer power and richness of this iconic vintage of Italy's groundbreaking Merlot. Despite that considerable mass, this Masseto remains delicate and graceful. You gain better perspective as the wine opens in the glass and reveals deeper layers that were not immediately apparent on first nose: dark fruit, spice, sweet tobacco and black cherry. There is great tightness and laser focus to the fruit. I tasted the 2016 and 2015 vintages together for comparison when I scored this wine, and then I tasted this 2016 edition alone about a month later to confirm my impressions. These vintages are identical twins, two perfect wines.
So intense on the nose already with black olives, blackberries, blueberries and spices. Hints of sea salt. Full-bodied, yet so tight and refined. The texture is extraordinary. Character on the palate mirrors the nose, showing the same, incredible length and complexity.
This is so solid and powerful with incredible vertical dense that goes down and down on the palate. Compacted and thick with caressing and polished tannins that are powerful yet refined. Super concentration yet agile and energetic. This is a wine that needs time to come together and resolve all of its amazing components. Reminds me of the legendary 2001. Try after 2023.
Tasted from barrel, we can expect this wine to be released in October of next year. The 2016 Masseto is a super star. This wine may just give us an encore performance of the utter perfection and profound beauty displayed in the 2015 edition. These two vintages are very similar in their intensity, depth and dazzlingly intricate aromatic performance. The main difference between 2016 and 2015 is that 2016 has a hair more acidity. You don't actually taste the difference, but that freshness puts a sharper lens on the focus and character of the fruit. Dark berries peel off to reveal smoke, crushed stone, slate and exotic spice. My sample was very open and expressive when I tasted it the last week of August 2018. It is expected to retreat. Masseto goes through a closed period that lasts until before its scheduled release. So, as it turns out, I tasted this barrel sample at an ideal moment. I cannot wait to check its progress next year.