Massetto, Tuscany

If there is one winery in Tuscany that contends with the chateaux in Bordeaux and Burgundy, it has to be Masseto. It even sells a large proportion of its production through Bordeaux wine merchants. Set under the sunny Bolgheri region of Italy, Masseto’s iconic vineyard stretches across a gently sloping valley, where greyish-blue clay lies underfoot and the Tyrrhenian Sea ricochets light across the vines.

It wasn’t until last year that Masseto finally opened its own winery. Before that, the wine was produced from its vineyards in the cellars of Bolgheri’s famous estate of Ornellaia, which also shares the same owners, the Florentine Frescobaldi family.

On par with the best in Bordeaux and Burgundy, Masseto’s reputation soars with each passing vintage, and its continued success is a testament to Italy’s wine-making expertise. When Masseto emerged in the late 1980s, the Tuscan region was just gaining its momentum, hot off the heels of the successful introduction of Super Tuscan wines by renegades such as Sassicaia (founded by Antinori’s cousin). Adding to this wine revolution, the unconventional decision to pursue merlot – as opposed to more obvious cabernet sauvignon – served as a catalyst for independent winemakers across the country.

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