Cinzia Merli and her husband, Eugenio Campolmi, established Le Macchiole in 1983, and built their reputation with a trio of superb varietal reds: Paleo (cabernet franc), Messorio (merlot) and Scrio (syrah). Their strategy went against the trend of Bordeaux-style blends in this region, established with the first release of Sassicaia from the 1968 vintage. In fact, blended reds were the only wines recognized by the Bolgheri consorzio until 2013, even as Le Macchiole’s single-variety wines continued to garner critical acclaim and command premium prices. Paleo, Messorio and Scrio are also highly allocated, which is why those in the know turn to Bolgheri Rosso, Le Macchiole’s sole blended wine. A combination of all four red varieties grown on the estate (merlot, syrah and cabernets franc and sauvignon), the 2021 bottling is a lush and seamless wine, its opulent dark plum and blackberry flavors lifted by scents of thyme and lavender.
Merli’s team harvests the merlot for Bolgheri Rosso around one week earlier than for Messorio: “Our goal is to have merlot grapes with lower sugar and higher acidity,” says Merli, and that freshness is evident in the 2021’s buoyant acidity. After fermenting the varieties separately, the team selects the best lots and makes three different blends, aging 75 percent in barrels and the remainder in concrete tanks before the final blend is assembled. “It’s a big work for us,” Merli acknowledges, which is why she bristles when anyone refers to Bolgheri Rosso as an entry-level wine. The price may make it more accessible than Le Macchiole’s single-variety bottlings, but this is a serious wine that you can happily drink now and over the next five years.
Every week, our editors highlight a wine that intrigued them in our blind panel tastings, expanding on their tasting note in this space. These are entirely editorial choices; there are no paid placements. Subscribers can also access the original tasting note by searching here.
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