Cinzia Merli’s refinements in the vineyards and cellar over the past several years have coincided with the long and balanced 2019 growing season to produce the most elegant, vibrant and expressive set of wines we have ever tasted from this estate. All three of her single-variety wines are stunning this year (Messorio and Scrio were also highly recommended), but it all started with Paleo, the first red wine that Cinzia and her husband, Eugenio, made back in 1989.
Paleo began as a blend of sangiovese and cabernets sauvignon and franc, blends being the norm in Bolgheri at that time, but Eugenio believed in the potential of cabernet franc and increased the percentage each year. Paleo became Bolgheri’s first pure cabernet franc wine in 2001, the last vintage Eugenio would see before his untimely death in 2002. Paleo’s success has inspired others in the region to work with the variety, and there are now 16 Bolgheri producers bottling single-variety cabernet franc wines. Le Macchiole’s latest release is reminiscent of the stellar 2016 Paleo, highlighting cabernet franc’s best varietal features while showing a bit more richness than the previous vintage. The 2019 Paleo’s flavors of plum and raspberry are pure and piquant, suggesting the fruit was harvested at precisely the right moment. Accents of sweet tobacco, soft leafy herbs and cool graphite enhance the varietal expression of the wine as subtle spice notes emerge on the long, layered finish.
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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