2006 Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Masseto

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Wine Critic Reviews for 2006 Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Masseto

The wine that most delighted me at this historic tasting of Tuscany's most iconic wines was the 2006 Masseto. This is a wine of sheer power, bliss, opulence, infinity and sublime seduction. This Merlot-based masterpiece hits all your senses with the grace of a ballerina and the power of a heavyweight. It is steady on its proverbial feet, but it also glides over the palate with a profound sense of elegance, harmony and rhythm. Among the prized vintages of Masseto, including 2001, 2004 and 2007, this edition is my favorite. The wine delivers an extra sense of tightness or firmness at the back that serves to stitch together its fleshy richness and general sumptuousness. The personality is sunny, expansive, articulate and sophisticated. You'll remember that the 2006 vintage is celebrated for the elegance of its wines. In the coastal Bolgheri appellation, it is also remembered for the power of its wines. You get the best of both worlds with this stunning creation: elegance and power. These traits are particularly well suited to the versatile grape variety at the heart of this Tuscan all-rounder. This is a true Renaissance wine.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 100 RP
I still remember where I was the first time I tasted the 2006 Masseto. Since then, I have tasted the 2006 several times. It has never been anything less than utterly profound. That is once again the case on this night. Readers who are cellaring the 2006 Masseto in magnum will want to wait at least a few years for it to be at its very best. Still, it is magnificent tonight.

Antonio Galloni | 99 AG
This has a special savory character that is fascinating. It shows beautiful aromas of dried fruits, black olives, and brown sugar. Full-bodied with a phenomenal amount of fruit and freshness at the same time. Salty, juicy and fruity. Hard not to drink now. Decant two or three hours before serving. Great potential for aging.

James Suckling | 99 JS
It is perhaps no surprise that very distinctive vintage conditions in 2006 produced such a special wine. A huge drought from mid-April to mid-September saw only 4mm of rain, which was followed by a deluge of 240mm in one weekend. ‘This wine had one of the highest alcohols and highest acidities we had ever seen’, comments Axel Heinz. Perhaps it is this contradiction that makes the 2006 so distinctive. It is brimming with vivid Merlot aromas including ripe red fruit, plums and contrasting green tomato and spice notes. The rich concentration and opulent texture is offset by vivid acidity. Flavours of green olive, spice and black cherry seem to spring to life on the palate. It has all the lush, velvety tannins you would expect of Masseto, but it bursts into life with a lively, slightly wild personality.

Decanter | 98 DEC
Beautiful aromas of perfumes, berries and flowers turn to light toasty oak and sandalwood. Full-bodied, with very well-integrated tannins that build and coat your palate. Long and silky-textured on the finish. Shows great class and finesse. Merlot. Best after 2012. 2,660 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 98 WS
This wine shows growing intensity the longer it stays in the glass and a very silky, polished feel in the mouth. Aromas include red fruit, spice and rosemary: this is a beautiful, balanced wine that will have a long life in your cellar.

Wine Enthusiast | 97 WE

Wine Details on 2006 Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Masseto

More Information
Producer Antinori
Region Tuscany: Italian culture worships the concept of a shared meal, and their wines scream for a chance to be uncorked with your friends and family. The region's Mediterranean climate and hilly landscape combine to create a beautiful viticultural environment, where every chosen grape is brought to its full potential and transmuted into drinks worthy of gods. The vineyards are planted along the higher reaches of the hill slopes, creating a gorgeous view of the Italian landscape.

Once your lips kiss the wine, you're sent spiraling down a veritable whirlpool of pure flavor, touching upon notes of sensuous cherry, nuts, floral hints and undertones of honey and minerals. The wines can be as sweet as a fresh summer romance, and carry an air of dignity and elegance about them that can stimulate your intellect for months as you contemplate the seemingly infinite intricacies and details in the texture. Tuscany is an important part of Italian viticulture, and sampling their wines is the closest you can get to visiting this heavenly region and experiencing the culture.
Subregion Toscana
Country Italy: Italy is renowned as one of the world’s greatest gastronomic havens; from certified Prosciutto di Parma to the sea-side seafood eateries on the island of Sicily. However, this epicurean experience could not possibly be as hedonistic without the ethereal combination of the country’s plethora of fine wines. It seems unfair that a nation should be able to boast, both, some of the world’s greatest cuisine as well as its greatest wines. Italian wine is one of the most sought after in the world, and has become the second most produced in the world, behind only France.



Stretching an impressive 736 miles from northern Italy to the peninsula’s southern tip, the country’s geography generates an enormous array of topography, climate and soil structure. This is an extremely important quality of its winegrowing and making industry which lays claim to nearly 550 different grape varietals, which all desire their own necessities, in terms of terroir and climate.



The still red wines of Italy truly characterize the nation’s vast and expansive terroir; Nebbiolo dominates Piedmont, where Barolo and Barbaresco reign king and queen of the region’s production. Hailing from Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany, the rockstar Sangiovese grape has become synonymous with greatness. Vin Santo sweet wines have taken on a mighty feat of competing with the glorious wines of Sauternes, and of course, Prosecco. Prosecco, located in Trieste (northeast Italy) and its creation of luxuriously effervescent styles of wine has become Italy’s answer to Champagne. The Glera grape variety, which has become synonymous with the name Prosecco, is the main ingredient and is beloved in the appellation where the village of Prosecco’s name has become world renowned.



The blurred boundary between Italy and the countries of Slovenia and Austria, where German influence still resonates through Friuli wines. The prevalence of Riesling and other such grape varietals is high in this region and have become extremely popular on today’s market.



With nearly 702,000 hectares of grapevines covering the massive and diverse landscape, Italy’s annual average of 48.3 million hectoliters of wine production is second only to France in terms of volume and Spain in terms of hectares of vines. The country is vast and overwhelming when it comes to the culinary arts, but perhaps even this is overshadowed by its production of some of the world’s most sought after wines, whether the omnipresent Chianti to the highly collectible and sought after Amarone della Valpolicalla.

Type of Wine Super Tuscans/IGT
Varietal Merlot: With 266,000 hectares (657,300 acres) of vines spanning the planet, Merlot lands in 2nd place among all grape varietals planted in the world. Despite its inability to crack the top spot for most popular grape, it has remained under the radar performing as silent majority in the hallowed soils of its own origin, Bordeaux. Merlot is the most widely cultivated grape varietal in France, dominating the southwest regions, most notably, the Right bank. It is the body, mind and soul of some of the most collectable, influential and revered wines in the world.

Merlot has never had its time in the spotlight; nevertheless, has been quietly supplying the backbone for some of the most prominent wines in the Right Back since the 18th century. Merlot first appeared in French literature in 1784 when a French official claimed the wines produced from ‘Merlau’ (local French Dialect for Merlot) were the finest of its time. It is speculated that the name Merlot is derived from the French word, ‘Merle,’ meaning black bird. Whether the namesake is due to its small, deep black colored berries or the little black birds which had an affinity for the early ripening berries is still unknown. French researchers, using complex DNA fingerprinting technology (first developed by UC Davis) have concluded that Merlot is the offspring of French varietals, Cabernet Franc and Magdeleine Noire.

The Noble Bordeaux Varietal of Merlot thrives in its natural host on the Right Bank of the Gironde estuary, where the terroir is composed of rich clay, sand, limestone and iron deposits; and excels in temperate, Mediterranean, maritime climates. It dominates the vineyards of Pomerol and Saint Emilion, which have bred wines of unrivaled quality such as Chateau Petrus and Le Pin (both 100% Merlot). Merlot eventually infiltrated the Medoc (Left Bank) where it found similar and hospitable soils; ultimately influencing the wines produced there by helping to “soften” the varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Its first appearance in America was documented in 1850 when French nurseryman, Antoine Delmas, brought French vines to the Santa Clara Valley.

Its inhabitance would inevitably spread to terroir hotspots around the world, such as Italy, Spain, Argentina, South Africa and nearly every wine-producing country in the world. The great and world-renowned Christian Mouiex inclined to state that “when the Merlot grape is planted on the proper terroir and harvested at its peak it produces a wine that is characterized as voluptuous, generous and distinctive.”

Merlot may not dwell in the spotlight, nor possess savvy titles like its relative, Cabernet Sauvignon but rather, is the blue-collar of grape varieties, laboring to produce some of the greatest wines in the world. Though Merlot was traditionally considered a secondary and blending varietal (which it is quite successful at) conversely, is quite sustainable and capable on its own. From the illustrious Chateau Petrus in Pomerol, to Pahlmeyer in the famed Napa Valley and on to the Tuscan Legend, Masseto, all of which are composed of 100% Merlot, prove the importance and resilience of the Merlot grape varietal. The magic of Merlot has entranced the world with its subtle, soft, sensuous texture and adaptability as well also its aptitude for producing wines that can age effortlessly for decades.

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