97pts Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The Masseto 2017 Masseto puts on another exhilarating, knock-out performance for the third year in a row. The Masseto vineyard is a triangular-shaped plot tucked in at the back of the same property that houses the Ornellaia vineyards and winery. This special site is located at the base of the mountains that rise gently from the Tyrrhenian Sea, with the picturesque silhouette of the Castiglioncello castle at the top. The vines are planted at an altitude of 80 to 100 meters above sea level in blue clay soils that are unique to Bolgheri. That ideal position opens the vineyards to soft breezes, proximity to the sea, long daylight hours and cool diurnal shifts from the protective wall of low mountains at the back. It's a little garden of Merlot Eden. The center of the vineyard now is home to the new Masseto winery and an adjacent tasting room built into a pre-existing farmhouse. This wine was made in the old winery (the existing Ornellaia winery). Fermentation kicks off in a combination of steel and oak tanks before the wine is racked over to barrique, where it rests for two years. The wine then goes into bottle for 12 months before its release. Like most vintages of Masseto tasted this early in the game, the oak is omnipresent, and it grounds the wine in terms of texture and structure. It is powerful, but that's always the case with Masseto (this vintage records a 15.5% alcohol content). I tasted this wine next to the decidedly more playful Massetino, and the Masseto moves over the palate with substantial fruit weight and concentration gained over the course of this hot and dry growing season (which produced smaller, richer and more compact berries). Perhaps, what this vintage lacks is that profound varietal character that we saw in recent vintages like 2016 and 2015. If concerned that the hot vintage would draw out too many ripe fruit tones, the oak serves to soften some of the more volatile components of the fruit. Those distinctive notes of macchia mediterranea (wild bush) that I always associate with Masseto are less present in this vintage. You feel the oak tannins on the finish with toast and vanilla that will certainly shed as the wine ages. In fact, I went back to taste the wine 12 hours later, and they had already softened considerably.
This is luscious, think Le Pin rather than Petrus if you are comparing to a Pomerol. The layers of spice are clear and distinct, from pepper to saffron to cloves, extremely rich but with an upward swing of acidity that keeps it gripped on to its base, and delivers the power and seduction of Masseto. An excellent vintage taking the extreme drought of the summer in its stride, proof of the exceptional location of this property. There are plenty of finely tuned tannins, but you have to wait until you are halfway through the palate before they start to build in intensity, so well brushed and supple they are at first. One to savour, for sure. 100% new oak. 24 months in barrel then another 12 months in bottle before being released from the estate.
The 2017 Masseto is fabulous. A wine of tremendous inner perfume and sensuality, the 2017 dazzles from start to finish. Although not the most potent or structured Masseto, the 2017 impresses with its breathtaking finesse. The flavors are vibrant and remarkably pure from start to finish. Blackberry jam, bittersweet chocolate, spice, lavender and licorice all come alive in the glass. I have a hard time thinking of a Masseto with this much sheer allure at the outset. Masseto has so often been a wine of impact, but the 2017 says it all with finesse. It spent 22 months in 100% new oak, a bit less time than is typical, and finished its aging in tank, decisions taken to preserve as much freshness as possible. Drinking window: 2025 - 2042. Rating: 97+
96pts Jeb Dunnuck
The 2017 Masseto is another stunning wine from this benchmark estate, and along with Petrus, they fashion one of the greatest expressions of Merlot out there. The 2017 reveals a deep ruby/purple hue as well as a captivating bouquet of ripe black cherries, currants, dried herbs, leather, spicy oak, and tobacco, with even a touch of forest floor coming through with time in the glass. Concentrated, medium to full-bodied, and structured on the palate, it has loads of minerality, a seamless texture, ripe (yet certainly present) tannins, and a great finish. While it shows the sunny style of the vintage aromatically, it's tight and backward on the palate and in need of 4-5 years of bottle age. It's going to keep for 30-40 years.
95pts Wine Spectator
There's a meaty character to this intense, polished red, adding a seriousness to the dark plum, blackberry, iron, vanilla and chocolate flavors. A beam of bright acidity keeps this focused and drives the fruit- and spice-filled finish. Merlot. Best from 2022 through 2042.
Masseto 2017 manages to encapsulate all the ripeness and concentration of a particularly sunny and dry vintage. The color is almost black, the nose reveals a rich and ripe expression of concentrated black fruit, with hints of spices and liquorice. On the palate the wine manages to combine great intensity and ripeness of fruit with a remarkable sense of balance and freshness. The tannins are densely knit, the texture velvety, the finish shows lingering fruitiness and a vibrant acidity giving a final touch of freshness. Although it comes from one of the warmest vintages, 2017 can be considered a very typical Masseto in its unmistakeable combination of richness and elegance.