Winemaker Notes: The 2012 vintage combines the principal characteristics of a great Masseto: rich and generous but also very fresh and with a firm structure in a wine of great intensity and complexity. The colour is intense and dark, olfactory impact develops classic notes of red and black fruit, chocolate and liquorice, subtly enhanced by the toasting of the wood. The palate shows well-rounded and full, with a thick, dense tannic texture that boasts rich fruit and spice notes. The finish is prolonged with a lively and vibrant acid vein that closes on a note of intense freshness.Merlot is a dark blue-colored wine grape variety that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. Its softness and "fleshiness", combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot a popular grape for blending with the sterner, later-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon, which tends to be higher in tannin. Along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, Merlot is one of the primary grapes used in Bordeaux wine, and it is the most widely planted grape in the Bordeaux wine regions. Merlot is also one of the most popular red wine varietals in many markets. This flexibility has helped to make it one of the world's most planted grape varieties. While Merlot is made across the globe, there tends to be two main styles. The "International style" favored by many New World wine regions tends to emphasize late harvesting to gain physiological ripeness and produce inky, purple colored wines that are full in body with high alcohol and lush, velvety tannins with intense, plum and blackberry fruit. While this international style is practiced by many Bordeaux wine producers, the traditional "Bordeaux style" of Merlot involves harvesting Merlot earlier to maintain acidity and producing more medium-bodied wines with moderate alcohol levels that have fresh, red fruit flavors (raspberries, strawberries) and potentially leafy, vegetal notes.