Our tasting impressions
Lighter in body than expected but wow is this delicious! So long and full of bursting with flavor. There is so much to like here - not least of which is the fine varietal character and that it tastes very Tuscan.
About this wine
Merlot from individual plots are harvested manually, then vinified and aged separately. The wine-making process varies according to the climate of that year. The fermentation takes place with indigenous yeasts and at a controlled temperature. Aging is in oak barrels for 6-8 months then in bottle for six.
About the grape
Merlot is an important grape in Bordeaux. It enjoyed an enormous surge in popularity because it can produce wines that are plump and easy to drink. Before that trend reversed, it became the second most widely planted red grape in the world. Slightly lighter in color than Cabernet, the skins are thinner so it tends to be less tannic and they are sweeter and less acidic.
About the vintage
After a mild winter, with limited below-zero days in January and February and average rain, new buds sprouted at the beginning of April. Spring 2017 was hot and dry. At the end of April the rain stopped, the flowering was typical but the bud set showed problems due to unusual temperature in the first days of June.
At the beginning of summer, temperatures were higher than usual until the end of July. Fortunately, farming practices had allowed the roots to expand deeper. Also, the lack of irrigation and surface treatments of the soil enabled the grapes to continue to ripen. Rain at the end of July and mid-August, helped stabilize conditions and helped the grapes finish ripening and gain sweetness.
The harvest started at the end of August with Merlot and Ciliegiolo, followed by Vermentino and Fiano, ending with Sangiovese grapes at the beginning of October.
Ideal weather conditions continued during September. All were in excellent condition.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl 1855
A few of the wines from this estate are labelled Sator. In Latin, this means one who plants from the minor Roman god of agriculture. It features in the famous, yet mysterious, Sator Square.
There is nothing mysterious about Gianni Moscardini's azienda in the village of Pomaia in the northern Tuscan Maremma. This is the west coast, near Pisa. The Moscardini family has owned this land for 2 centuries but Gianni was the first to plant vines in its varied soils in 2008.
Production is 50,000 bottles annually from 13ha at an elevation of about 180m. The vines are trained in the Guyot system. They make DOC Montescudaio from grapes like Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Merlot as well as an array of Toscana IGT from Italian varieties not necessarily associated with Tuscany. All of the varieties are planted in at least 2 plots - each with a different soil composition.
Gianni is an agronimist and his wife Mari is a plant biologist. Together, they have deeply studied the soils and terroir of their land to determine the best nature and approach to plantings. Their credo is to produce wines that fit seamlessly with the land in which they are planted, which is why they vinify the grapes from each plot separately prior to blending.