DOC Maremma Toscana
80% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2013 vintage was characterized by a rainy winter which provided useful reserves of ground water for the growing season; it was followed by cool spring which caused a slight delay in bud burst. A mild and sunny summer led to regular plant growth and development. A rise in temperatures in September helped the grapes to ripen well and fully bring out aroma, elegance of tannins, and freshness of flavor. The Cabernet Franc was the first variety to be picked at the end of September, and the Cabernet Sauvignon harvest followed immediately in the first week of October.
The grapes, selected with care and picked by hand into small packing cases, were selected a second time on sorting tables in the cellar before being destemmed and lightly pressed. The fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at a temperature of 82° Fahrenheit (28° centigrade), and the period of skin contact lasted a total of 20 days, during which soft extraction techniques assured both structure and supple tannins. After being run off its skins the wine went into French oak barrels (50% new), where it then went through a complete malolactic fermentation. A 14 month period of oak aging in barrel preceded bottling.
The Le Mortelle estate was once part of a larger property which already appeared on the maps of Tuscan Grand Duke Leopold II in the mid-19th century. The estate is located in the province of Grosseto, in the heart of the lower Maremma, approximately 5.5 miles from the town of Castiglione della Pescaia. It extends over 675 total acres (270 hectares), 410 of which are planted to vines, principally Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese in addition to more recent parcels of such white grape varieties as Vermentino, Ansonica, and Viognier.
The property was acquired by the Antinori family in 1999, convinced as it was that the area had a very important potential for the production of fine wine. Mortella is the name of wild myrrh, a plant widely present on the Tuscan coast and now the symbol of the estate. The new cellars of le Mortelle are largely underground in order to reduce to the maximum extent their impact on the environment. They were built to take advantage of the temperature-stabilizing properties of the rocks below ground, a choice inspired by a maximum respect for the natural balance of the site and its preservation: energy-savings are produced by the possibility of moving the wine by gravity flow, the water utilized in the cellar is purified by plants and then goes back into the local environment, and the energy utilized for operations is derived solely from renewable sources. The estate is open by appointment for guided visits with tastings; in addition, the wines and seasonal fruit can be purchased in the store on the premises.
The nose opens with notes of spice and toasted oak fused with aromas of berry fruit, liquorice and violets. The flavors are full and supple with a sweet aftertaste of ripe red berry fruit. This is an elegant blend of Cabernet with a notable persistence and a pleasurable finish characterized by notes of dark chocolate and tobacco.