WA 97+ / VM 96 / JS 95 / Decanter 95 pts
WA: The Three Graces of Le Macchiole are Messorio, Scrio and Paleo (Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc, respectively). Of these three top-tier releases, my favorite is the 2017 Paleo. This is an upright and direct expression of the grape that carefully sheds some dusty or mineral aromas before opening the way for determined black fruit, charred meat, spice and cured tobacco or cigar. There is quite a bit of oak, but it works beautifully against the natural intensity and rich concentration of the hot vintage. More unexpected are those pretty tones of lilac, blue flower and aniseed that add to the detailed rendering and complexity of the bouquet. This wine won my heart.
VM: The 2017 Paleo Rosso is superb. It is also the wine in this range that seems to have handled the rigors of 2017 best. Then again, that is the magic of Cabernet Franc on the Tuscan Coast. The aromatics alone are so alluring. Sweet pipe tobacco, mocha, dried flowers, mint, sage and cedar give Paleo its aromatic lift. Some varietal character has been baked out because of the heat of the year. In exchange, readers will find a Paleo Rosso that will drink well with just a year or two in bottle
JS: Aromas of currants and fresh herbs, such as bay leaf and basil, follow through to a full body with layers of ripe tannins and a chewy finish. This is just a baby now and needs three or four years to come around.
Decanter: A slight decrease in quantity on 2017 from 27,000 to 24,000 bottles due to the heat and the selection process. The result is a dark wine dominated by dried eucalyptus leaf and vermouth depth, with bright cassis flavours followed by cedar wood. It’s full bodied and refreshing, with thick tannins and a slightly austere finish.