100% Merlot. Le Macchiole can best be defined as the “Boutique Bolgheri.” The winery is known for its spectacular single-varietal wines, and their signature grape varieties are Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, and work is always conducted with the priority being “the expression of the land.” The winery continues to evolve in both the vineyards and in the cellar to allow the soil characteristics from this estate property to be the defining identity in the wines. Today, Bolgheri is among Italy’s most famed wine-producing regions, but this seemed far from a possibility in 1983, the year Le Macchiole was founded and a time when the area was known simply for close proximity to the sea and having abundant fruit and grain agriculture. Yet, two natives of Bolgheri, Eugenio Campolmi and Cinzia Merli, were devoted to the idea of vine growing in their home region even when it was not considered a viable way to start a living. Messorio, a Merlot monovarietal, is the winery’s crown jewel. Its initial vintage was 1994, and since then it has received extraordinary acclaim. The name Messorio refers to the ancient Tuscan practice of wheat harvesting, the most important time of the year in the Bolgheri countryside – once it referred to wheat; these days, it is all about grape harvesting. The vineyard is organic and fermentation takes place in concrete vats and steel tanks. After that’s done, the wine is aged in new oak barriques for 18 months. This is a classy and polished wine that shows why Bordeaux varietals do so well in Bolgheri. Bravo!