On the Trail

The Best Tuscan Bargain of the Year

Greg St. Clair

La Massa is located in Panzanno, a part known as the Conca d’Oro—the golden shell and the prime real estate in Chianti. The best and largest single location in the entire region with a big open southwestern facing slope. Fontodi is there as well as is Castello dei Rampolla. Gianpallo Motta is the owner and a former rally car driver—a true wild man. Located in the heart of Chianti Classico, La Massa no longer labels its wine as such and Motta once even created a label showcasing the famous Black Chicken with its neck broken. Trained as a winemaker in Bordeaux, Motta does everything done in barrique and grows international Bordeaux varietals. The Gorgio Primo is his Bordeaux blend, while the La Massa is a Super Tuscan blend with 60% sangiovese, then cab, merlot, and alicante. He makes wines with a more modern barrique-aged flavor and feel. He also makes a third wine called Carla 6, a parcel named after his daughter that is 100% sangiovese, which was first released in 2011. La Massa continues to be one of our biggest sellers in the Italian department since we began working directly with Motta a few years back.

The 2013 is perhaps the best vintage of La Massa we've yet brought in and, crazily enough, at $14.99 this is the best price we've ever offered. For me, this is really a superb reflection of all of Giampaolos vineyard work. The wine is a delicious blend of 60% Sangiovese, which gives the wine a structural backbone, 30% Merlot, which adds some meat, density and richness, with Cabernet Sauvignon lending authority and direction even at this small amount, while Alicante Bouschet adds some personality, spice and a little bit of nastiness—it kind of reminds me of Giampaolo, and it all seamlessly melds together. It is a superb blend, and once again, highly awarded. Don't miss this one.

-Greg St. Clair