Le Macchiole Paleo Rosso 2007 and 2008
In 1989 Eugenio Campolmi and Cinzia Merli of Le Macchiole created their first bottling of Paleo, a Bordeaux variety red blend from Bolgheri. In 2001 Paleo was further honed and turned into a 100% Cabernet Franc when Campolmi and Merli realized that their best expressions came from single variety wines. At the time of its creation, Paleo was one of a small handful of what are now known as Super Tuscans and it certainly was a risk. Today, Paleo is one of Italy’s very best Bordeaux-varietal wines, alongside the likes of Sassicaia and Ornellaia.
I find this achievement particularly striking as one rarely sees 100% Cabernet Franc outside of the Loire and I believe it is particularly challenging to create a truly world class red from only this variety. The Paleo belongs in that rarified world alongside the likes of Clos Rougeard.
From Challenge to Exuberance
Despite not being the most expensive wine in the range, Merli still sees Paleo as the flagship and the most challenging to produce. The difficulties of the high acid Cabernet Franc grapes are well known, but Le Macchiole has been meticulous at finding the right clones for the right vineyards which it then blends together to produce a sweet-fruited and floral Cab Franc with uncommon finesse. This expression is extremely uncommon with the grape and, as such, Paleo is a special and important opportunity for wine geeks to taste the true character and potential of non-weedy Cab Franc. While Paleo is not a cheap wine, it is very good value for the sheer quality.
The 2007 is a little more flamboyant and rich than the 2008, which achieves its greatness through elegance and texture. Both share sweet black fruits, herbs and floral aromas. Both are quite exuberant. Both are exceptional, delicious, food-friendly and distinctively expressive of Maremma terroir. They are some of my favourite Bordeaux varietal wines in Italy.
2008: Excellent to Excellent+
$120 + tax at BCLDB