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The Guado al Tasso Estate is located in the small, but prestigious, Bolgheri appellation on the coast Tuscany’s Upper Maremma, some 60 miles (100 kilometers) to the southwest of the city of Florence. This appellation has a relatively short history (it was created in 1994) but can boast a worldwide fame as a reference point wine on the international scene. The property extends over a total surface area of approximately 2500 acres (1000 hectares) - 820 of which (340 hectares) are planted to vines, the rest planted to wheat, sunflowers, and olive groves – in a splendid plain surrounded by hills known as “the Bolgheri amphitheater” for its particular geographical conformation. The Guado al Tasso vineyards consist principally of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Vermentino grapes. They enjoy a mild climate due to the nearby presence of the Mediterranean Sea, constant breezes mitigate summer heat, and the rigors of winter clear the sky and maintain a high degree of solar light and radiation. Cont’Ugo is produced exclusively from Merlot grapes in order to interpret the territory of Bolgheri from a new perspective. The vineyards, situated at an altitude between 150 and 200 feet (45-60 meters) above sea level on clayey-loam soils prevalently of alluvial origin, gave Cont’Ugo great depth and complexity while conserving the fragrance and richness of fruit which are typical of Merlot.
Grapes: Merlot 100%
Soil: alluvial in origin, soils vary from sandy-clay to silty-clay and in some areas the presence of very fine gravel called scheletro (also known as agglomerate from Bolgheri).
Vinification and ageing: the selection of the finest Merlot grapes was made from the over 100 acres (40 hectares) of the variety on the estate. After the hand harvest of the crop and a selection in the cellar, the grapes went into temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks where they fermented and remained in contact with their skins for a period of some 20 days. The temperature of the fermentation was handled on the basis of the ripeness level of the grapes: some fermented at somewhat low temperatures to maintain aromatic freshness, others close to 86° Fahrenheit (30° centigrade) to extract body and structuring elements. In this way, different types of Merlot were obtained, each of which then went separately into small oak barrels. The malolactic fermentation took place in these barrels (1/3 of which were new) and was completed by the end of the year. After eight months of aging in French oak, the finest lots were blended together and went back into barrel for a further four months of aging. At the end of this period, the wine was then bottled and given a final six months of bottle aging before commercial release.
2016 Vintage: was characterized by a mild winter with sporadic but abundant rainstorms which assisted in accumulating excellent reserves of rainwater in the sub-soil. The beginning of the growth cycle of the vines began a bit earlier than the normal seasonal average and then continued at a regular rhythm, accompanied by a sunny spring with normal temperatures and rainfall. The summer, on the whole, was warm but without excessive peaks of heat and with scarce precipitation. Particularly cool nights and deep soils, ones capable of conserving important reserves of water, guaranteed a steady and constant development of the aromatic components and sugars of the Merlot grapes, maintaining at the same time an excellent acidity. The picking of the Merlot grapes for Cont’Ugo took place between September 7thand September 27th.
Colour: intense ruby red