In WondermakersJuly 13, 2022

Le Macchiole

The Super Tuscan Superstar

Tradition and a millennia of viticulture has put the region of Tuscany on every wine connoisseur’s bucket list.

For the most part Tuscany is nirvana for wine ‘terroir-istes’ – the region has always been associated with a myriad of specific terroirs linked to unique wines. This importance of site has continued into modern times; and probably nowhere more so than on the western Maremma coast of Tuscany, where the exceptional Bolgheri DOC is dominated by international grape varieties that gave rise to the supermodels of Italian wine – the Super Tuscans!

These unique wines introduced New World inclusiveness to an Old-World ideology, specifically through the willingness to adopt Bordeaux varietals and blend styles. This certainly improved the quality and added diversity to Tuscany, leaving the impression that the grapes should decide how terroir should be expressed, not the other way around. The pioneering Bolghieri producers, like our Wondermaker, Le Macchiole, were turning heads, making sensational wines that broke the traditional mould!

Today, Super Tuscan wines include some of the most collectible and formidable names recognized worldwide – Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Masseto to name a few. They are expensive but truly worth every penny. Luckily for us, there are of course some approachably priced “baby” Super Tuscans too, like the stallion in Dhall & Nash’s stable – Le Macchiole.

Le Macchiole’s top drops Messorio (Merlot) and Scrio (Syrah) are now regularly listed among the best wines in the region. But even more successful has been the Paleo Rosso, made since 2001 entirely of Cabernet Franc, a joyous wine to be relished and a real surprise given that, in Bordeaux, the grape normally gives wines with fragrance but are light bodied and only suitable for blending. On the Tuscan coast, however, Cabernet Franc can obtain superlative results and the innovative Paleo has shown it, inspiring many followers, who have given further cachet to Bolghieri’s high achievers.

The name “Le Macchiole” means “The place where it was in the beginning”.

La Storia della Famiglia

Curiously, the first Super Tuscan producers to experiment on the Bolgheri winemaking model were not from the area. The only exception was Eugenio Campolmi, the founder of Le Macchiole.

Le Macchiole is truly a story of human endeavour. It all started with Eugenio’s dogged desire to realize the ambitious project of producing great wines from his home region. To realize this dream, in 1983, together with his wife Cinzia Merli, they decided to leave the family business and buy 4 hectares of vineyards on Via Bolgherese, near the Contessine area: Le Macchiole was born.

The idea was simple but clear: start with the vineyards, invest everything into research and experimentation, and plant varieties that were uncommon in Bolgheri. Always one for experimenting, Eugenio learned to appreciate and “feel” the land, respecting and interpreting it with great talent and sensitivity. Cinzia, his partner, was his accomplice in this new and challenging adventure. He began planning out his vineyards and planting a number of different varieties in the few hectares they had. In 1991 he took on a young and equally as innovative winemaker, Luca D’Attoma, who immediately espoused his idea of creating a wholly original wine, one that would break with the status quo.

By 2002, Cinzia and Eugenio had just expanded their vineyard holdings and designed a new cellar when, in a cruel twist of fate, Eugenio died. Sadly, not living long enough to see all the glory that his foresight would eventually be rightly recognized.

Eugenio’s untimely death did not put an end to this dream: Cinzia assumed the new role of managing the winery herself with the support of her brother Massimo, who managed the vineyards. With courage and tenacity, she carried forward and further developed her husband’s project and in 2008, was rewarded for their efforts – Le Macchiole’s wine, Messorio, was given a perfect score of 100 points by the prestigious Wine Spectator. What well-deserved acknowledgement!

Today with her two sons, Elia and Mattia involved in the business, Cinzia continues their vision with the same determination and will. She explained what kept her going: “What has not changed is the love and the passion that we put into this job.”

“Today more than ever, Le Macchiole makes wines of place with great elegance, refinement, and longevity capable of coming into their own in the most natural way possible.”


Bolgheri La Regione

The Region

The region of Bolgheri is located on the Etruscan Coast between the hills and sea in a magnificent Mediterranean paradise. The history of Bolgheri is however, intriguing, both as regards its viticultural origins and for its current status as source of some of the most awarded wines in Italy. Like much of the Tyrrhenian coast of Tuscany, the Bolgheri area was not a traditional wine growing area at all – due to the presence of vast expanses of low-lying stagnant water where mosquitoes proliferated, and malaria was rife. Furthermore, the area was not densely populated, especially near the sea, and the amount of agricultural activities was very small. Despite this late start and drawbacks, the region’s first wine, which represented a real ground-breaking effort, was Sassicaia, made by the Marquis Mario Incisa della Rocchetta. This wine, which now has its very own DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia, was such a success when it was launched commercially in the 1970s that it has inspired a legion of devotees – both drinkers and winemakers.

Il Terreno

The Land

Le Macchiole was one of the first to be established in Bolgheri, on the Etruscan Coast, about 100 kms from Florence and just 5 kms from the sea. The winery is actually in the heart of Bolgheri, with 64 acres of vineyards over much of the best soils of the region. In fact, these are, along with the Sassicaia and Ornellaia vineyards, among the oldest and most established vines in the area. Their careful selection of grape varieties and cultivation techniques according to climate and soil has led them to concentrate on Merlot, Syrah and most importantly Cabernet Franc, a variety which can express itself so well in the masterful hands of the winemaking team of Le Macchiole.

Generally, the soils in Bolgheri demonstrate a high degree of variability, so much so that 27 separate soil types have been identified within the appellation. Hence, Le Macchiole has been particularly astute at selecting their newer vineyard sites. Most of the terrain in the area has clayey, sandy, alkaline soil with notable depth and a mineral skeleton that is very fine but nonetheless substantial. All of these are perfect conditions for the production of elegant wines with long aging potential.

“Le Macchiole is a model farm, perfect in every detail, with wonderful wines of extraordinary personality”

Gambero Rosso, Italian Wine Guide

I Vigneti e la Filosofia

The Vines and The Philosophy

The vineyards of Le Macchiole have been scrupulously selected over the years. Under the guidance of Luca Rettondini, the consultant winemaker, and Biodynamics advocate, Le Macchiole’s team deftly oversees these plots which each have unique qualities bringing different nuances and character to the wines.

Respect for the vineyards and the desire to highlight their diversity is what led the Le Macchiole team to choose to be Organic since 2002, plus now following Biodynamic practices laying the foundation of a thoughtful, sustainable approach to agriculture. Le Macchiole does not make compromises, and this approach to their work is what allows them to vinify only the very best that nature has to offer.

The winery has always worked only with their own grapes. Tapping into these raw materials is what creates Le Macchiole’s style year after year. Their approach is tailor-made and calibrated plot by plot and vine by vine – a credit to the precision of their winemaking techniques, manual harvesting, and the double sorting of the grapes in the cellar.

Following the parcelling of the vineyards, in order to best enhance the quality potential of the varieties, a minimum of 45 different fermentations are carried out.

The grapes destined to produce Paleo Rosso, Scrio, and Messorio (25% of production) are double sorted after a careful selection in the vineyard; the whole bunch is sorted first, followed by the destemmed bunch so that only the perfectly mature berries remain. This triple selection of the grapes that go into the most important wines allows Le Macchiole to carry out longer macerations and more selective extractions.

Cabernet Franc and Merlot fermentation takes place in natural cement tanks at a controlled temperature. The wine undergoes long maceration periods with punching down and manual pumping over. Duration and frequency are decided upon daily after tastings from all the tanks. Alcoholic fermentation is spontaneous or with the addition of selected yeasts depending on the analytical characteristics of the grapes and the vintage; racking is carried out exclusively by hand.

All the red wines at Le Macchiole undergo spontaneous malolactic fermentation in their tanks, after which the wines are separated from the lees. At that point, the composition of the blends that will become Paleo, Scrio, and Messorio are determined, choosing from the various vinfications that were carried out.

Paleo and Messorio are then decanted into 100% new barriques. All of the barriques – from 225L-228L for Paleo and Messorio – are positioned on one level in order to be able to turn the barrels every 15 days over the span of 8 months in order to keep the fine lees suspended.

For Scrio, tonneaux, (conical large barrels) and ceramic ones are used. In general, a decanting is carried in July-August to separate the wines from the lees and clean the barrels.

Le Macchiole’s style is intimately related to the terroir in Bolgheri that leads to these exceptional, imaginative wines with great character. From the very first harvest through the most recent vintages, the philosophy has not changed; instead, it is in constant evolution, allowing for the winery to be contemporary while at the same time staying true to its values.


I Vini

The Wines

“It is always difficult to explain how our wines come to be, because it’s like trying to talk about your most intimate sentiments. In fact, our emotions are what guide us as the wine takes shape”

Cinzia Merli (Co-Founder/Owner)

The choice to focus entirely on monovarietals proved to be a successful one and allowed Le Macchiole to express the full potential of Bolgheri as a wine producing region, albeit with a unique and original style. The winery’s philosophy is crystal clear: express the local territory through the purity of a single variety, thereby allowing Bolgheri and its wine varieties to shine through as the only protagonists of each vintage.

All of their wines are marked by a unique and unmistakable character. Full bodied wines, and yet with clean and elegant flavours, leading to great freshness and finesse, they are incredibly sought after world-wide. Dhall & Nash is truly honoured to represent such a prestigious brand.

Le Macchiole is named “Winery of the year” in 2009 by the Italian Sommeliers Association (ASI)

Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso

Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso – they meticulously blend this wine from select parcels across their home vineyard. The low yielding 2019 is a blend of Merlot 50%, Cabernet Franc 20%, Cabernet Sauvignon 20%, Syrah 10%. Typical of Bolgheri Rosso it shows charisma, expressiveness, and complexity.

Giving their terroir the limelight, the Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso grapes come from vines aged between 5 and 25 years old. In the winery the Bolgheri Rosso grapes ferment and macerate over 15 days in stainless steel tanks. The wine then ages for 10 months in different barrels: 80% in second, third and fourth use oak barrels and the remaining 20% in cement tanks.
Highly rated already, here is a recent tasting note from Robert Parker 93 Points: “Le Macchiole 2019 Bolgheri Rosso is a beautiful specimen, thanks to its honest simplicity and its charming approach. The wine reveals good fruit complexity with blue and purple berries contrasted against toasted spice and baked earth. But if anything, truly stands out here, it is the expert integration and generally seamlessness of the wine’s various moving parts.”

Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso 2018

“Aromas of currants, dried flowers and black licorice follow through to a full to medium body with medium chewy tannins and a long, fine finish. A blend of merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and syrah.”

93 points – Wine Spectator

Le Macchiole PALEO

Le Macchiole PALEO was first produced in 1989 and is the winery’s “signature” wine whilst truly epitomizing Bolgheri. At first it was a mixture of Bordeaux varieties, but in 2001 the decision was made to start making it as a monovarietal Cabernet Franc. Its name refers to a wild grass from the Tuscan coast that symbolises the identity of the territory and the stubbornness in attaining every goal.

“You could argue that this wine [the Paleo] changed Italian wine, because it was the first to fully embrace the potential of Cabernet Franc in the bel paese.”

Robert Parker Jnr.

Le Macchiole Paleo 2016

“Made entirely with Cabernet Franc, this radiant red opens with intense aromas of black currant, Mediterranean scrub, blue flower, and camphor aromas. On the supremely elegant palate, supple tannins and bright acidity accompany cassis, black raspberry, crushed herb, and licorice before a cedar finish. It’s smooth, radiant, and delicious, with great energy. Drink 2022-2037.”

97 points – Wine Enthusiast

Le Macchiole Paleo 2018

Coming soon!!!

“The Le Macchiole 2018 Paleo has a spicy and tangy personality with dark fruit, bitter chocolate, and tarry smoke. Coming back to my open bottle 24 hours later, I got some green olive and rosemary essence. The mouthfeel fleshes out considerably, and there is beautiful structure to hold it firmly together. Other vintners in Bolgheri have told me of their difficulties with Cabernet Franc in the 2018 vintage, which saw rain toward the end of the season. This wine feels magically immune to those issues and probably means that the expert vineyard team harvested at the right moment.”

97points – Robert Parker

“Le Macchiole’s 2018 PALEO is an unbelievably beautiful wine. It is also very young. Bright floral notes and red-toned fruit give the 2018 considerable energy and verve as varietal Franc aromas and flavors start to take shape over time.”

96+ points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous

Le Macchiole MESSORIO

The 2004 Messorio was awarded 100 pts by Wine Spectator

Le Macchiole MESSORIO is 100% merlot and comes from two plots named Puntone and Vignone. The first was planted in 1994 and the second in 1999. The yields are low, approximately 800 grams per plant, which ensures that the vines produce a balanced and concentrated grape. Both plots are normally harvested during the first two weeks of September, at their optimum ripeness. Le Macchiole Messorio ferments and macerates for about 25 days, one part in cement tanks, and another in stainless steel tanks. Once fermented, the wine is aged for 18 to 24 months in new French oak barrels and bottled without filtration. It is definitely one of the top Merlots produced in Italy and may be compared with the best Merlots produced in Bordeaux.

The idea right from the start for Le Macchiole Messorio was to transform the best bunches into an impactful wine with a lot of personality, staying as far away as possible from the more soft, predictable style that is often associated with Merlot and instead making a thoroughbred eager to win the race. The name “messorio” refers to the wheat harvest, one of the most fundamental parts of the agricultural cycle.

Le Macchiole Messorio 2017

“…a wine that beautifully reflects the characteristics of the vintage and is a very accurate measuring stick of how any single vintage will eventually perform both in terms of near-term accessibility and long-term cellar aging. That said, the Le Macchiole 2017 Messorio plays its strongest cards in terms of mouthfeel and texture, revealing a robust structure and firmly integrated tannins that come from both the richly concentrated fruit and the careful use of oak. The wine shows a heavy center of gravity and a solid base of dark fruit that is enhanced by caramel, brown sugar, spice, and creamy blackberry preserves. It does offer immediate appeal, but I’d wait a few more years to give this 2017 Messorio more time to flesh out and evolve.”

95 points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (Monica Larner)

Le Macchiole Messorio 2018

Coming soon!!!

“This is very complex, offering tobacco, brown sugar, black olives, and currants. It’s full-bodied, yet tight and layered, with very fine tannins and a long, structured finish. Hints of new wood complement the long, cool fruit and phenolics. Give this three or four years to open.”

98 points – James Suckling; 96 points – Robert Parker; 98 points – Wine Spectator

Le Macchiole Scrio

The 2015 “SCRIO” was awarded 100 pts by James Suckling (in 2018)

Le Macchiole Scrio came from a desire to show the best of the Syrah variety, which was the founder’s favourite. The name of the wine, “Scrio” is inspired by a Tuscan expression that means “pure, candid, whole,” perfectly describing its defining characteristics. Its first vintage was 1994 with an extremely limited production as it’s a low cropper in this terroir, but it combines the depth of Mediterranean fruit with the freshness of the cool climate. This is a stunning Syrah capable of competing with the great wines from the Rhône Valley in France.

In the winery, the Le Macchiole Scrio grapes macerate and ferment for about 20 days in stainless steel tanks. Then Scrio ages for 12 months in oak barrels, 75% of which are new and the remaining 25% are second use. Finally, it ages in the bottle for 21 months before being released for sale.

Le Macchiole Scrio 2016

“The 2016 Le Macchiole Scrio is a fruitier Syrah than the 2015, which was more about the pepper and the savory spice. The 2015 was broader, while this wine is more linear and classic. It boasts more depth and brings a lot of earthy tones, and it’s generally a much more vertical wine than the 2015. This is a very precise, beautiful, and detailed expression of Syrah that shows a very generous disposition overall. In fact, this wine harnesses the exuberant abundance of the grape and channels it with extreme elegance.”

96+ points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Le Macchiole Scrio 2017

“The 2017 Le Macchiole Scrio is a pure expression of Syrah that shows more similarities to the variety when grown in France than it does California, Australia or even the rest of Tuscany for that matter. Instead of the peppery charred meat or barbecued aromas you often get in New World Syrah, this wine points to blackberry, some black olive, rum cake, crème de cassis or chocolate-covered cherries. Although the wine is varietally pure, it doesn’t really scream Syrah in any sort of obvious or banal manner. The tannins are more gripping in this hot vintage, and the wine spreads over the palate with a creamy, almost waxy texture that is enduring and deep.”

95 points – Robert Parker

Le Macchiole Scrio 2018

Coming soon!!!

“The 2018 Scrio is a pure expression of Syrah and one of the wines that broke the mold on this grape grown in coastal Tuscany. This is such a delicious wine, and you want to bite into it, sip after sip, as if it were food. There is sweetness here, ample spice, tons of dark fruit and a long, luscious finish. I’m all about Le Macchiole’s Syrah”

98 points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate


The projects

As Le Macchiole team say, “Wine is never just wine; it is made up of stories, places, and community.” With that in mind, Le Macchiole has created a number of projects that bring together wine, poetry, history, places, and people.

The family has been a strong supporter of the arts. They commissioned OZMO, one of the world’s greatest and most influential street artists, to create a gigantic mural on the winery wall, about them, their history, and their unique winegrowing area. A fitting tribute to the Bolghieri region.

For another project, they created a local venture to celebrate the 100 pointer Messorio, adorning 48 Methuselah (6 Litre) bottles of Messorio 2004 with a special label taken from the painting “Calligrafia di un sentimento,” a project by artist Stefano Tonelli commissioned by Le Macchiole. Thanks to the sale of these incredible bottles, five steel frames of varying sizes were designed and donated to the town of Castagneto Carducci and were subsequently placed in symbolic locations around Bolgheri in order to recreate a path through the places written about by celebrated Tuscan poet Giosuè Carducci in his works. Every steel design “frames” the most beautiful views in and around Bolgheri, capturing their many nuances.

“…It’s the wine that has to speak. We just have to amplify its voice.”

Cinzia Merli (Co-Founder/Owner)

Ultimately, Le Macchiole wines are themselves liquid masterpieces imbued with soulful intensity and profoundly brooding depth that deserves recognition at the peak of Italy’s elite wine hierarchy. Even if you’re unfamiliar with Le Macchiole, you should try at least one bottle, as it’ll open your palate to an entirely new dimension of wine. These wines are powered by quality, terroir, and individualism—they’re nothing short of sensational.

“Professionalism, talent, passion, attention to detail from the vine to the bottle: this is what allows Le Macchiole to produce unique, one-of-a kind wines.”

(Le Macchiole)




– Rated 98/100, Scrio 2018

– Rated 97/100, Paleo 2018

– Rated 96/100, Messorio 2018

– Rated 93/100, Bolgheri Rosso 2019


– Rated 94/100, Messorio 2017

– Rated 93/100, Bolgheri Rosso 2019

– Rated 92/100, Paleo 2017

– Rated 91/100, Scrio 2017


-Rated 98/100, Messorio 2018

-Rated 94/100, Paleo Rosso 2018

-Rated 94/100, Scrio 2018

-Rated 93/100, Bolgheri Rosso 2019


-3 Bicchieri, Paleo Rosso 2018

-2 Bicchieri, Scrio 2018

-2 Bicchieri, Bolgheri Rosso 2019

-2 Bicchieri, Messorio 2018


-Rated 97/100, Messorio 2018

-Rated 96/100, Paleo Rosso 2019

-Rated 95/100, Scrio 2019

-Rated 92/100, Bolgheri Rosso 2019


-Rated 96/100, Messorio 2018

-Rated 95/100, Paleo Rosso 2018

-Rated 91/100, Scrio 2018


-Rated 93/100, Scrio 2017

-Rated 92/100, Paleo Rosso 2017

-Rated 91/100, Messorio 2017