This is a rich and intense wine, apparent immediately by its ruby red color. Soft tannins, well-balanced acidity and consistency are complimented by enchanting hints of wild berries and dried plums, accompanied by notes of coffee, eucalyptus and vanilla. This is a well-structured Merlot, expressing typical qualities of the variety, but also the unique character given by a partial “appassimento” for a portion of the grapes, typical of the region and style of the winery.
The 2011 Decima Aurea is surprisingly elegant and poised, especially considering the ripe vintage. A mix of savory exotic spice and white smoke gives way to ripe blackberry and plums and a refreshing hint of mint leaf. It’s silky and polished, gaining tactile grip as tart red and black berries mix with salty minerals, while tannins mount toward the close. The length here is admirable, and there’s beautiful symmetry as well, staining the palate in concentrated dark fruits while flexing its youthful structure. The 2011 needs a few more years to come into focus, but it should drink beautifully for a decade or more thereafter. This single-vineyard, varietal Merlot undergoes partial appassimento and is then refined in French oak for 14 months prior to bottling.
The opaque 100% Merlot from a 30 year old, single vineyard is our favorite of the Tenuta Santa Maria wines. It’s a complex wine with a multifaceted bouquet of dried plum, licorice, slate and tobacco. The mouth feel is silky with layers of savory blackberry, underbrush and mineral-like flavors with a firm structure and a super-persistent, rich finish. Made with a partial appassimento of the grapes and matured in barrel for 14 months.
The 2010 Decima Aurea Merlot is absolutely gorgeous, presenting a deeply alluring display of crushed blueberries and blackberries complemented by mint leaf, candied ginger and hints of vanilla bean. Its textures are like pure silk, enlivened by bright acidity with a mix of tart fruit and spice coating all that it touches, while leaving a saturation of round tannin that frames the expression perfectly. This is pleasurable from start to finish, tapering off structured yet fresh, hints of licorice and violets lingering on. The Decima Aurea is produced through two separate harvests, the first at ideal ripeness and left to air-dry for one month, and the second harvest a few weeks later. The two harvests are macerated and fermented separately but then blended and matured for 14 months in barriques.