I love the double entendre…. and I equally love Italian Merlot.  It’s a statement I find myself repeating over and over. 
There’s been nary one I haven’t liked.  Most of them have been Tuscan, but regular readers will know that I’ve got  great affinity for Montiano too, which hails from the Roman hills.  The subject of today’s post is a 100% Merlot from Mate called Mantus.  
Ferenc and Candace Mate are relatively new to the Montalcino wine scene.  An accomplished author of books on all things Tuscany, Ferenc Mate channeled that passion into the production of wine at their tiny estate in Southwest Montalcino, not far from Castello Banfi.  Along with his winemaker wife, Candace, they have produced some amazing wines in a very short time.  
~ Proprietor, Ferenc Mate ~

The subject of today’s article is their 100% Merlot, Mantus.  This is a rich, decadent wine that lies somewhere in style between the restraint of Masseto and the exuberance of Galatrona. 
An impenetrable dark purple color, with a viscosity that colors the legs of the wine violet as they slowly amble down the side of the glass, Mantus starts out with an earthy, reduced aroma including wet dirt, autumnal leaves, animal garrique and mushroom. A very funky nose that will be off putting to some, but in slight proportion can be complimentary.  With air and swirlitude, these features “blew off” to reveal rich black fruit aromas, blackberry and mocha notes. The moral here? Decant the wine.  I brought this to a local Bistro and wasn’t able to do so. 

~ Mantus in the foreground – Albatro in the back ~

On the palate the purity of the fruit is evident. It’s lush and seductive. Very sexy.  The black fruit flavors are accented by all manner of Tuscan typicity.  Earth, fresh suede, espresso and herb notes make for a very interesting backdrop to the richness of this wine.  The 15% abv is hardly noticeable and the wine paired well with a variety of dishes including short ribs, coq au vin, and pasta with sausage and butternut squash.  Simply delicious and a very nice value.  91 points, about $30. 

~ Mate Mantus through a Siena filter ~


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