The choice of the grapes was made from the over 100 acres (40 hectares) of Merlot in the estate�۪s vineyards. After hand picking and a careful selection in the cellar, the grapes fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for a period of 25 days. Fermentation temperatures were regulated on the basis of the ripeness level of the various lots: some at lower temperatures to maximize aromatic freshness, others at approximately 86� Fahrenheit (30� centigrade) to fully bring out structure and richness. The different styles of Merlot went separately into oak barrels for aging. The malolactic fermentation took place in barrel ��� 30% new - as well and was completed by the end of the year. After eight months of oak aging, the wine was blended and was then put back into barrels for a final four months of aging. Bottling preceded a six further months of bottle aging before commercial release.
The early months of the year 2012 were rather cold and were marked by abundant snowfall during the month of February, an unusual phenomenon along the Tuscan coast. Bud-burst took place in a regular fashion, but with a relatively small number of potential grape bunches. The final period of spring and the initial period of summer were hot and dry, limiting as a consequence the growth and development of the bunches and leading to a small production per vine. This weather, in addition to the low fertility, led to a 20% reduction in the size of the crop. If the crop was small in size, quality was higher than might have been expected in so torrid a vintage ��� excellent grapes, a bracing acidity, and, above all, high level tannins. The 2012 vintage demonstrated, once again, that the Bolgheri appellation can produce excellent wine even in the hottest years. The morphology of the terrain and the nearby presence of the sea succeed in mitigating high summer temperatures and preventing the vine stress which can compromise a balanced and proper ripening of the grapes.