"Three glasses for the Galatrona probably doesn't surprise anyone anymore...the Sanjust family continue to reap the fruits of years of work focused on absolute uncompromised quality" -Gambero Rosso
Every now and again we come across a wine or winery that demands to be recommended to our clients with no apologies or qualifications. Such a winery is Tenuta di Petrolo. In recent years their Merlot based Galatrona has received the highest praise from just about every wine writer in the world. We first fell in love with this wine with the 1997 vintage and our admiration for this wine has only grown in the years since.
We were fortunate to sit down and taste the newest vintage of Galatrona, the 2007 with Dr. Luca Sanjust the manager of this spectacular estate located in the southeastern corner of Tuscany.
The region is known as the Colli Aretini (Aretini hills) which encircle the Monti Chianti, historically known and declared in 1716 by the Archduke of Tuscany as a particularly precious wine and olive-producing region. The Petrolo Winery is part of the medieval fiefdom of "Galatrona" and its tower, built atop roman ruins, still exists. In fact, this is where the name for our Torrione wine comes from. The Winery was acquired by the Bazzocchi family in the 40s and since the middle of the 80s the proprietors have pursued a wine production based exclusively on the highest quality research. Their vineyards yields are extremely small, especially by Tuscan standards but the quality of fruit that is produced is remarkable.
What makes the wines of Teuta di Petrolo so compelling are their expression of its "terroir". As Luca Sanjust explains, "Our ideal wine, beside the varieties of grapes it's made of, has to talk the language of the piece from which it belongs. It has to be a classic in it's small way, beyond being mainly good, it has to manage to enclose the stories of the people who have made it, thought it, who have lived and worked for generations on that piece of soil...Because wine is the transformation of nature into culture."
With the raising prices of the best Brunellos in recent years we have longed for a wine that shared the best qualities of Brunello but at a more accessible price point. The Petrolo Torrione fills that void in every sense.
The 2007 Petrolo Torrione will be arriving next week and available to ship the first week in April. And it is, in one word, stunning. It has wonderful aromatics, impeccable balance, silky tannins and exhibits all of the best attributes of Sangiovese, which is to say excellent acidity. Anyone who loves Italian wine and Sangiovese based wines in particular should have a case or more of this in their cellar. You won't find a better wine for the money this year.
The Petrolo Galatrona is simply put, one of the greatest wines now being produced in Italy. Quantities are extremely limited. Less than 1250 cases are produced in a given year.
We have two vintages we can offer our clients, the 2005 and the 2007. The 2005 vintage is just beginning to open up and is drinking beautifully now with subtle red fruit aromas and flavors intermingled with herbs. It is very much a feminine styled wine, elegant and refined in the best sense.
By contrast,the newly released 2007 vintage is a bigger wine, more black fruit in the aromatics and flavors, but not heavy in the least. It has all of the elegance and finesse of the 2005 but should be cellared for at least another 5-6 years before enjoying it at its best.