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March 06, 2015

Castello dei Rampolla d’Alceo 2010

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The market has impatiently awaited the release of Castello dei Rampolla d’Alceo 2010 since Antonio Galloni awarded it a perfect 100 points back in September 2014. Bestowing a wine 100 points is a rarity for Galloni, the only other Tuscan wines he has conferred 100 points to are Soldera Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1990, Montevertine Le Pergola Torte 1990, Cerbaiona Brunello di Montalicino 2010 and Sassicaia 1985; the magnificent Masseto 2006 which he calls, the greatest Masseto ever made’, has a score of 99! Our first release price of £560 per case of six bottles represents incredible value for a wine which will become one of the greatest in Italy’s history. If we compare today’s price against the other Tuscan legends, it becomes clear 100 points carries a strong premium:

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The 2010 vintage across the whole of Italy is already considered one of the greatest ever. Galloni only awarded five 100 point scores in the entire vintage, all of which jumped in price overnight, in several cases such as the 100 point Luciano Sandrone Le Vigne 2010 doubling in value. Galloni describes d’Alceo 2010 as ‘something more than breathtaking, and that something more is hard to express with words. Readers lucky enough to taste the 2010, however, will know it right away.’ There is currently none available on the UK market and with less than 650 cases made, less than a quarter of Masseto and 1/30th of Sassicaia, it is likely to remain rarer than hens teeth! This wine is set to achieve stratospheric global acclaim!

d’Alceo is the Super Tuscan wine that today is creating the largest critic frenzy, a veritable superstar. Along with Galloni’s 100 points, James Suckling scored the 2008, 100 points; incredible accolades that signal the wine’s remarkable potential. It vestiges an effortless prototype of French varietals, 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Petit Verdot and like Sassicaia and Ornellaia it marries power with elegance, opulence with restraint: it is the acme of what Tuscany can do with the best grapes of Bordeaux.

Castello dei Rampolla’s history echoes that of Sassicaia and Ornellaia, in fact it is the direct progeny of them. Before Sassicaia’s official unveiling in 1968, Mario Incisa della Rocchetta made his now legendary wine to be shared with his family and close friends. Among this group of hallowed friends was the owner of Castello dei Rampolla, Alceo di Napoli. Thus it was that Alceo began to emulate the polemic Bordeaux blend style at his Estate. He wasted no time in seeking out the world famous consultant oenologist Giacomo Tachis, the founding father of Sassicia, Tignanello and Querciabella. His unrivalled ability to incarnate Bordeaux blends in Tuscany quickly resulted in Castello dei Rampolla’s new wine, Sammarco, rising to prominence; previously large amounts of the grapes had been sold to Antinori.

Castello dei Rampolla is cited in Panzano, famed for the Conca d’Oro or ‘golden basin’, an outstanding natural amphitheatre composed of the village’s hillsides, neighbouring Fontodi. The Napoli family have owned the Estate, which goes back to 13th Century since 1739. At the time of his death in 1991, Alceo di Napoli’s wine Sammarco was experiencing continuous notoriety and criticism for using Cabernet Sauvignon in the Chianti Classico region, just acceptable in the coastal Bolgerhi, yet too close to home in the stronghold of the Classico region. The Estate passed to his dedicated children Luca and Maurzia di Napoli who continued their father’s revolutionary work and who, in his honour, created the eponymously named d’Alceo. d’Alceo soon eclipsed Sammacro, it heralds from a single vineyard, at an altitude of 1,140 ft, benefiting from stony soil, boasting incredible east, west and south facing aspects. The first vintages underwent 18 months in French oak barrels. The grapes are harvested manually and undergo no chemical treatment using bio-dynamic farming methods.

A long list of adjectives are required to express the complexity of flavours d’Alceo exhibits; espresso, melted liquorice, blackcurrant jam, porcini mushroom, chestnuts, mulberry, flavours that appear so intense in power, yet the mouth feel seems effortless. d’Alceo has a cult status similar to Masseto, yet its accent to global stardom is just beginning, it is the critics’ choice and we recommend it highly for consumption and investment.

Castello dei Rampolla d’Alceo 2010 - 6×75 - £560 IB or £686.76 incl duty and VAT 

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 100 Points, tasted Sept 2014
Rampolla’s 2010 d’Alceo is utterly spellbinding today. Even better than it was last year, the 2010 impresses for its exceptional balance and pure finesse. Everything is simply in the right place. Silky, layered and unbelievably expressive, the 2010 d’Alceo is a thrill from the very first taste. Over the decades the Di Napoli family has made so many breathtaking wines, but the 2010 d’Alceo is something more than breathtaking, and that something more is hard to express with words. Readers lucky enough to taste the 2010, however, will know it right away. What a magnificent wine this is. Drink 2020 – 2035

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