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September 17, 2014

Castello dei Rampolla Vigna d’Alceo 2007 – 98 points

rampolla

We are delighted to be able to offer our debut parcel of Castello dei Rampolla d’Alceo, a truly magnificent wine that has been making incredible waves in recent years by accumulating the highest scores to merge from Tuscany. In 2010 Antonio Galloni awarded Castello dei Rampolla d’Alceo, which has not yet been released, 100 points. James Suckling scored the 2008, 100 points; incredible accolades that signal the wine’s remarkable potential. However, it is the 2007 vintage of d’Alceo that has been awarded the highest accumulative score, receiving Galloni’s second highest ever score of 98 points and 97 points from James Suckling.

d’Alceo is the Super Tuscan wine that today is creating the largest critic frenzy, a veritable superstar in the making. 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. Seemingly the only problem for the Estate is that it only produce 15,000 bottles, 1,250 full cases a year, less than half of Masseto, barely enough to keep Gérard Depardieu in wine for a year, let alone the mounting global demand. At £420 a six pack, we advise wine lovers to start collecting this now, the 97+ scoring 1999 already costs £750 a six pack; the sky is the limit for this small production high performing Estate. This wine is set to achieve stratospheric global acclaim!

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/consultant behind 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 famous 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, however in 2007 d’Alceo spent 10-12 months in barrel (10-15% new oak), in order to preserve the incredible freshness, the owners feeling its incredible density and fruit concentration would benefit from smaller amounts of new oak. 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.The 2007 is ready to drink now, yet will age and improve for decades. 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 Vigna d’Alceo 2007 - 6×75 - £420 IB or £518.76 incl duty and VAT

Antonio Galloni, Vinous, 98 points
The 2007 d’Alceo shows none of the Sammarco’s early appeal. It is a dark, inward wine imbued with black fruit, roasted coffee beans, grilled herbs and licorice, all of which build effortlessly towards the huge, explosive finish. This d’Alceo will require significant patience. d’Alceo remains a model of the level French varieties can reach in Tuscany. In 2007 the blend is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Petit Verdot. This is a stunning set of wines from Castello di Rampolla. The 2007s are some of the finest wines I have ever tasted from this reference point winery…there is no denying the superb quality of the estate’s top 2007s. These are dazzling wines by any measure. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2032

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