Patrimo from Feudi di San Gregorio is one of the most exciting 100% Merlot wines on the market. It is a truly intriguing wine, produced on vines discovered by chance in the heart of Irpina, Campania. Feudi di San Gregorio is one of the leading producers from Campania, their Taurasi is considered to be the finest on the market, one of Italy’s wine jewels. However, Patrimo raises the bar higher, having become Campania’s answer to the Super Tuscans and in the same vein, forced to label their wine IGT. In 2013 they have made a magnificent Patrimo, which has just been awarded 96 points from Monica Larner of the Wine Advocate, a wine she describes as ‘inspiring’. We are pleased to be able to offer cases of six for £290 in bond, a superb price for such a high scoring wine from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. Indeed, as with many of Italy’s leading cult wines, the price rises quickly after release, as is displayed below. Patrimo is highly regarded and difficult to source, less than 900 cases are made a year explaining the obvious vintage premium:
Campania was once the beating heart of Italian winemaking, Pompeii the centre of the world’s vinous delights. Feudi di San Gregorio, like Pompeii, was struck by a natural disaster, however it was this that lead to its conception. In November 1980, a disastrous earthquake struck Campania, east of Naples, devastating the province of Avellino, known as Irpina. Enzo Ercolino, who had moved to Rome some years previously, was drawn back to his native region, now ruined, to help rebuild. This lead him together with his wife and brothers to open the Feudi di San Gregorio winery.
Their aim was to create an exciting modern interpretation of Campania’s wines and become a standard-bearer for Southern Italian viticulture, modelling his approach on the successes of Tuscany, France and the New World. With resounding successes in the early 2000s, Enzo’s nephew, Antonio Capaldo, a PhD in Economics and a former Sommellier, the day after making partner at McKinsey, quit and took over control of the winery. Pierpaolo Sirch, who had been working as a consultant at Feudi since 2003, became CEO to oversee the viticulture. They have focused on a returning to a more local character in their wines, concentrating on the area’s unique volcanic terroir. As such, they were instrumental in building the three DOCGs of Avellino. Yet it is their red wines, Serpico, Monteverigne and Patrimo which are now taking centre stage in the world of fine wine.
It is a romantic notion that the incredible vines that now make Patrimo were thought to be Aglianico, only later being discovered to be a clone of Merlot. San Potito in Irpinia is sited at an altitude of 1600 feet above sea level with a superb southern exposure and very rocky soil, which contains significant amounts of humus along with calcareous clay bed, in short a very special terroir. These conditions work brilliantly with their tiny production Merlot, Patrimo. The winemaking is painstaking with Patrimo spending 24 months in medium toast French Barrique followed by 10 months in bottle. The result is a modern expression of Italy’s past winemaking haven. Patrimo has an inky colour and displays incredible intensity. It is hugely perfumed, displaying blackberries, sweet spice, with high notes of eucalyptus and notes of crushed coffee bean. The tannins are sweet and supple and the mouthfeel is powerful but balanced. It certainly draws comparison to the other 100% Merlot wines of Italy, which are produced in tiny quantities such as Redigaffi and Masseto, yet at £290 per case of six, is currently undervalued on release by the market: perhaps the winemakers want to leave something on the table for collectors.
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