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August 08, 2013

Petrolo Galatrona 2009

Petrolo Galatrona label

Last year we offered Masseto 2009 at £800 for a 3 pack case, describing it as Petrus under the Tuscan sun, the 2010 will be released this autumn. It now trades above £1,000 a case and we believe it has room for further growth. Wines made from 100% Merlot are extremely popular; Pomerol is notoriously expensive, as is Masseto and the market is searching for this vibrant and powerful style of wine at reasonable prices. Petrolo Galatrona is a famous Super-Tuscan, made entirely from Merlot in a French style. Many of you may have tried it before, or seen it in restaurants; we believe it is time to look at collecting this wine. The estate has received the highest praise from Antonio Galliano and James Suckling, noted for high quality and a dedication to excellence.

The vineyard is found in the region of Colli Aretini, where the Aretini hills encircle Monti Chianti, an area declared as treasurable for its wine and olive oil by the Archduke of Tuscany in 1716. The Petrolo estate is found on an ancient Fiefdom and the Galatrona tower is built on Roman ruins that remain today; this is where the name of Torrione, their other critically acclaimed wine, comes from. The quality of the terroir has been recognised and protected for centuries.

In the 1940s the Bazzocchi family bought the estate and since the 80s the family have focused on producing a world famous wine of uncompromising quality. They produce only 13,000 bottles a year, a production more akin to Burgundy than Tuscany. They rigorously restrict the yields, forcing the grapes complete maturation and ensuring extremely concentrated levels of anthocyans, which translates to Petrus like tannin ripeness. They macerate for 14 days, after malolactic fermentation they spare no expense by then transferring the wine to new French Barrique (225 litres) for 18 months. With such low production, less than 1,100 cases made per year, Petrolo Galatrona has to be considered as one of the greatest wines of Italy, yet hard to source.

The wines increase in value quickly as they age so the 2009 offers a unique opportunity to purchase the wine before it rises above £100 a bottle at £260 for a half case in bond. Scoring 94 points from Parker’s wine advocate and 97 point by James Suckling it matches Masseto for quality, but offers extraordinary value, a half case costs less than one bottle of the aforementioned Tuscan giant.

It is rare indeed to find a 100% Merlot wine of this quality at this price point, obviously under-priced in the market and set to ride on Masseto’ s coattails over the coming years. The 2007, 2006 and 2005 are already trading above £700 a case. If you have tried the wine the price point may be surprising, if you have not experienced its super richness before the newest vintage offers a great opportunity.

Wine advocate, 94 points
The 2009 Galatrona is a beautifully centered wine. It shows terrific energy, freshness and vibrancy from start to finish. Cassis, blackberries, mint, spices and new leather are all woven together nicely in the 2009. Firm yet well-integrated tannins support the finish. Although quite overt today, the 2009 appears to have the structure to age well for a number of years. The 2009 is a serious wine with a bright future. Both bottles I tasted were immensely pleasing. 94 Points, Antonio Gallioni, Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024. 

James Suckling, 97 Points
Amazing aromas of black truffles, crushed blackberries and dark chocolate. Dried flowers too. Full-bodied, with wonderful fruit that is layered and gorgeous. The finish is fruity, long and stylish. Give it three years to come together. Best after 2013.