The 2013 vintage in Tuscany is already being heralded as exceptional, potentially on par with the 2010 vintage. In James Suckling’s recent Super Tuscan report he awarded the 100% Merlot, Tua Rita’s Redigaffi 2013, 99 points; it sold out immediately. He also awarded Petrolo Galatrona, another 100% Merlot wine, 98 points in 2013. Petrolo Galatrona regularly outscores four of the five leading Super Tuscan: Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Solaia and Tignanello, all of which – excluding the latter – are at least double the price. At today’s release price of £220 per case of 6, or £37 per bottle, you can secure this 98-point scoring standout wine, from a truly exceptional vintage before it rises steeply in price.
Wines made from predominantly Merlot are globally extremely popular; Pomerol (Petrus et al) is notoriously expensive, as is Masseto, and the market is searching for this vibrant and powerful style of wine at reasonable prices. Petrolo Galatrona often matches Masseto for quality, but offers extraordinary value; a half case costs less than one bottle of the aforementioned Tuscan giant. Moreover, market pricing quickly adjusts to reflect Petrolo Galatrona’s quality after the initial release; consumers are willing to pay a good deal more to enjoy this wine with age. The table below demonstrates that Petrolo Galatrona has a steep vintage premium, getting more expensive as soon as it is in bottle. The Estate only produces 1,100 cases per year, a quantity that is exhausted quickly, as the wine is ubiquitous on fine wine lists across Italy and in Italian restaurants the world over.
Today, Petrolo Galatrona is a famous Super Tuscan, made entirely from Merlot in a French style. Its first vintage was in 1994 and it began to gain momentum in 1997. The vineyard is found in the region of Colli Aretini, where the Aretini hills encircle Monti Chianti: an area treasured 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 1980s the family have focused on producing a world famous wine of uncompromising quality. Their tiny production is more akin to Burgundy than Tuscany. They rigorously restrict the yields, forcing the grapes’ complete maturation and ensuring extremely concentrated levels of anthocyanins, 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.
Galatrona displays the tell-tale Merlot ripeness and silkiness, combining a smooth mouthfeel with great complexity. In its youth the following profiles burst from the glass: plum, black cherry, tar, cigar box, smoke and liquorice. As it ages it takes on notes of chocolate, leather, jam, mocha and espresso. We are huge fans of this wine not least because of its great concentration and symmetry. If you have never tasted it, I urge you to do so; once you do you will be familiar with its combination of complexity, power and elegance. My advice is to buy a few cases now, as it nearly doubles in price within five years, so you can sell one and drink the other, compliments of Merlot-loving prescience. In a vintage like 2013, you will wish you had bought more.
Petrolo Galatrona 2013, 6×75 – £220 EP or £278.76 incl VAT and duty, 98 Pts Suckling,
Expected late Autumn 2015
‘I fall in love with this wine year after year.’ - Monica Larner, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
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