The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Valdicava and Castello dei Rampolla

Posted on | April 30, 2014 | Written by Robin Kelley OConnor | No Comments

robinWith a spate of cold nasty winter like weather hitting the Northeast, there is nothing that will warm the heart, soul and body like my two picks for today: Valdicava Rosso di Montalcino 2011and Castello dei Rampolla Vigna d’Alceo 2009. Valdicava is a superstar of Brunello di Montalcino, producing gem after gem, year in and year out, both in the “Baby Brunello” and “Big Brother” categories. The estate was founded in 1953 by Bramante Abbruzzese, though his ancestors had been working the Tuscan soils for centuries. Mr. Abbruzzese is credited for founding Consorzio di Brunello, which today has over 200 members. Since the late 1980s, the grandson of Bramante, Vincenzo Abbruzzese, has catapulted Valdicava into one of the most sought-after and collectible wines in Italy.

One of Tuscany’s grandest, historic and noble estates located near Panzano in the middle of the Chianti Classico zone, Castello dei Rampolla dates back to the thirteenth century and has been in the di Napoli family since 1739. The di Napoli family was active in producing one of the great Super-Tuscans when in 1998 Alceo di Napoli began planting high-density Bordeaux varieties, laying in Cabernet Sauvignon in 1990, followed by Petit Verdot in 1991 and 1992. The end result is the incredible Castello dei Rampolla d’Alceo, which debuted in 1996, a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Petit Verdot.

Valdicava Rosso di Montalcino 2011 $39.99

This Rosso di Montalcino beauty has more in common with Brunello then a traditional Rosso. Most years, Valdicava’s Vincenzo Abbruzzesse makes the wine with great passion from the youngest vines, but in 2011, the estate decided not to make its Brunello, turning all the grapes over to this Rosso bottling. Deep ruby in color, loaded with glossy red fruits, this wine has incredible flavor, depth and balance with a long finish.

Castello dei Rampolla Vigna d’Alceo 2009 $149.99

The Castello dei Rampolla Vigna d’Alceo 2009 is absolutely a monumental wine on a grand scale. Deep, brooding purple, almost inky and opaque in color, this wine offers spellbinding aromas of jam, preserves, cassis, black currants, whiffs of vanilla and spice. It’s a very classic Super Tuscan with great structure and deep dark fruit flavors and expressive. It has long finish that will resonate for years to come.

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