As 2020 wraps to a close, James Suckling has released is Top 100 Wines of Italy. Although Suckling could not travel to Italy this year, he managed to taste an impressive 4,000 Italian wines that were affrighted to his Hong Kong offices.
The list is “unabashedly mostly about Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo and Barbaresco” with Suckling noting that he “can say wholeheartedly that the 2015 vintage is the best year ever for Brunello di Montalcino with 2016 coming very, very close behind. Meanwhile, Barolo and Barbaresco also have a pair of great years: 2015 and 2016.”
2018 Petrolo Galatrona – 98 Points “Aromas of blackberries, black olives, green olives and violets. It’s really aromatic. Full-bodied, yet so precise and polished with creamy, layered tannins that caress your palate. It’s extremely persistent and goes on for minutes. Only 40% new wood. Really balanced. All about purity and complexity From organically grown grapes. Try after 2023.”
2016 Tenua Luce Brunello di Montalcino – 98 Points “Ripe, decadent aromas of blackberries, black truffles and black cherries with hints of violets. Dark, wet earth, too. Full-bodied with a solid core of beautiful, pure fruit and creamy, round and fine tannins. Tight and reserved, but showing wonderful potential.”
2018 Petrolo Boggina B – 97 Points “This white offers serious layers of fruit and acidity with fantastically complex apples, honey blossom, nuts and walnuts on the nose and palate. It’s full-bodied, yet fresh and vivid. Acidity and fruit is all there. Soulful is the word. An exceptional wine that shows such complexity and beauty. From organically grown grapes.”
2017 Tenuta Luce Luce – 97 Points “Dark-berry, walnut, cedar and violet aromas with just a hint of chocolate. Full-bodied, layered and rich with ripe tannins and a vivid finish. Shows energy and a velvety texture. Deep and long. Give it two or three years to soften.”
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Petrolo Bòggina B 2018
Bòggina B is a little bit of Burgundy with a Tuscan twist. The wine is made with 100% Trebbiano Toscano. The clone of the Valdarno has been known for its quality since the 1300s, when it was regularly sent to the popes in Rome and the courts of Florence. Petrolo has been using Trebbiano grapes for its sweet vinsanto for decades, but owner Luca Sanjust decided that the time had come for a tribute to the great whites of Valdarno’s past. The wine is made under the guidance of one of Burgundy’s greats, Mounir Souma of Lucien Le Moine.
Luce is a singular and irresistible expression of Montalcino, a Super Tuscan with an exotic side, and above all full of pleasure. The spectacular estate’s diversity of soils, expositions and biodiversity of olive groves and forests come together in a wine as vibrant and exciting as the landscape.
Petrolo Galatrona 2018
Year after year, Galatrona has quietly been recognized as one of the great wines of Italy and is often referred to as the Petrus of Tuscany. What it truly is, though, is beyond comparison – a wine of utter individuality reflective of the Petrolo estate and its unique location in an all but unknown appellation of Tuscany.
Val d'Arno di Sopra, Tuscany. Italy
Petrolo is the definition of a cult winery, with an owner and a story that have helped create its legendary status. While the estate's benchmark wine, the Merlot cru Galatrona, deservedly receives fireworks in the press and is part of the history of Tuscany’s quality revolution in the late 1980s and 1990s, the winery's two other standouts, Torrione and Boggina, are an equally thrilling success - Sangiovese from a special and virtually unknown appellation bordering Chianti Classico that today produces wines of distinct regional identity.
Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
Today, Luce goes so much further than was originally envisioned when started as a project over 20 years ago. The estate now has some of the most exceptional vineyards in Montalcino and, as of 2018, a state of the art winery to nurture every step of the winemaking process. The original vision, however, remains the same: to produce a bold and ambitious Super Tuscan that reflects the culture of Montalcino.