About two years ago, oddly almost to the day, I cracked the cellar door to uncork the 2010 Galatrona and check the progress of this gorgeous Merlot that enthralled me at Gambero Rosso. I provided a cautionary warning after “taking one for the team” and haven’t touched my 2010s since. So you’d think I would have learned my lesson when the eagerly awaited 2015 was released, but well, no.
Fattoria Petrolo has Roman origins; the name Petrolo comes from the term petroliarum (mansion-house or country residence) but older Etruscan settlements likely existed on the site where Petrolo currently resides. Petrolo makes three fabulous wines; Galatrona, Torrione, and Bòggina. The names are Etruscan, and the latter probably derives from an Etruscan family which lived and vacationed in the Tuscan hills 3000 years ago.
Galatrona is 100% Merlot that comes from a 10 hectare vineyard of the same name in the hills near Val d’Arno di Sopra on the edge of the Chianti Classico zone. The vineyard enjoys optimal exposition and drainage owing to the sloping vineyards. Predominantly clay, which is important for retaining water during the hot Tuscan summers, the soil of the vineyard also contains large deposits of shale and river stones.
The 2015 Fattoria Petrolo Galatrona is an enormous wine. Deep garnet to violet red in the glass, this elegant yet powerful Merlot fades only slightly toward the rim of the bowl. I knew this wine would be tight, so we double decanted it about 2 hours in advance. Even with vigorous coaxing, it was difficult to entice much aroma from the wine other than dark plum and wood notes. Faint notes of eucalyptus seem to be attached to the alcohol fumes as well. It’s simply just not there yet. On the palate, the wine is monolithic, with wonderfully ripe black fruit flavors surrounded by French oak tones of spice and cedar. The tannins are exactly what you’d expect – very powerful and drying – enamel stripping. This may need longer cellaring the 2010. Pinning this down to a rating is impossible at this young stage. To me, this is only slightly older than a barrel sample would be. I think it needs at least 5 years before it begins to show what I’m confident it will; likely closer to 10. Bury it very deep in your cellar. 92-99 points. I’ll grant you that may not me much help right now, but once again, I took one for the team. About $85. Find this wine.