~ Fattoria Petrolo rests in some gorgeous countryside; Val d’Arno di Sopra Tuscany ~

“To make a great wine you need to tend the plants with care, every single one, repeatedly throughout the year.”   ………Luca Sanjust

The modern day Fattorria Petrolo estate vineyards are set in the Val d’Arno Sopra among the hills of the Chianti Colli Aretini,  an area bordering the south-eastern part of Chianti Classico.  The estate extends for approximately 272 hectares and lies between 250 and 400 meters above sea level.

Located in an area known since the early 1700s for making prestigious wines, it wasn’t until recently that the Val d’Arno was formally recognized as a DOC,  officially certifying the quality of this area that since the Renaissance was considered ideal for producing great wines.

~ The edict issued by Cosimo III di Toscana in 1716 identifying 4 areas producing fine wines: Chianti, Pomino, Carmignano and Val d’Arno di Sopra. ~

Petrolo has Roman origins; the name Petrolo comes from the term petroliarum (mansion-house or country residence) however older Etruscan settlements likely existed on the site where Petrolo currently resides.  Although Petrolo produces up to 8 different wines depending upon each vintage’s conditions,  the work horse wine of the estate, and the wine which proprietor Luca Sanjust has called Petrolo’s “Chateau” wine, is Torrione.  The name is also Etruscan, and refers to the tower that dominates the landscape near the vineyard.

In keeping with the Bordeaux inspired make up of the wine, Torrione is a blend of the approximate plantings on the Petrolo estate;  80% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot and 5% Cabernet.  Produced since 1988, the fruit for the wine is hand harvested and then vinified in concrete vats using only native yeasts.  Aging takes place in a combination of French barrique, large barrels and concrete.

~ Luca Sanjust in the Torrione Vineyard ~

The latest release of Torrione is the excellent 2015.   A few unsurprising things to note in relation to this wine.  One, it is really tasty right now after a long decant but will surely reward cellaring.  Like it’s 2010 sibling which also rests in my cellar, this wine is crafted for the long haul and opening one too soon might leave you scratching your head.  So aggressively decant, or hide it!

The 2015 Petrolo Torrione is a gorgeous, sexy dark purple color that fades only slightly to reveal a violet rim.   After 2 hours in the decanter, aromas of crushed black plum, wild berry, new leather and toasted spices began to emerge.  Even still, you get the sense that the wine is “backward” and not gleefully welcoming being uncorked.

On the palate, the wine is linear at first but with additional exposure, it plumps significantly and displays it’s high toned Sangiovese fruit that is backed by soft, velvety Merlot.   Ripe berry, tobacco and smokey cherry notes are accented by powdered dark cocoa and mulch.  Quite tannic on its own, this really is a candidate for what I’d refer to as a “Cellar Selection”.   Easily 92-95 points and I’m thinking more toward the high end.  Be patient.  Still a tremendous value around $25.  Find this wine.

~ Torrione is a wonderful marriage of Sangiovese and Merlot with a smattering of Cabernet. Give it some time in the cellar to reward your patience ~


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