Robert Parker 92
In 1996, Castello dei Rampolla produced an extremely limited production (about 200 cases) Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon/Petite Verdot blend called Vigna d’Alceo. This terrific wine bears more than a passing resemblance to a top-class Medoc. The opaque purple color is followed by gobs of toasty new oak, and jammy cassis fruit intermixed with minerals, spice, and cedar. Medium-bodied, with outstanding purity and concentration, exceptional harmony, and moderately high tannin, this is a promising, seriously-endowed wine for readers with the patience to wait 4-5 years. It should keep for two decades. Castello dei Rampolla has long been one of my favorite Tuscan producers. I began purchasing their wines with the 1983 Sammarco. A recently drunk 1985 Sammarco was still in terrific shape, and it continues to behave like a top-class Graves from Bordeaux. Importer: Vias Imports, New York, NY; tel. (212) 629-0200
Anticipated maturity: 2002-2018
The 1996 Vigna d'Alceo is just beginning to show the earliest signs of tertiary complexity. Licorice, smoke, underbrush, menthol, plums and dark cherries all flesh out in this beautifully layered, sumptuous Vigna d'Alceo. With some air, the 1996 can be enjoyed today, but it also has the stuffing to age well for another 15-20 years. What a great showing.
Anticipated maturity: 2013-2018