Robert Parker 96
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese, the Castello dei Rampolla 2016 Sammarco was held back for an extra year of aging before its commercial release. In fact, I already reviewed the 2017 vintage last year because that wine is many times more accessible and immediate than this one. The issue at hand are the tannins, which remain very tight and grippy in this bottle. That extra year in bottle has helped them to integrate, but this wine still has a very long way to go. Keep that in mind if you collect Sammarco. Despite that slight astringency, this is a wine of courage and vision. It shows expertly measured fruit weight and lots of lively intensity on the bouquet.
Anticipated maturity: 2024-2045
The 2016 Sammarco is a dense, flamboyant wine. Inky red fruit, spice, cedar, tobacco, menthol and licorice are some of the notes that build in a statuesque Sammarco that dazzles from start to finish. A wine of stunning textural richness and intensity, Sammarco is translucent, sculpted and full of character. All the elements are so well balanced. Rose petal, cedar, tobacco and mint linger on the eternal finish. The 2016 is a magical wine that can be, surprisingly, enjoyed now or cellared for a number of years. Time in the glass just brings out its energy and vertical drive. Sammarco is quite possibly the single greatest value in high-end Italian wine. Don’t miss it.
Anticipated maturity: 2026-2046