Although the rest of Tuscany leans on Sangiovese as its primary red grape, Tuscany’s western coast along the Tyrrhenian Sea are too loamy and cool and humid for the grape of Chianti and Brunello. In fact, on gravel-dotted hills that rise above the former marshy patches are remarkably similar to Bordeaux’s Left Bank in soil structure and climate. So in Bolgheri, Bordeaux’s Cabernet, Merlot and Petit Verdot take center stage. And come together to craft some of Italy’s most famous and expensive reds.
When Vento-born Massimo Piccin arrived in Bolgheri in 1999, he wasn’t looking for fame or fortune. He just wanted to make really good wine that showcased the region’s Bordeaux similarities and its uniquely bright Tuscan sun. After planting what had been grazing meadows dotted with cypris trees, he released his first vintage of Volpolo in 2008.
Today it’s a blend of around 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 15% Petit Verdot – a lot of this grape that can strongly mark a wine even in much smaller amounts. His seem to ripen more than most, giving the wine PV’s typical purple/lavender floral and cocoa powder notes while still retaining lovely black berried fruit and silky, pure, tannins. The fruit and graphite notes are strongly reminiscent of Left Bank Bordeaux, but the freshness and pop of mouthwatering acidity on the lovely finish are the essence of Tuscany. Delicious right now, this will continue to develop and give pleasure for 10-15 years to come.
For You If: You’re a Super-Tuscan fan already and are looking for a great one at a huge value price; you enjoy Bordeaux and want something a tad juicier and more ready; you drink Napa Cab and want to try something a bit silkier and fresher; you just can’t resist a great deal.
Not For You If: You want a “smooth” wine and, by that, mean one that doesn’t give a little squeeze of acidity and tannin on the finish; you want lots of volume and the fruit flavors to be really prominent – this has plenty of body but not the broad, fleshy, feel of wines like Paso and mid-Valley Napa Cabs.
“An outstanding Bolgheri here that delivers both freshness and some excellent depth and complexity. Plenty of dark cherries and fresh blackberries on the nose with some cocoa powder, dark olives, stones and peppercorn spices. The full-bodied palate delivers plenty of fine, dusty tannins with a juicy, broad middle and a long, focused finish. Bravo! Drink or hold”
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