“The 2016 Poggio ai Merli is gorgeous. That's the short and the long of it. Merlot shows some of its best performances ever in Tuscany in the 2016 vintage. This wine is exceedingly smooth and silky, yet its tightly knit fiber supports a generous profile that ranges from dark cherry to spice, to tobacco and fresh potting soil. On the palate, the wine is rich and large in scope, yet it never leaves behind any residual heaviness. Castellare di Castellina has created a true beauty (with only 4,000 precious bottles made).”
“I hope one day to have another chance to taste a vertical of Roccamonfina Terra di Lavoro because I have a strong feeling the 2010 will occupy a place among the very finest vintages produced on this tiny vineyard on the slopes of the Roccamonfina volcano. An exotic melange of tar, smoke, graphite, blackberry jam and savory herbs explode from the glass. The 2010 is intense and full-bodied, yet also incredibly elegant. A big, breathtaking wine, the 2010 continues to build all the way through to a deeply resonant, expressive finish. I would choose to leave this uttterly beguiling Campanian red alone for the better part of a decade, but readers are going to have a very hard time excercising that patience. This is a fabulous effort from proprietors Arturo and Dora Celentano, and their long-time winemaker Riccardo Cotarella.”
The 2004 Terra di Lavoro is off the charts. Everything is in perfect balance. Silky, refined tannins frame an explosive core of dark red fruit, smoke, minerals, ash, bacon fat, leather and minerals. The 2004 continues to develop exquisitely in the glass, with layers of aromatics, fruit and structure that continue to blossom over the course of several hours. The 2004 still needs bottle age, as it is incredibly primary. Its elegance, however, is impossible to miss. This bottle is simply out of this world. It now seems pretty obvious I underestimated the wine when I first tasted it a few years ago. One day the 2004 will be viewed in the same league with Mastroberardino's famous 1968 Taurasis as among the most monumental wines ever made in southern Italy.
Galardi's 2008 Terra di Lavoro is a legend in the making. It is a fabulously ripe, rich and seductive wine endowed with beautifully articulated dark plums, ash, leather, licorice, all of which meld together in an explosive, utterly thrilling display of class and elegance. Clean, mineral notes frame the eternal finish. Today the 2008 is impossibly young and the wine will require considerable patience, but its class, pedigree and potential are all first-rate. Simply put, the 2008 is a monumental Terra di Lavoro.