Saturday, May 25, 2019

Petrolo: The Hidden Gem of the Val d'Arno

A couple weeks ago I attended a portfolio tasting with Martignetti Companies in Boston and discovered a gem that I’m not sure how I haven’t come across previously.  I had recognized one of the labels, but guess have never guided myself in that direction to try it and boy have I been missing out.  The wines of Petrolo was this sangiovese lovers dream.  What drove me to try them at the tasting was my research the night prior when I discovered the winery is based in Bucine, Tuscany.  This is a very small town in Tuscany and happens to be the very same place where I got married.  Want to get married in Tuscany?  Check out my book, Planning Your Dream Wedding in Tuscany.   
Rocco Sanjust of Petrolo winery Tuscany
Rocco Sanjust in Boston
The Winery ~ Petrolo 
The Petrolo winery's name is rooted in Roman origins.  It comes from petroliarum meaning country residence or mansion.  The first vines of the Petrolo property were back in 1947 when it was acquired by the Bazzocchi family.  Today it is under the ownership of the Bazzocchi-Sanjust family, where the 4th generation is operating the winery.  Luca Sanjust was an artist in Rome in the 80’s and moved to the family’s estate to work in the business in 1993.   
Luca Sanjust of Petrolo Winery
Luca Sanjust, middle left, copyright of Petrolo
With over 600 acres planted to sangiovese, merlot and cabernet sauvignon the Petrolo winery believes in producing high quality wines.  An interesting fact I found on their website was that in the 50’s they had about 1500 plants per hectare that allowed them to produce 3,500 hectoliters.  Today they have about 5,500 plants per hectare only producing about 600-700 hectoliters.  With keen attention in the vineyards the yields are kept low with strict pruning to allow full concentration of the grapes.  Their goal is to truly reflect the characteristics of the land.   
Copyright of Petrolo
The Land ~ Val d’Arno di Sopra
One of Tuscany's smaller wine regions and newer DOC's established in 2011. It was previously regulated under the Colli Aretini of the Chianti designation. Winemaking in this area goes back as far as the Etruscans in 4th century BC.  

This area is located in the Arezzo province in the east and west hills of the Arno river valley.  Scattered amongst the rustic towns are hills and fields full of vineyards, olive groves and ancient farmhouses.  What is not to love.  

The Wines of Petrolo 
2015 Petrolo Torrione 
Primarily made of sangiovese blended with french varietals, about 5% cabernet sauvignon and 15% merlot.    Certified organic starting with the 2016 vintage.   Vinified in concrete vats.  This wine is aged in 15 months partially in concrete, French barriques and 40 Hl barrels.  Full-bodied wine of dried cherries with firm tannins. SRP $35 

2016 Petrolo Galatrona 
Petrolo’s flagship wine and considered their cru wine from their Galatrona-Feriale vineyard site.  This wine is 100% merlot.  Interesting story how this wine came about.  In 1994 Petrolo had forgotten to pick their merlot grapes so they decided to vinify the grapes separately unaware of what the quality may be.  James Suckling, one of America’s top wine critics, was stopping by for a visit when he had to try it.  His convictions in bottling it as a pure merlot led the wine to where it stands today as a highly acclaimed wine.  Aged in new French oak for about 18 months with about 6 of those months on the lees.  Left to age another 6 months in the bottle.  A meaty merlot with good acidity and tannins to match.  Beautiful fruit rich in plums, blueberries and blackberries with notes of spice.  SRP $130 

2015 Petrolo Boggina "C" Classico 
Both the Boggina and Galatrona wines are Etruscan names with the Boggina name stemming from a family that lived in the area over 3,000 years ago.  With vines planted back in 1952 from the original owner, Gastone Bazzocchi, this is the oldest vineyard site of the estate.  Aged up to 18 months in 40 HL French oak and 27 Hl barrels.  It spends the first 6 months on the lees and an additional 6 months in the bottle.  A more complex, full-bodied wine with depth over the Boggina A.  Floral aromatics with dried cherries.  Firm tannins. SRP $75 

2016 Petrolo Boggina A” Amphora 
This wine is produced from 100% sangiovese.  The wine is fermented and aged in amphora above ground for oxygenation.  This and the previous wine, Petrolo Boggina Classico are harvested from the same block, but just used with different methods.  Silky tannin and feminine in style with pure expression of classic sangiovese cherry notes.   
Boggina vineyards of Petrolo wines
Boggina Vineyards - Copyright of Petrolo

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