Monica Larner - 31/05/2017
About this WINE
Fattoria Petrolo Galatrona
Petrolo are based in the Val d’Arno in northern Tuscany and since the 1980s have produced a range of wines from Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malvasia and Trebbiano Toscano, but it’s with Merlot that they have found most success. This is an historic wine growing area and can trace its history back to the early 18th century, while French grape varieties have been used alongside the native Sangiovese here since the early 19th century. In the 1940s, the Petrolo estate was bought by the Bazocchi family and is now owned by Luca Sanjust, a former painter.
Petrolo’s vineyards extend across 31ha of which 26ha are in production. With an altitude between 250 and 450 meters above sea level, the vineyards grow over moderately loose-packed soil with rocky stratifications of limestone, sand, claystone and flakes of shale typical of the Chianti area.
The Galatrona vineyard extends for just 3ha and was planted in 1990. Galatrona is the first Merlot vineyard that Petrolo planted. The wine is named after the medieval tower that overlooks the Petrolo estate. It was first produced in 1994, when a late picked parcel of Merlot was kept separate and bottled as a single varietal.
The most widely planted grape in Bordeaux and a grape that has been on a relentless expansion drive throughout the world in the last decade. Merlot is adaptable to most soils and is relatively simple to cultivate. It is a vigorous naturally high yielding grape that requires savage pruning - over-cropped Merlot-based wines are dilute and bland. It is also vital to pick at optimum ripeness as Merlot can quickly lose its varietal characteristics if harvested overripe.
In St.Emilion and Pomerol it withstands the moist clay rich soils far better than Cabernet grapes, and at it best produces opulently rich, plummy clarets with succulent fruitcake-like nuances. Le Pin, Pétrus and Clinet are examples of hedonistically rich Merlot wines at their very best. It also plays a key supporting role in filling out the middle palate of the Cabernet-dominated wines of the Médoc and Graves.