Made with organic Merlot grapes, the Petrolo 2019 Galatrona is soft and luscious, spreading evenly over the palate with elegance and sweeping intensity. The bouquet shows dark fruit, black cherry and sweet prune. Those dark fruit tones are woven into pretty layers of spice, leather and perfumed tobacco. I like the tight, compact, yet fundamentally rich quality that is part of the mouthfeel in this important vintage. This wine could be considered a bit lighter and more ethereal compared to recent past releases, but I found that all the wines in this batch of new releases go in this same direction.
Drink 2023 - 2045
Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (Mar 2022)
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Aug 2021)
Waves of dried roses on the nose, opening up to cranberry, raspberry, violet and tobacco leaf notes. A distinct personality, savoury and mouthwatering. First time on the Place de Bordeaux for this 3,000 bottle wine from owner Luca Sanjust. 5ha of old vines located in Val d’Arno in the southern part of the Chianti hills. Fermented with wild yeasts in concrete vats with long maceration on the skins.
Drink 2022 - 2036
Jane Anson, Decanter.com (Sept 2021)
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.