The 2016 vintage in Tuscany has by now been well established as one of the very best in modern history, with countless estates producing their finest ever vintages. This is certainly true of Castello dei Rampolla, who made the savvy decision to release the 2017 vintage before the 2016, recognising the immense benefit that an extra year or two in the bottle would afford this masterpiece. It has been awarded an outstanding 97 points from Antonio Galloni of Vinous, who describes it as combining “unctuous intensity with pure, raw power” a sentiment that is reiterated by Monica Larner of The Wine Advocate who awards it 96 points, describing it as “extra dark and brooding expression of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon…some sort of bistecca alla Fiorentina or otherwise succulent grilled meat pairing is what comes immediately to mind.” It is available today on release at £495 per case of six IB, a sensational price when put into perspective that its score from Galloni is right on par with that of its Super Tuscan peers  Sassicaia, Ornellaia and Masseo 2016, all of which are trading at significant premiums compared to d’Alceo, as demonstrated in the below table. Furthermore, the 96 points from The Wine Advocate is its highest ever and with the 2013 and 2010 trading at £720 and £840 per six, today’s release price offers the chance to take advantage of the obvious vintage premium. Both critics ordain the 2016 with a drinking window lasting to 2040 and onwards, akin to a prime vintage First Growth!
 

EstateVintageAGPrice (6x75cl)
Masseto201694-97£3,200
Sassicaia201697£1,400
Ornellaia201696+£850
D’Alceo201697£495

Castello dei Rampolla is sited in Panzano, famed for the Conca d’Oro or “golden basin”, an outstanding natural amphitheatre composed of the village’s hillsides, neighbouring Fontodi. The Napoli family have owned the Estate, which goes back to 13th Century since 1739. Castello dei Rampolla’s history echoes that of Sassicaia and Ornellaia, in fact it is the direct progeny of them. Before Sassicaia’s official unveiling in 1968, Mario Incisa della Rocchetta made his now legendary wine to be shared with his family and close friends. Among this group of hallowed friends was the owner of Castello dei Rampolla, Alceo di Napoli. Thus, it was that Castello dei Rampolla who began to emulate the polemic Bordeaux blend style at this Estate.
 
He wasted no time in seeking out the world-famous consultant oenologist Giacomo Tachis, the founding father of Sassicia, Tignanello and Querciabella. His unrivalled ability to incarnate Bordeaux blends in Tuscany quickly resulted in Castello dei Rampolla’s new wine, Sammarco, rising to prominence; previously large amounts of the grapes had been sold to Antinori. At the time of his death in 1991, Alceo di Napoli’s wine Sammarco was experiencing continuous notoriety and criticism for using Cabernet Sauvignon in the Chianti Classico region. The Estate passed to his dedicated children Luca and Maurzia di Napoli who continued their father’s revolutionary work and who, in his honour, created the eponymously named d’Alceo.

Castello dei Rampolla vestiges an effortless prototype of French varietals, 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Petit Verdot and like Sassicaia and Ornellaia it marries power with elegance, opulence with restraint: it is the acme of what Tuscany can do with the best grapes of Bordeaux. A long list of adjectives are required to express the complexity of flavours D’Alceo exhibits; espresso, melted liquorice, blackcurrant jam, porcini mushroom, chestnuts, mulberry, flavours that appear so intense in power, yet the mouth feel seems effortless. D’Alceo has a cult status similar to Masseto, yet its ascent to global stardom is just beginning, it is the critics’ choice and we recommend it highly for consumption and investment. Rampolla d’Alceo is one of the finest wines in Tuscany, incredibly rewarding and one of our favourite Bordeaux blends from anywhere.