Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tasted at Vinitaly 2005:
Villa Petriolo

Villa Petriolo is located in the township of Cerreto Guidi, a few miles north of the Arno River and a few miles southwest of the town of Vinci. As such it's down river from Florence, in an area long noted for olive groves, forests, and, especially, vineyards, which Emanuele Ripetti mentioned in 1833, saying they were "di eccelsa qualità," of superb quality. At the time much of the area belonged to the Alessandrini Family, which directed 13 poderi (farms) from Villa Petriolo, a property they had owned since at least 1574.

Family fortunes do change, however, and about 40 years ago Villa Petriolo was bought by Moreno Maestrelli, an industrialist who also loved the countryside and working with his hands. For him the estate was a country home and place to get away from it all, but 8 years ago his daughter Silvia decided to return the property to its roots, as it were, transforming it back into a working estate; after bringing back the facilities she turned her attention to the land, and planted her first Sangiovese vineyard in 2002. She has now been joined by her sister Simona, who handles press relations, tastings, and such, and by the enologist Attilio Pagli.

Given the youth of the new vineyard it's obvious that they are now working with what they already had, and I enjoyed what I tasted at Vinitaly this spring. The wines:

Villa Petriolo Chianti 2004
Lot 05/02
Recently bottled, but with a well developed bouquet that has bright, abundant slightly sour cherry fruit and lots of violets, supported by savory overtones and heather. Bracing youth, which also reveals underbrush with more swishing, while the acidity holds it up. On the palate it's deft, and medium bodied, with rich sour cherry fruit that gains depth from some underbrush and direction from acidity, while the supporting tannins are ample, smooth, and sweet, and flow into a long peppery sour berry fruit finish. It will be quite nice with grilled meats or light stews, and you may want a second bottle.
2 stars

Fattoria di Petriolo Golpaia IGT Toscana 2001
Lot 03/02
Golpaia is a Sangiovese in purezza; the 2001 vintage is deep black almandine ruby with almandine rim, and has powerful bouquet with strong underbrush mingled with some spice and hints of hardwood ash, and underlying red berry fruit. There's something haunting about it. On the palate it's full and medium bodied, with powerful berry fruit supported by clean sweet tannins that flow into a fairly long clean finish. Pleasant, in an international key, and will drink well with succulent roasts or stews, and also has the wherewithal to age nicely for 5-8 years.
2 stars

Fattoria di Petriolo Golpaia IGT Toscana 2003
Lot 05/05
There was no 2002; this had just been bottled and is still closed, though swishing does bring up cedar mingled with spice, underbrush, chalk, and ground pepper. It needs time. On the palate it's medium bodied tending towards full, and fairly rich, with pleasant cherry and forest berry fruit supported by clean sweet tannins whose oaky component still sticks out; it needs at least a year to get its bearings, at which point it will be elegant in an international key that's fairly soft -- the heat of the summer reduced the acidity of the grapes -- and will work well with succulent roasted white meats, for example turkey with rich gravy or pork loin with sauces. Expect it to age nicely for 5-8 years.
2 stars

Fattoria di Petriolo Vin Santo del Chianti 1999
Amber with apricot reflections. The bouquet is powerful and fresh, with walnut skins and dried apricots mingling with some brown sugar (the moist variety) and hints of oatmeal. On the palate it's full, languid, and soft, with brown sugar sweetness and a degree of tannic support from walnut skins that flows into a clean butter-lipped finish that is quite persistent, and is kept from flagging by lingering dried apricot acidity. A little more dried fruit on the palate would have given it greater spark, but it is pleasant.
2 stars

In summary, Villa petriolo works well with what they have, and will bear watching in the future.

Contact info:
Villa Petriolo
Azienda Agricola Petriolo
Via di Petriolo, 7
50050 Cerreto Guidi (Firenze) Italia
E-mail: info@villapetriolo.it
PH +39-0571-509491
FAX +39-0571-509646

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