“The 2019 Terre Alte Rosazzo captivates, as crushed stone and underbrush evolve into a pretty mix of lime-tinged granny smith apple and savory herbs. This is rich, almost glycerol-like in feel, yet with a core of zesty acidity and salty minerals that perfectly balances it all out. Tropical florals and hints of tangerine mix with candied citrus, young mango and an inner smokiness adding further intrigue, as this finishes with persistence and tension, just begging for a short stay in the cellar. Tasted twice, the 2019 is simply stunning and full of potential. The Terre Alte is a blend of Friulano, Sauvignon and Pinot Blanc. Drinking window: 2023-2028. 93+ points”
“If I were permitted only one producer on the island of Sicily to introduce readers to, it would be Marco de Bartoli. When the average person thinks of Marsala, they think of a cheap cooking wine that is the last-minute errand you run right before starting to prepare a meal. What they don’t understand is that Marsala has a deep, rich history of creating wines designed to compete with the best Madeira and Sherry. The problem is that this history was buried deep beneath decades of mass production, a muddling of grape varieties and unnecessary fortification. Marco de Bartoli turned a passion for tradition into a vision of the future, and his heirs, have held the line, learning from their father’s teachings while keeping an innovative eye on new practices and trends. Today, de Bartoli continues to release purely traditional-style Marsala, using only estate-grown Grillo, the Solera barrel aging system (which uses oak and chestnut vats of various sizes) and, in the case of the Vecchio Samperi, no fortification. The Superiore wines do see a light fortification with grape brandy when removed from the Solera system, and they are then aged oxidatively in oak vats until bottling for release. Simply stated, a Marsala from Marco de Bartoli can compete with the greatest Ports, Sherries and Madeira. However, this house is no longer just about Marsala. The current generation, made up of Marco’s children Renato, Sebastiano and Giuseppina, began to experiment with dry whites produced from Grillo, Zibibbo and Catarratto in the 1990s. Today, these wines have really come into their own, showing exceptionally well, and they are true standouts in my recent tastings. What’s more, this experimentation has now evolved even further with the next level of dry whites in the Bartoli lineup, Integer. Both the Zibibbo and the Grillo for Integer are spontaneously fermented without temperature control, spend 10 days macerating with zero sulfur added, and then go through malolactic fermentation and rest for 10 months on the lees in large botti, with a small percentage of the juice spending five months on skins in clay amphora. The resulting wines are unique and stretch the imagination, yet they are also amazingly pleasing, and with notable cellaring potential.”
“(17% alcohol): Luminous amber-gold. Explosive aromas of ripe citrus fruits, peach and hazelnut. Fat, sweet and mouthfilling, delivering very intense flavors of peach, hazelnut, butter and orange peel. Finishes relatively sweet and extremely long, not unlike a very high-quality Amontillado. And you really won’t notice the alcohol. Drink: 2015-2030. 93 points
Marco de Bartoli has long been one of the best wine estates not just in Sicily but in all of Italy. Sadly, Marco, a very likable man who did so much for Marsala production, is no longer with us, but his son Renato has followed brilliantly in his footsteps, expanding the winery’s portfolio and promoting research of old local vines. For example, de Bartoli’s is the first Catarratto bottling made exclusively from the Lucido biotype (not a clone) of Catarratto Comune , of which there are three: Comune, Lucido and Extralucido. Although generations of growers has repeated the received wisdom that the last two gave the best wines, until de Bartoli came along with his Lucido bottling nobody had bothered to see if that was really the case. Those consumers who have never found a Marsala wine to like owe it to themselves to try the ones by made by de Bartoli.”
“The 2019 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Riserva is a fruit-forward and extroverted expression with notes of baked apple, dried nectarines, almond paste and honied florals. This is silky and enveloping, balanced by stimulating acidity with a savory, almost-salty mix of mineral-tinged orchard fruits and hints of ginger. There’s the slightest hint of perceptible heat to contend with here, yet it doesn’t get in the way, as a twang of zesty citrus reverberates through the long and structured finale. A full minute goes by as you notice a note of roasted hazelnut continues to linger. There’s so much pleasure to be found here already that it’s hard to imagine cellaring the 2019, yet a few years are sure to bring even further depths. Drinking window: 2022-2028. 91 points
The late Gianni Masciarelli founded the winery in 1981, starting out with just two hectares. Today, Masciarelli is one of the largest producers in the region, maintaining an admirable level of quality and dependability throughout the entire range. While the headquarters are located in San Martino sulla Marrucina, Masciarelli oversees 365 hectares through sustainable practices, spread out between sixty different sites. Masciarelli is the only Abruzzo producer to source all-estate fruit from all four provinces (Chieti, Pescara, Teramo and l’Aquila). With the size and focus on choice terroir, over the decades the firm created a large yet diverse portfolio of Montepulciano and Trebbiano that spans from the pure and fresh to the most modern, concentrated and internationally-styled. As a guide to finding the wines that best fit your palate, the portfolio is broken down between the “classic” and fresher “Masciarelli” lineup, the more international and stylish “Masciarelli – Marina Cvetic” lineup (named after Gianni Masciarelli’s wife) and the more powerful and age-worthy “Masciarelli – Villa Gemma” lineup. Just be aware that there is no shortage of new French oak in the more “important” wines of the range. That said, it’s really a matter of taste.”
“The 2016 Il Templare shows just how appealing this blend is with age. Soft and creamy, with plenty of freshness, the 2016 is just starting to peak now. Orchard fruit, lemon confit, mint and light floral honey accents linger. 70% Vernaccia, 20% Trebbiano Gentile, 10% Malvasia Bianca. Drinking window: 2021-2025. 93 points”
“The 2019 Vernaccia di San Gimignano Fiore offers yellow flowers, orchard fruit, dried flowers, almonds and tangerine peel. Varietal notes are given an extra kick of richness, yielding a Vernaccia with lovely mid-palate creaminess and light tropical accents, both of which add character. The 2019 is beautifully done. Drinking window: 2021-2026. 91 points”
“100% Chardonnay from a 19-year-old vineyard at between 870 and 950 m above sea level planted at a density of 12,300 vines/ha. Pre-fermentation cold soak of 12 hours. Fermented in large old oak casks of up to 20 hl in which it was also aged for 18 months.
Intense straw yellow. Like the Passobianco but amplified and fortified with elegant oak notes. Peach and orange on the palate with the oak supporting the fruit. Concentrated and, at the same time, displaying a certain coolness. Drink: 2021-2026. 17+ points”
“100% Chardonnay from a 15-year-old vineyard planted at a density of 12,300 vines/ha at between 800 and 1,000 m above sea level. Fermented in stainless steel and aged for 18 months in concrete tanks and large oak barrels.
Straw yellow. Concentrated, deep and alluring white- and citrus-fruit nose with hints of kumquat and papaya. Orange and lemon palate with bitter-almond notes on the finish. Long and a little linear and with plenty of substance. Drink: 2021-2026. 17 points”
“The 2017 Vermentino Solosole Pagus Camilla, is a dense, powerful white – qualities that are accentuated by the warm, dry year. Rich and creamy in the glass, the Pagus Camilla shows the more extroverted side of Vermentino off to great effect. It is a terrific effort for a year that was not easy for whites. Drinking window: 2020-2025. 91 points
These are the most impressive wines I have tasted from Poggio al Tesoro in some time. To be sure, the estate went through a rough patch a few years ago. If these new releases are any indication, that’s all in the past. Proprietor Marilisa Allegrini and consulting winemaker Luca D’Attoma make a formidable team here. These wines are archetypes for what Bolgheri is all about.”