July 6, 2020
U.S. Debut – A Jaw-dropping Chianti Classico from 2018 Has Landed! Plus, the Flagship Percarlo, the Insider’s Sangiovese that Can Satisfy the Brunello Traditionalist and Burghead. A “Truly Epic” Expression That “Readers Should Do Whatever They Can to Get”
“Readers who want to discover what Sangiovese is all about without splurging for one of Tuscany’s higher priced bottlings may want to start here. This is as textbook as it gets… These are no longer among the most profound wines in Tuscany, or Italy for that matter. San Giusto is world-class.” — Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Over the past few weeks, we’ve had two of our most inspiring expressions of Sangiovese: the newly arriving and jaw-droppping 2018 San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico and the 2016 San Giusto a Rentennano Percarlo, the flagship of the estate and the finest release since 1985.
Sure, there are the prized selections of Montevertine Le Pergole Torte, Fontodi Flaccianello, and Isole e Olena Cepparello that arguably offer the finest expressions of Sangiovese from outside of Montalcino. What is missing from this illustrious Tuscan lineup is the quiet artisanal sleeper from the medieval monastery of San Giusto a Rentennano: Percarlo. Here, just outside of the walled city of Sienna, “San Giusto is one of the pearls of Italy. This small, family-run property is a great source for hand-made, artisan wines that reflect the best of the Tuscan vigneron spirit.”
With an awesome history dating back to the ninth century, San Giusto came into its own under the watchful eye of Enrico Martini di Cigala and his son Luca. The estate converted to organic protocol in 2001, and yields are kept ridiculously low, with an emphasis on quality over quantity in the wines, which derive from soil that’s a few meters of sand and small stones over clay. The terroir and artisanship are arguably best captured in the estate’s flagship bottling Percarlo, the monovarietal Sangiovese, and in the small production La Ricolma, their pure-varietal Merlot. These wines are, as Antonio Galloni claims, "No longer among the most profound wines in Tuscany, or Italy for that matter. San Giusto is world-class. It’s as simple as that."
While it is undoubtedly Percarlo and Ricolma that steal the attention at this prized address, the greatness of San Giusto begins with the estate’s straight Chianti Classico — not Gran Selezione or Riserva — just classic, traditional Chianti Classico. Our beloved Giovanni Manetti of Fontodi may have said it best of his under-the-radar neighbor, “Enrico and Luca are making better Sangiovese than me…. It is incredible to me that more do not know about this estate.” Strong words from the maestro of Sangiovese! Well, the 2018 demands to be heard; it combines the ripeness of 2015 with the structure of 2016. If you love Sangiovese, you will want to experience this pinnacle expression of Chianti Classico.
Feature: San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico and Percarlo (Click to Order)
While many collector eyes have gravitated to the back to back 100-point rating for San Giusto’s 2016 La Ricolma, the estate’s defining work with Sangiovese, Tuscany’s indigenous Sangiovese varietal, has once again captured our attention and that of Antonio Galloni, who has emphatically stated that “readers should do whatever they can to get a few bottles of the 2015s from San Giusto a Rentennano.” In fact, this is the finest Percarlo in thirty-five years alongside the benchmark 2006. The near-perfect 2016 Percarlo is 100% pure, unadulterated Sangiovese from the Tuscan hills. It is a Super Tuscan that drinks like a well-endowed Brunello of massive proportions, and it is the product of low-yielding vines located in six grand cru-like vineyard sites of Gaiole. This wine’s age-worthiness challenges that of Barolo and the finest Cabernets of the Medoc and Napa. Stylistically, this quiet sleeper of San Giusto lands somewhere between the structured Le Pergole Torte of Montevertine and the expansive Flaccianello of Fontodi. It is a wine that will appeal to Brunello and Barolo enthusiasts, but also those who appreciate structured Burgundy. Just 1,000 cases of this cherished insider’s cult Sangiovese is produced for the world, and Antonio Galloni says it best when he said, “Luca Martini di Cigala's wines echo an artisan spirit that is often seen in Piedmont and Burgundy, but much less so in Chianti Classico.”
Additional Notes and Reviews:
“San Giusto a Rentennano fans will be thrilled with these new releases. Luca Martini di Cigala's wines echo an artisan spirit that is often seen in Piedmont and Burgundy, but much less so in Chianti Classico. These wines breath with humanity and a total dedication to the vineyard. Quite frankly, I wish there were more estates operating at this level. The fact that there aren't makes San Giusto all the more special.” — Antonio Galloni, Vinous
2018 San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: “While it is undoubtedly Percarlo and Ricolma that steal the show at this prized address in the Tuscan hills, the greatness of San Giusto begins with the straight Chianti Classico. A traditional blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Canaiolo, the 2018 has elements of 2015 and 2016; it is an inviting expression with a mouthful of generous and strikingly pure fruit that quickly gives way to San Guisto’s signature gripping tannins and dry finish. While expansive and ripe, this wine screams freshness and is incredibly light on its feet. You can expect nuances of blackberries, plum, sour cherries, fresh violets, wild herbs, minerality with a touch of salinity. An exciting wine that changes your perception of simple Chianti Classico. Today, I want this with a juicy burger or sausage pizza.”
2016 San Giusto a Rentennano Percarlo
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: “WOW — what a wine! The inside scoop on this insider wine is that is that even the Sangiovese maestro, Giovanni Manetti of Flaccianello, says that this is the guy to watch because “he makes better wine than me.” Hard to image given our love affair with Flaccianello over the past 20 years, but Giovanni is correct. Percarlo flies under the radar and demands attention. For IWM, this is the most powerful, structured, and masculine expression of Sangiovese we have tasted from 2016. We tasted the wines over three days, and as the tannins softened, and the dense fruit integrated, there were stunning nuances of black cherry, blood orange, crushed rose petals, herbs and minerals. I have to believe this 2016 can age longer than Biondi-Santi’s finest Brunello Riserva. A wine of the vintage — hands down.”
99 Points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous: “The 2016 Percarlo captures all of the beauty it has always shown in the cellar. Pliant, silky and exceptionally polished, the 2016 simply has it all. Freshly cut flowers, rose petal, mint, spice and blood orange add striking aromatic nuance to a core of brilliant Sangiovese fruit. Powerful and ample, with superb aromatic lift, the 2016 Percarlo is exceptionally beautiful and moving from the very first taste. A whole range of floral and mineral notes extend the finish effortless. The tannins need time to soften, so readers should plan on at least a few years of cellaring. In a word: compelling.”
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All my best,