Brother and sister Luca and Maurizia di Napoli, who own and operate Castello dei Rampolla, resemble intellectual, aristocratic Italian versions of the farmers you see in upstate New York. They're serious people who are serious about their biodynamic farming. Ask Luca about why he chose to take the estate biodynamic in the '90s and his face lights up, his voice grows animated, and his passion crackles. "The soil, the earth, the light, the stars, the whole universe--it is all one," he says. "We grow to keep everything healthy, in balance. Happy." It shows in his wines.
The wines of Castello dei Rampolla illustrate both the serious, intellectual approach of the di Napoli duo and the vitality that biodynamic wines can impart. Today, I'm delighted to present a new allocation of 2011 Castello dei Rampolla Vigna d'Alceo, a wine that shimmers across the palate, seeming to scatter the stars in its wake. It's a wine that, along with the estate's other Super-Tuscan gem, Sammarco, has been garnering feverish praise in the wine press, and that's a sign that the wine press may finally have learned a thing or two about Italian wine. I have never put my trust in wine critics when they write about Italian wine, but they got it right on the '11 Vigna d'Alceo: it's terrific.
A week ago, I spotlighted one single 1995 Bianco from Fiorano, the estate owned and run by Prince Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi, whose wines were entrusted to me after his death. The prince vinified and bottled each lot separately to preserve a deep sense of terroir--that's why every bottle has a number after the name, because each wine, even if it's the same vintage, is unique. Today, I'm proud to present another 1995 Bianco, the No. 32, and even if you've tasted last week's No. 34, this wine will be a revelation. Finally, there's one beautiful bottle of Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir, a wine made in Argentina by Sassicaia's own Piero Incisa della Rocchetta. You Pinotphiles won't want to miss it.