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Hot Off the Press – “An Exotic Beauty” for the “World Class” Wine That “Readers Should Do Whatever They Can to Get.”

September 18, 2020

Hot Off the Press – “An Exotic Beauty” for the “World Class” Wine That “Readers Should Do Whatever They Can to Get.” More Good News to Share in Our Appreciation for San Giusto a Rentennano.

“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 months, you have heard us rant about the 2016 and 2017 releases from San Giusto a Rentennano featuring the flagship Percarlo and Chianti Classico Riserva Le Baroncole, as well as the entry-level Chianti Classico from 2018. Well, we are not alone, the press is taking notice and echoing our opinions on this quiet favorite from the heart of the Chianti zone. Antonio Galloni just posted his opinions stating, San Giusto fans will find plenty to like in this lineup of new releases. Readers can take solace in a fabulous edition of Percarlo, the estate’s iconic 100% Sangiovese. These remain some of the most compelling, artisan wines anywhere in the world.” The better news to report is that some of these wines have begun to arrive into New York from Italy.

As we stated before, the wines from this address are exhilarating; if you love pure, unadulterated Sangiovese and the wines of Tuscany – this is an essential stop. 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.” Sure, there are the prized Tuscan icons 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 artisanal sleeper from the medieval monastery of San Giusto a Rentennano: Percarlo!

Percarlo is the monovarietal Super Tuscan that once again 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, Percarlo is more amplified and powerful than Le Pergole Torte of Montevertine and the expansive Flaccianello of Fontodi. It is a wine that will appeal to Brunello enthusiasts, but also those who appreciate structured Barolo. Less than 1,000 cases of this cherished insider’s cult Sangiovese are 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.” It should be noted that yields are down 20% in the ripe vintage of 2017, but Martini has mange to produce what is already being called, "an exotic beauty." For IWM, it is just another side of Percarlo that needs to be experienced.

And while it is undoubtedly Percarlo, along with the estate’s Merlot-based La Ricolma, that often steal the thunder at this prized address, the greatness of San Giusto begins with the estate’s Chianti Classico, but is taken to new heights with the prized and highly allocated Riserva Le Baroncole. 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! If you love Sangiovese, you will want to experience this pinnacle expression of Chianti Classico.

Featured Wine(s): San Giusto a Rentennano Percarlo and More:

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."

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 – no Gran Selezione or Riserva – 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, 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. For today, I want this with a juicy burger or sausage pizza.”

93 Points, Monica Larner, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
"The 2018 Chianti Classico is a textbook expression from the appellation. This Sangiovese-based wine shows latitude and depth with elegant aromas of wild berry, forest floor, dried blueberry, honey, lavender and rosemary essence. There are hints of chalk or crushed limestone that recall the unique soils of the Gaiole in Chianti growing region. The tannins are elegantly integrated, and the wine offers enough natural freshness to pair with a hearty pappardelle al sugo di cinghiale."

2017 San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico Riserva Le Baroncole
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: “Stunning. The color alone was worth the price of admission. This might just be the finest Chianti expression from the 2017 vintage. Yes, there is dark fruit from the warm vintage, but there is so many layers here. There is awesome mouthwatering acidity that will please the Sangiovese purist, there is muscle that can satisfy the Brunello drinker, there is firmness that will impress the Barolo fan, and there are layers of depth and complexity that fill the flavors spectrum that can even satisfy the old Rioja enthusiast. First and foremost – it is a pinnacle expression of Sangiovese from Gaiole. You can expect nuances of black cherries, plum, wild berries, a touch of citrus, black tea, tobacco, wild herbs, smoke, baked earth and more. The wine finishes firm and dry, and you can feel the longevity in the wine. This is a serious Chianti Classico Riserva with power and depth that can take on Montalcino.”

94 Points, Monica Larner, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
“The 2017 Chianti Classico Riserva Le Baròncole is a beautiful wine that delivers elegance and grace despite the difficult conditions of the growing season that saw drought and hot summer temperatures. The wine shows depth and concentration with black fruit, crushed flowers, charred meat and potting soil. There is some phenolic bitterness here (probably due to the lack of moisture in the soils); however, the late-ripening Sangiovese grape performs nicely overall, thanks to those last few cooler weeks on the vine before harvest. That final phase of ripening has helped to solidify the wine's aromatic intensity. Luca Martini di Cigala has carefully crafted an impressive wine in this vintage."

2017 San Giusto a Rentennano Percarlo
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: “The inside scoop on this insider wine is that is that even the Sangiovese Maestro, Giovanni Manetti of Flaccianello says, this is the guy to watch, 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 Sangiovese on steroids, always the most powerful, structured, and masculine expression we taste from the Chianti zone. There is an abundance of fruit, as well as chewy and gripping tannins that need time to integrate. You can expect red and black fruit with nuances of macerated cherries, plums, even a touch of citrus, crushed lavender, herbs, smoke, and minerals. It is a wine that has the ability to age as long as a Brunello Riserva from Biondi Santi, but with more density and texture. It should be noted that yields are down 20% in 2017.”

97 Points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous:
“The 2017 Percarlo is an exotic beauty. Rich and sumptuous in the glass, with tremendous fruit density, the 2017 packs a serious punch. Succulent dark cherry, plum, licorice, menthol and earthy notes emerge over time, but the tannins remain imposing. Like the Baròncole, the Percarlo needs cellaring to be at its best. The 2017 was much more forthcoming from barrel. It will reveal all of that sumptuousness once again, but not soon.”

2011 San Giusto a Rentennano Vin Santo Giusto
96 Points, Monica Larner, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This is an iconic wine with an iconic lineage. The 2011 Vin San Giusto (presented in a 375-milliliter bottle with a 9.5% alcohol content) pours forth with extra thick density and richness. You could almost stick a fork in there and expect it to stand straight. The bouquet is seemingly infinite, starting off with dried fruit and brown sugar and then moving toward earthy aromas with button mushroom. The wine's sweetness is so delicate but powerful at the same time. I suppose that is the magic of this 90-10 blend of Malvasia and Trebbiano: something so simple can in fact be so divine. This vintage shows a little less activity on the bouquet, but a wine this precious can perform differently bottle to bottle. Brown sugar and maple syrup linger on the long finish. The wine is aged in chestnut wood barrels force years. A precious few 2,024 bottles were made."

Should you have any questions on these exciting wines, or would like to take advantage of this offer while supplies last, we are asking that you email orders back to me at, connect with your portfolio manager or mention receipt of this offer if calling the store. All orders are subject to confirmation.
All my best,