The obvious standout (“KNOCKOUT” is a better descriptor) from last Saturday’s Tasting Bar venue was the new 2016 Sapaio Volpolo. Perfectly balanced, sublime and absolutely seamless except for a healthy little dose of edgy finishing tannins. Drinking beautifully, but still with the intensity and structure to age gracefully for another 5-8 years. James Suckling at 94 points, RP/WA 93 points, and Wine Spectator at 92 points. See the ratings and text below. Just $35.95 a bottle, but purchase 6+/$32.36 a bottle.
Volpolo is the brilliant “second” label value, cut from its mother Sapaio “Sapaio”, the Bordeaux blend or “SuperTuscan” that our dear friend Massimo Piccin has been making from his estate in the coastal Bolgheri region of Tuscany since 2004 with the assistance of legendary winemaker Carlo Ferrini and Alessandro Nannelli. Although over the years both of these wines have undergone changes in appellation status and the grapes composing each blend, they each remain the model of consistency and quality/value. Today the Volpolo consists primarily of Cabernet Sauvignon supported by Merlot and Petite Verdot, while the top-shelf and perenial Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri winner Sapaio sees the benefit of Cabernet Franc. The sixteen hectare estate is planted on a mix of limestone, clay and sandy soils just a few meters above sea level.
“The black cherry and black currant flavors are accented by graphite and tobacco notes, beautifully displayed on the lush texture and backed by a well-integrated structure. Shows terrific balance, complexity and length. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Best from 2020 through 2033. 7,000 cases made, 1,200 cases imported.” 92 points, Wine Spectator — BS
“This blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 15% Petit Verdot is a very lively Tuscan red with great intensity, precision and long-lasting flavors. The 2016 Bolgheri Rosso Volpolo is balanced and bright, with notes of blackberry, black olive, sweet spice and cigar box. The wine ages in barrique for 14 months. There is some astringency at this early stage, but the wine should smooth out nicely. Some 90,000 bottles were produced.” – 93 points, Wine Advocate (ML)
“A very fresh and enticing nose of bright blueberries, newly picked blackcurrants, citrus, crushed stones, pressed violets, dried sage, ash and cedar. Full-bodied and ever so tight with firm, polished tannins punctuated by vibrant acidity. Long and taut on the finish. Drink in 2020.” – 94 points, James Suckling