This estate is the first to have clearly shown-with their d'Alceo Super-Tuscan back in the '80s-that petit verdot, now springing to new fame everywhere but long considered an also-ran, can ripen properly in Tuscany's warmer climate and add interesting nuances to the wines made here. The other Super-Tuscan from this estate, Sammarco, was one of the original international blends along with Sassicaia and Solaia, and is still one of the very best made today. Rampolla relies on organically grown grapes that grow in one of the true grand crus of Chianti, what is known as the "golden amphitheater" of Panzano.

2004 Castello dei Rampolla Chianti Classico

($34) Bright ruby. Clean, penetrating aromas of smoky red berries and red cherry initially show a slight reductive quality. Juicy and sappy, with pure flavors similar to the aromas, plus a nuance of underbrush on the back. Round and sweet, with fresh redcurrant and strawberry flavors on the finish. Not particularly long but nonetheless a highly enjoyable glass of Chianti.


2004 Castello dei Rampolla Sammarco Toscana Rosso

($130; a blend of 90% cabernet sauvignon, 5% merlot and 5% sangiovese) Good full medium ruby. Multifaceted nose offers currant, flowers, tobacco and licorice, plus a tinge of minerally ink. Blackcurrant and raspberry fruit flavors are complicated by a ferrous, blood-like, mineral quality. The wine's lush, dense texture is nicely firmed by an edge of acidity on the very long, smooth finish.

2004 Castello dei Rampolla d'Alceo Toscana

($240; 85% cabernet sauvignon and 15% petit verdot) Full, saturated ruby. Very pretty violet, black pepper and ripe blackberry aromas run deep and sweet. Quite suave on entry, then somewhat youthfully rough-grained, with good mineral lift to the sweet, lush dark fruit flavors. The long, very mineral finish, typical of the wines of this estate, ends with a peppery character dominating. (Vias Imports, New York, NY)

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