2009 Il Palagio Sister Moon Toscana
Expert Ratings
JS 93 points
WS 92 points
(Read the full reviews below)
 
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Sting & 4.18 out of 5 stars! Sting's 93-point Super Tuscan

As a teenager in Newcastle, England, vocalist Gordon Sumner already had world-class "pipes." His first concerts were in local pubs, each booking consummated with a pint and a handshake. The pay wasn't much, but young Gordon didn't care. He had an audience, and the beer was on the house.

As his band's popularity grew, Sumner's agent landed gigs all over Europe. Invariably, when he returned to his dressing room, the singer was greeted with presents from adoring fans. Many were bottles of fine French and Italian wine. As Gordon far preferred ale to wine, he gave those bottles to a roadie, who began building a collection that would soon include vintages of Chateau Petrus, Pichon Lalande and Biondi Santi.

Over the last four years, WineAccess has provided us with unforgettable afternoons in some of the most priceless cellars in the world. We've enjoyed multi-vintage lineups of Harlan Estate, Chateau Latour and Romanée-Conti. But those don't hold a candle to the story or sun-dappled beauty of the Tuscan patio owned by a musician whose name is Gordon Sumner — but who the rock 'n' roll world knows only as "Sting."

The oversized chess board is solid marble, the King and Queen towering over pawns and bishops. The song is "Sister Moon," a fitting accompaniment to the Sicilian Defense. The wine that carries the same name is fashioned after Antinori's Tignanello, a sleek, polished purple-black blend of floral Sangiovese and broad-shouldered Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2009 was magnificent — one of the finest Tuscan reds of that voluptuous vintage — but the story that follows was even better.

The more Sumner's band — which the world came to know as The Police — toured France and Italy, the larger the collection amassed by Sting's bass technician, Danny Quatrochi, became. Little by little, Quatrochi became an enthusiast, then a serious collector. It wouldn't take long before Danny became Sting's wine mentor.

In the early 1990s, Sting and his film-producer wife, Trudie Styler, were living in their Lake House estate in Wiltshire, England, when they hatched the plan. The wine bug that Sting had caught had spread to Trudie. The couple flew to Florence and engaged a real estate agent to find a property that had the potential to put out a wine that could challenge two of Tuscany's greatest reds — Sassicaia and Tignanello. The search began in 1992. A decade later, Trudie was shown a 650-acre property set on the cold soils of Figline Valdarno. She convinced her husband to fly down to take a look. As soon as Sting saw the cypress-lined avenue, the timeless yellow villa, and the patio that would soon house that oversized chess board, he was hooked. The couple closed on the property the following day.

Many celebrity wine estates are little more than monuments to overblown egos. But every so often, a creative genius applies his imagination to winegrowing with the same passion that he has for the stage. In March, we offered Sting's 2008 Il Palagio "Sister Moon" on WineAccess. That story struck a chord with the membership. Every case was gone in the blink of an eye. But some members remained skeptical, like one "Doubting Thomas" from Monterey who emailed, cynically asking "What do rock stars know about wine?" Based on the buyer ratings that soon followed (4.18 stars out of 5), a lot more than Thomas thought!

On our second trip to Tuscany, we again played black, and opted for the Caro-Kann defense (love the P-B3). The game only lasted 28 moves, not nearly enough time to swirl, smell and sip the stunning 2009 Il Palagio "Sister Moon."

The 2009 Il Palagio "Sister Moon" is opaque purple in color with plush aromas of crushed black-fruit preserves, laced with sweet Tuscan herbs. The attack is richer, softer and more silken than the more structured 2008. Dense, powerful and modernistic, this ultra-concentrated black-fruit powerhouse steals a page out of an awfully good Tignanello script. Drink now for its almost Napa-like opulence, or far better, lay down for 8-12 years in a cool cellar.

93 points from longtime Italian wine expert, James Suckling. 92 points from the Spectator. Total production of 1,000 cases, 175 of which are on their way stateside.

Tasting Notes

2009 Il Palagio Sister Moon Toscana
"Soft and velvety with berry and milk chocolate character with a walnut undertone. Full and delicious. Dense and yummy. A blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Made from biodynamic grapes. Drink now or hold."
93 points -- James Suckling, jamessuckling.com

"Balsamic, underbrush and tobacco aromas and flavors are allied to cherry fruit and a dense, compact frame. In the end, this is balanced, with persistent sweet fruit and fine length. Merlot, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2015 through 2025. 175 cases imported."
92 points -- Wine Spectator

"The 2009 Il Palagio 'Sister Moon' is opaque purple in color with plush aromas of crushed black-fruit preserves, laced with sweet Tuscan herbs. The attack is richer, softer and more silken than the more structured 2008. Dense, powerful and modernistic, this ultra-concentrated black-fruit powerhouse steals a page out of an awfully good Tignanello script. Drink now for its almost Napa-like opulence, or far better, lay down for 8-12 years in a cool cellar."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

 

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