2004 Castello dei Rampolla Sammarco IGT Rosso Toscana
Castello dei Rampolla is located in Panzano’s famous Conca d’Oro or ‘golden basin” district, an amphitheater of striking, pristine hillside vineyards in Tuscany. The di Napoli family has owned Rampolla since 1739, and Alceo di Napoli inherited the estate in 1965. At the time, Rampolla was essentially a summer residence. Wheat, olive trees and other mixed crops were cultivated, but there were no vineyards. With the assistance of Piero Antinori amongst others, Alceo began making and bottling wines under the Rampollo label in 1975. Rampolla are now a reference point for the highest level of quality that does not fit into Chianti Classico or Brunello for Tuscany.
In 1980, Rampolla produced their first vintage of Sammarco, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. It was the early days of Italy’s infatuation with international grapes that would in turn bring a handful of wines a level of recognition and accompanying prestige that was unthinkable back then. Antinori’s first vintage of Tignanello was 1971. Solaia followed in 1978. Tenuta dell’Ornellaia did not exist yet and Sassicaia was still under the radar. It was the very beginning of an entire movement. The first Sammarcos were 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Sangiovese. Merlot was added in 2003, gradually replacing Sangiovese and giving the wine softer, more modern contours as well as greater early approachability. The Cabernet has always been aged in French oak barrels, with an increasing move towards larger 500-liter formats, while the Sangiovese sees only cask.
The 2004 Sammarco shows why this is such a magnificent vintage for Tuscany. Silky, layered and impeccably refined, the 2004 possesses notable breadth and richness, yet remains light on its feet. The flavors are bright, with a level of crystalline purity that is impossible to miss. Best of all, the 2004 continues to age gracefully. I imagine the 2004 will offer a wide drinking window of pure pleasure. The 2004 isn't one of the biggest or most imposing Sammarcos, but it is among the most finessed. Drink 2015-2029
Antonio Galloni - Vinous