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August 201097 The 2007 Terra di Lavoro emerges from the glass with an array of floral red fruit, spices, berries and minerals. It is an especially forward, opulent Terra di Lavoro bursting with exuberance. There is something viscerally thrilling about the 2007, perhaps because Terra di Lavoro is typically so reticent when it is young. Not here. This is an open, wonderfully expressive vintage. The only thing left to wonder is if the wine will ever shut down in bottle. For now, readers who want to understand what makes Terra di Lavoro such a pedigreed wine may want to start here. Readers who prefer a firmer style will likely gravitate towards the 2006 or 2008, but this is a flat-out great bottle of wine with an explosive personality that carries through to the long, intensely satisfying finish. In 2007 the weather was consistently hot, but the 2007 doesn’t show the jamminess of the 2003 nor the sheer power of the 2001. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2032. Terra di Lavoro, first produced in 1994, has quickly established itself as one of Italy’s cult wines. I tasted all of these vintages with proprietors Arturo and Dora Celentano during their first visit to the US. The Celentanos have a huge passion for food and wine, and that exuberance comes through loud and clear in these fabulous wines. Terra di Lavoro is 80% Aglianico and 20% Piedirosso from vines planted by consulting oenologist Riccardo Cotarella beginning in 1991. The fruit is harvested according to ripeness rather than strictly by variety, which means that Aglianico and Piedirosso are sometimes picked and vinified together. After the alcoholic fermentation, the wines are racked into French oak where they remain on their lees for several months. Cotarella describes Aglianico as a hard grape to take through malolactic fermentation. He therefore believes it is essential for the final blend to be made before the wines go into malo. The final blend is assembled and undergoes what is usually a very slow malo, in steel for 80-90% of the wine, prior to being moved back into oak. There is little question that malolactic fermentation in stainless steel contributes significant freshness and aging potential to this heroic southern Italian wine.
June 201097 The 2007 Roccamonfina Terra di Lavoro announces itself with a blast of smoke, ash, red berries, flowers and minerals, all of which come together in a heady, exotic expression of Aglianico and Piedirosso, two of Campania's thoroughbred grapes. There is incredible clarity and nuance in the glass despite the wine's massive concentration. The 2007 is a very unusual Terra di Lavoro for its open, accessible personality and ripe, silky tannins, both of which are on full display. I am fairly certain the wine will shut down in bottle but today it is nothing short of glorious.
August 31, 201192 Dense and compact, offering sappy layers of ripe blackberry coulis, cassis and plum skin notes, which weave between hints of pine, tar and spice. Rich yet supple, with fine tannins on the long, ashy finish. Aglianico and Piedirosso. Drink now through 2022. 3,700 cases made.