Hitting The Bull's-Eye:
2013 Castello dei Rampolla Vigna d’Alceo

Posted by Ian McFadden

"Readers should do whatever they can to get their hands on a few bottles of the 2013 d'Alceo." -Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media

Castello dei Rampolla may keep a low profile, but the estate was one of the original super-Tuscans and has produced no shortage of great wines.

Rampolla has long been an insider's estate attracting everyone from collectors, Bordeaux lovers, wine geeks and Italophiles. Still, even with Rampolla's illustrious history, the 2013s stand out. They simply nailed the vintage.

Rampolla's "Vigna d'Alceo" is a wine of detail, grace and intensity. The first vintage of Alceo was 1996. It was created as a tribute to Castello dei Rampolla's founder, Alceo di Napoli, by his children Luca and Maurzia di Napoli, after he passed away in 1991.

Compared to Rampolla's other top bottling, Sammarco, Alceo has more muscle, more density, more depth. This is the powerhouse of the two, with a profile that is much darker, more complicated than the Sammarco. The combination of the harmony and stuffing allows Alceo to age beautifully.

Alceo comes from a primely situated terraced vineyard on stony soils. Many people compare it to Graves as the only other place that produces such nuanced and mineral-driven Cabernet-based blends. What makes the 2013 so stunning is the precision and power that it brings to the table. Expect a jaw-dropping grandeur and depth of complexity with notes of dark fruits, herbs, spice, minerals and other savory undertones.

Back in the mid-nineties, Rampolla was the first "Super Tuscan" estate to pursue biodynamics. In the vineyard, they're ruthless in the density of their plantings, in restricting their yields and generally, pampering their vineyards. In 2009 they completed a transition to using cement and amphora. The goal is simple, at least in theory: rendering wines with ever greater purity.

Without a doubt, Rampolla's Alceo is one of the great Cabernet blends of the world. The 2013 is a monumental vintage for the wine. Antonio Galloni's sterling review has really fanned the fire and I've watched the wine dry up from all of our sources. I don't expect our small parcel to last for long.

To order, reply to offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden

Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits