Taste a 10-Year Vertical of Italian Icon Galatrona

What makes a wine an icon? Is it rarity or expense? Is it the terroir? Is it high scores from critics or the wine’s presence on the best restaurant wine lists around the world? Does it set the standard for other winemakers? 

For Petrolo’s Galatrona, it’s all of the above. 

Galatrona is like the atmosphere of a three-Michelin-starred kitchen: constant pursuit of perfection, unbelievable attention to detail and unwavering commitment to excellence. Luca Sanjust, proprietor and winemaker at Petrolo, embodies these ideals and his 100 percent Merlot, Galatrona, sets the bars for other Merlot wines in Italy and around the world. 

As part of Robert Parker Wine Advocate’s Matter of Taste event taking place at The City Club of San Francisco on Saturday, March 3, Luca Sanjust will join Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate’s own Italian reviewer and one of the world’s most comprehensive writers of Italian wine, to lead a retrospective tasting of 10 vintages of Galatrona. This is an amazing opportunity to taste a decades’ worth of a world wine icon. Guests will taste vintages back to 2004 as well as the latest 2015 vintage. With a very small production of about 20,000 bottles per year, Galatrona is notoriously difficult to find, especially matured vintages that are ready to drink. 

Galatrona, named after the medieval tower overlooking the Petrolo estate from a high hill (used by the Etruscans in 800 B.C.), is one of the best Merlots in the world. It’s been compared to Pétrus in Pomerol and it shares the podium with other 100 percent Merlots from Italy like Masseto, Redigaffi, Messorio and L’Apparita. First produced in 1994, it comes from a single vineyard, or cru, of low-vigor Bordeaux clones planted by Sanjust’s mother in 1990 in the obscure Valdarno di Sopra DOC just outside Chianti Classico. Yields for Galatrona are famously low and Sanjust, a former painter, employs exhaustive winemaking techniques for his top cuvée, turning his artist’s eye to the grape as medium. The soil, loam rich in clay with shale, marl and sandstones, maintains the moisture that Merlot needs in the hot Tuscan sun and allows for full-bodied but elegant wines even in less-than-stellar vintages. Galatrona can age for many years in bottle.

This Master Class is a rare opportunity to taste an entire vertical of Galatrona with the winemaker himself. Sanjust holds nothing back to make the best Merlot in Italy, but that’s a blessing and a curse for those of us looking to taste the best of what Italy has to offer—Galatrona will only become more expensive and more difficult to find. 

Grab your tickets now before they sell out and come see for yourself what makes a wine an icon. 

Hero image courtesy of Petrolo.

Want to learn more about wine? Follow Robert Parker Wine Advocate on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

More articles from this author