San Giusto a Rentennano Percarlo: The Essence of Gaiole Sangiovese

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This complete vertical of San Giusto a Rentennano’s flagship Sangiovese Percarlo left me speechless. Brothers Luca and Francesco Martini di Cigala showed me every vintage of Percarlo, back to the inaugural 1983, a wine that has now run its full course. I was deeply struck by the consistency of the wines from year to year, and even more importantly, by the great showing of a number of wines from long forgotten harvests, proving yet again the importance of choosing producer over vintage.

Percarlo started off as a selection of the estate’s best vineyards. In 2001 the Martini di Cigalas moved to a bunch-by-bunch selection across all of the fruit that comes into the winery, an approach they favor because of the huge inconsistency Sangiovese often shows from vine to vine, and even within the same cluster. I also tasted a few vintages of the Chianti Classico Le Baroncole, the top Sangiovese bottling made in years not deemed suitable for Percarlo. Readers who want to learn more about San Giusto and Percarlo may want to take a look at my recent video interview with proprietor Luca Martini di Cigala.

San Giusto a Rentennano Percarlo Key Points:

1. 100% Sangiovese from the estate’s best vineyards in Gaiole

2. A powerful, intense expression of Sangiovese

3. Remarkably consistent, even in lesser years

4. Aging potential: 20+ years

-- Antonio Galloni