Campo alle Comete, Stupore. UK Exclusive!
The wines of the Bolgheri region, down on the Tuscan coast, excite me in a way few others can. Bolgheri has become a magnet for wine investment, and many famous Italian wine producers have expanded into the area. Bolgheri is primarily Bordeaux-blend land, where the Reds achieve a rare intensity and Sangiovese plays only a minor role, if at all. The quality of the top wines means they are now international superstars with prices to match. However, the potential of Bolgheri is still developing, and there is great wine at affordable prices. Stupore is a brand new wine, and this is the first UK review.
High quality in the Bolgheri
Q: does little Bolgheri have room left for another great wine producer? Some of the leading lights here already include Tenuta San Guido, Ca’Marcanda, Grattamacco, Fornacelle, Castello Bolgheri, Michele Satta, Castello del Terriccio, Le Machiole, Campo alla Sughera, Ornellaia and Guado al Sasso. All great wines with great stories.
A: Yes, it does when your name is Feudi San Gregorio. They purchased the Campo alle Comete property in February 2016, and its 15 hectares is their first venture in Tuscany. Feudi San Gregorio is an iconic and ambitious wine producer that led the winemaking renaissance in southern Italy. From their base in Campania, they based their success on indigenous grape varieties and now have over 300 hectares across a range of terroirs.
Best known for their superb Falanghina and Fiano whites and Aglianico reds, all are organic, with excellent marketing and label design. The Bolgheri represents a new challenge, with a different terroir, international varieties and stiff competition. Campo alle Comete has a standalone identity; you won’t see the Feudi San Gregorio name on the bottle. Campo alle Comete is an old local place name, meaning field of comets.
This has its official launch in Italy at VinItaly during April 9-12 2017. It’s a seamless red blend of 50% Merlot, 25% Syrah, 20% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. After fermentation in stainless steel, the wines receive ten months maturation in oak. They use a mix of medium-toast old and new oak barriques and foudres. After blending, another six months in bottle settles the wine down before release.
This wine is to be followed soon by a Vermentino white, a Rosé, and a monovarietal Cabernet Sauvignon. However, I’ll have to wait until at least 2018 to try the flagship blend, Campo alle Comete Bolgheri Superiore DOC. That’s because a Bolgheri Superiore must be aged longer, for at least 24 months. At that point, Stupore will become the second wine of the property.
How does Stupore stack up?
Firstly, the packaging is as good as you’d expect from Feudi San Gregorio. That will help it stand out from an increasingly crowded space.
In English, you might think that Stupore might mean “stupor,” perhaps those dulled sensibilities after drinking a highly alcoholic extracted wine. However, in Italian, Stupore translates as amazement or surprise, which describes this wine well!
In the glass, it’s dense; purplish colour shows off its relative youth and concentration. Scents of plums and cherries dominate, with a little cocoa. Tasting reveals more plum and cherry flavours but also blackberry, all bound up in a balsamic wrapper.
The smooth tannins are mostly resolved, meaning a harmonious silky texture. What I like most are the balance and elegance. At 13.5%, this amount of alcohol is just right for the acidity and fruit and means it makes a good food partner too. It’s not a lean wine, but it’s not overly plush either.
There is oak, but it’s a subtle cocoa note on the nose and palate. Finally, a long finish brings hints of spice, garrigue and almonds. It’s drinking well on release, but I imagine that it could develop and age well too, certainly over the next two to three years, possibly longer. Only time will tell.
As for food, Sausages made for a simple yet great match! Beef and Venison if you’re feeling posher.
I was probably the first British wine writer to try this wine, or so I’m told. Hence the “exclusive” in the title. What a great honour! All I can do is offer Feudi San Gregorio a warm welcome to the Bolgheri. They have a winner on their hands.
On the evidence of Stupore, I can’t wait for the release of their Bolgheri Superiore. Meanwhile, Stupore is a must-try wine that’s available in the UK at Vini Italiani for £26.00
249 Via Fornacelle
57022 Castagneto Carducci (LI)