October 2021 Week 1, The Wine Advocate
The San Giusto a Rentennano 2018 La Ricolma is an absolute stunner. This iconic expression of Merlot opens to rich and velvety concentration with lots of black intensity. Italians might call it "una bomba," or a veritable bomb of fruity bounty and beauty. The organic grapes are fermented in steel over 18 days and aged in French barrique for up to 22 months. This rather straightforward winemaking methodology results in profound fruit purity and persistence. The tannins are still tight and grippy, and this is a more controversial point that I discovered across many of the wines I tasted from 2018. You'll need to give this wine more time to evolve and soften. Production is 5,994 bottles, 315 magnums and 33 double magnums.
La Ricolma is made from 100% Merlot grapes especially seclected from prime vineyards and hand-picked when perfectly mature. It is fermented in stainless steel tanks for about 18 days, then racked and pressed. After it is racked once again, the wine is left to mature for 20-22 months in French oak barriques. It is bottled and held for another 6 months before being released.
2018 Vintage Notes
A fairly rainy spring season, more so during May and June. Even temperatures up to mid September -no peaks above the average registered - gave way to a ripening of slightly late beginnings, though steadily protracted. Rather warm weather was experienced thereafter, with steep temperature excursions favouring a fast rounding up of the fruit. The climate pattern was similar to that of year 2016, to the point that harvesting was carried out at the same time in both cases. The resulting wine proves nicely fresh and concentrated. Thinning out effected in two turns; approximately 40% of the initial spontaneous fruit load was discarded in total.
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