Mission Codename Lavoro of love
Definition: too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words.
Maybe the pros can help describe this vinous phenomenon. “So much going on here that it’s hard to focus on just one thing” says Vinous. What? That’s not too helpful. But wait, it is. Describes exactly how my nose, palate, and fingers feel in the presence of this beauty. Dumbfounded.
Others nailed it for us though:
Antonio Galloni, for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate says “Terra di Lavoro has quickly established itself as one of Italy’s cult wines. The Celentanos have a huge passion for food and wine, and that exuberance comes through loud and clear in these fabulous wines.”
Stephen Tanzer for Vinous continues “This small grower in the province of Caserta has electrified Italian and foreign markets with its blend of Aglianico and Piedirosso… simply one of Italy’s great wines. Enologist Riccardo Cotarella loves this wine, and it’s easy to see why.”
Enough name dropping. Our recommendation? Shuffle your budget, cancel that NFL Redzone subscription, and shake whatever loose change you can find out of your kid’s piggy bank to grab at least one bottle. If not many more. And do so quickly to assure you don’t miss out, then come back to read up on more oohs and aahs.
Even the looks are perplexing, ruby and garnet simultaneously from core to rim. Is that a dormant volcano on the first whiff? Ashy minerals surrounding abundant wild ripe red and black berries is a better way to put it. At once sweet, round, savory, and saline on the palate, it bewilders further with balance and refinement. A somber grip emerges 60+ seconds into it, begging for hours of oxygen. Or do as the Vinous review suggests and “lose this for a decade in the cellar and marvel once it’s unearthed.” Marvel you will!! Assuming you can resist for 5-10 years. We sure are not going to stop you from opening one too young, so when you do, enjoy with rich fare. Pappardelle al Cinghiale anyone?
So just like our perennial sellout classic the Montevetrano, this too gets the magic Coterella touch. To recap he happens to be one of Italy’s infamous masters. He’s been recognized as “one of the most influential wine personalities in the world” by Robert Parker and “one of the best in Italian winemaking” by the Wine Spectator along with Winemaker of the Year by Wine Enthusiast, and Best Italian winemaker by Gambero Rosso too, for heaven’s sake.
Did we say 40% off in spite of all that pizzazz while it lasts??? Mamma mia!
96 Points – James Suckling
“There’s a unique floral and herbal edge to this, in the form of peppercorns, aniseed, licorice and five spice; wait for this to open up in the glass (decanting suggested), and along comes a cohort of dark fruit in the form of dark plums, mulberries and blackcurrants. Dense and flavorful, yet wild and pretty tannins envelop the mouth, coating layers of dark fruit and painting them in colorful hues. It’s full-bodied and full-throttle, but its beauty is understated and the acidity and fruit are playful and subtle. Drink from 2026.”
95 Points - Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The Galardi winery was founded in 1991 by three cousins and their families, Maria Luisa Murena and Roberto Selvaggi, along with Dora and Arturo Celentano and Francesco Catello. With a tremendous love for Campania and its native varieties, the two families combined their resources, bringing on Riccardo Cotarella as their consultant, defining the blend and planting the vineyards that would one day become Terra di Lavoro. The gently cascading hills surrounding the Volcano of Roccamonfina were chosen, from which you could actually see the Gulf of Gaeta off in the distance. Here we find volcanic soils between 1,400-1,600 feet above sea level, where the warmth of the Italian south is offset by moderating influences of the nearby Mediterranean and the cooling winds that funnel down from the surrounding mountains. Today, the next generation of the Selvaggi family is currently in control, while maintaining the vision of Galardi to make a Campanian wine of importance, blending two of the region’s most historic varieties, Aglianico and Piedirosso, to create Terra di Lavoro. The sheen of new oak (70%) that Terra di Lavoro receives allows it to be quite enjoyable in a very young state, but then the wine goes into a period of dormancy, where it can seem overly dark, earthy, ashen, and almost feral. It has always been a wine of patience, and it remains so to this very day. However, for all of its youthful density, I’m finding more balance in recent vintages, and the 2017 is a perfect example. The 2017 Terra di Lavoro is wonderfully seductive in its youthful state, wafting up from the glass effortlessly, with a bouquet that mixes wild blueberries and black raspberries with sweet lavender, violet florals, and smoky spiced citrus. The 2017 takes hold of the palate with salty minerality, but not before coating everything it touches with luxurious, velvety textures, cascading ripe black fruits across the senses, and leaving a purple floral tinge. Grippy tannins frame the long and dramatic finish, resonating on dark fruits, savory spice, and lingering florals. There is really so much going on here that it’s hard to focus on just one thing; but if nothing else, it’s the salty grip of the 2017 Terra di Lavoro that boggles the mind, brimming up over the wine’s intense dark fruit. Lose this for a decade in the cellar and marvel once it’s unearthed. Drink 2026-2038.”
What the Winery Says
2017 'Terra di Lavoro' Roccamonfina IGT
- Ricardo Cotarella
- 80% Aglianico, 20% Piedirosso
- Roccamonfina IGT, Campania
- Vallemarina, Galardi, Gaeta, Vignadora
- 1,485 feet
- Vineyard planted
- Before 1989
- 2 tons / acre
- 12 months
- 70% new French oak