Tuscany is a lot like Napa Valley in that it seems filled with passion project wine endeavors; of which Petra (with whom I did one of those Zoom-y-Zoom-Zoom samples tastings recently) is one. In this case, the passion project is from Terra Moretti, who are known for their presence in Franciacorta with Bellavista, and who also own Sella & Mosca in Sardinia, among other brands in Lombardy and Tuscany). A family-run business, Francesca Moretti is now leading their wine program.
Apparently, the idea for Petra took root (ha ha!) when Francesca fell in love with the property during the close of the `90s, after visiting the Tuscan coast in Maremma’s Val di Cornia, in Suvereto. Aside from the normal stunning Tuscan beauty thing, the estate where Petra (or “stone”) now sits has a lot going for it in terms of premium vine cultivation.
Combine the mitigating climatic influence from the nearby seaside with Cretaceous era soils (orange-brown, well-drained, gravelly, and with calcareous deposits. similar soils to Bordeaux’s Right Bank), as well as posts rich in marine deposits, sodium and magnesium, and are quite alkaline (earning the nickname “the Metal Hills of Maremma”), and you’ve got some serious Super-Tuscan style potential. The decision to plant Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon seemed stone-cold obvious, I suppose.
After tasting Petra’s hand-harvested red gems, I can tell you that no serious student of the vine would mistake them for young Right Bank Bordeaux anytime soon. Thankfully, they speak to much more of a sense of place than that, and are fine examples of French inspiration given a nod in the Tuscan sun…
2020 Petra ‘Hebo’ Toscana Rosso, $25
Petra’s entry-level red is a blend of Cab Sauv, Merlot, and a bit of Sangiovese, spending 12 months in Slavonian oak (50%). The bottom line: it’s mineral, herbal and spicy, with pleasantly “dusty” tannins. Ripe red fruits, dried herbs, and lots of spice notes continue on the palate. It has heft, but carries it very well and buoyantly. Hints of earth and funk emerge among the tangy currant fruit flavors. Easy to like, hard to put down.
2019 Petra Potenti Rosso Toscana, $38
100% Cabernet Sauvignon, from a single vineyard, aged 12 months in 50% Slavonian oak (30% used). Potenti means “Powerful” – and this red does come on strong. Red plums, blackcurrant, dried violets, funk, dried herbs, graphite, coffee bean, sweet oak, baking spices… you’re getting a lot for the money here, folks. Scrub-brush, balsamic, dark cherry fruit, all on a hefty mouthful of a palate. Good freshness, but you’ll need hearty fare to pair in order to counter all of that focused power.
2019 Petra Quercegobbe Merlot Toscana, $60
100% Merlot here, also single vineyard. “Humpback oaks” is the name, and it’s fermented in 100hl oak vats, then spends 12 months in partially new and used barriques. Earthy, plummy, succulent, and ripe, with raspberry flavors galore. Rosemary and licorice also make appearances. Comes on smooth, but has a focused, powerful edge after a few seconds in the mouth. Nice freshness throughout. Silky, and Sexy AF.
This is Petra’s icon-level, Bordeaux-style blend (Cab Sauv, Merlot, and Cab Franc), now in its 21st vintage. This is also classy stuff – big, but in a very well put-together way. Rich, tangy, dark, spicy, mineral, with wild berry fruit action, minty notes, hints of balsamic, tobacco leaf, pepper, and vanilla. Sweet incense, too. Excellent length. Mouth-filling, mouth-coating, and soul-pleasing.