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Petra, revival in the Tuscan winery

The Petra winery in Val di Cornia along the Tuscan coast is making a fresh start. Today, they focus more on elegance than power.  Petra presented their new wines at the end of March in Milan. BKWine Magazine´s Åsa Johansson attended the tasting.

“We aim for brighter, fresher wines that better reflect our terroir,” says Eleonora Guerini, presenting the new wines in designer Antonio Marra’s beautiful show-room in central Milan. Prior to 2017, Eleonora was one of three chief editors at the Italian wine guide Gambero Rosso. In the Italian wine world the news that she left the wine guide made waves. Today she is an important component of Terre Moretti’s new initiative.

Moretti, Italy’s fourth largest wine group, which owns Bellavista in Franciacorta and Petra in Tuscany, has gone from 350 hectares (720 acres) to almost 1100 hectares (2500 acres) in a short period of time. They have achieved this by purchasing Sella & Mosca in Sardinia and Teruzzi e Puthoud in San Gimignano in Tuscany, that used to belong to the Campari Group.

Presenting Petra wines, a new era

Presenting Petra wines, a new era, copyright A Johansson

Since 2014, Francesca Moretti, wine maker and CEO of the Moretti group has also called on the winemaker Beppe Caviola from Piedmont for advice.

“The first thing I did when I came to Petra was to taste all the older vintages from the winery. All the wines were well made and perfect – twenty years ago. They fit perfectly into the market as it was in the 80’s and 90’s when structured, rich wines with a lot of oak were in demand”, says Beppe Caviola.

Since 2014, Beppe and Francesca have introduced new methods both in the vineyards and in the cellar.

“One of the changes is to harvest in two rounds with a couple of days in between. This is because some of the grapes should have higher acidity so that we maintain freshness in the wines, “says Beppe.

The climate in Val di Cornia in the south of Tuscany is generous so the challenge is to try to make elegant wines in an area where power and alcohol would like to take over.

“We have also started making a cold maceration before we start the fermentation, and we let the juice ferment at a lower temperature, max 27 degrees. All this is in order to maintain freshness in the wines. We also use half as much new oak compared to before”, continues Beppe.

“Our investment seems to be going in the right direction considering that we have already sold all the wine,” says Eleonora Guerini with a big smile.

Tasting notes:

Petra Hebo

Petra Hebo, copyright A Johansson

Hebo, Rosso Toscano IGT, 2016, Petra

50% cabernet sauvignon, 40% merlot, 10% sangiovese

A classic vintage, aromas of black currant, juicy, fresh, tangible tannins and some body but without feeling heavy.

Hebo, Rosso Toscano IGT, 2015, Petra

Warm July with temperatures above 40 degrees C, luckily August was cooler.

Ripe aromas of dark sweet berries, spice from oak barrels, full-bodied, silky tannins, nice finish. A biggerwine with a lot of everything.

Querce Gobbe, Rosso Toscano IGT, 2015, Petra

100% merlot

Inviting aromas of red sweet berries, blueberries, eucalyptus tones in the background, smooth tannins, full-bodied, soft and spicy with a long finish. Elegant and very good!

Querce Gobbe, Rosso Toscano IGT, 2014, Petra

100% merlot

Strawberries and very floral fragrance with hints of mint. Needed time to open up. A cool year, a tighter wine, where tannins are present but are elegant, high acidity and lighter in body. Very good, especially given the difficult vintage.

Potenti, Rosso Toscano IGT, 2015, Petra

100% cabernet sauvignon

Typical cabernet sauvignon aroma, astringent with sandy tannins, tobacco and leather, rich but with good acidity, medium finish. Definitely needs to be combined with food.

Petra Alto

Petra Alto, copyright A Johansson

Potenti, Rosso Toscano IGT, 2014, Petra

100% cabernet sauvignon

More aromatic than 2015, forest berries, rosemary, lighter and more elegant tannins and a long finish. A wine I liked a lot.

Petra, Rosso Toscano IGT, 2015

70% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot

Mouth filling tannins but also tons of fruit, blueberries, sweet cherries, rosemary and tobacco. Full-bodied with well-balanced acidity. At present it feels green but has ageing potential since all components are well-integrated. Would like to open this bottle in a couple of years’ time.

Petra, Rosso Toscano IGT, 2014

70% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot

A well-made wine that is an expression of the cool vintage. They have managed to keep the fruit and they have been careful with the oak in the cellar. More floral aromas, lighter tannins, not as full-bodied as 2015 but still a wine to open at a nicely set table!

Visit their web site petrawine.it where you can see the beautiful winery designed by the famous Swiss architect Mario Botta.

Åsa Johansson is BKWine’s person in Italy. She lives in Florence since the early ’00s. Asa writes regularly on wine and food in Swedish and Italian publications as well as online.

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This post is also available in: Swedish

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