The Dozen Vol. 26 No. 07

The Dozen – Surprising Tuscans

Lusty reds and a Trebbiano with no apologies make for interesting drinking.


Tuscany remains one of the most exciting regions in Europe because something is always going there.

Today, we have some wines from Petrolo that are interesting for several reasons. First, a couple of them are from the Val d’Arno Sopra region in eastern Tuscany, which was given its name in 2011. Second, the reds, even the ones with Sangiovese, are more full-bodied and fruit-forward – and it works. Finally, there is a Trebbiano, usually a ho-hum plowhorse wine, that knocked my socks off – and I was barefoot then.

For extras, we have a couple of very nice wines from Wente.

Enjoy, all.

2021 Wente “Eric’s” Livermore Valley Unoaked Chardonnay ($30). I love it – too many naked Chards are anemic like they’re sticking their toes into uncharted water. But this one is crisp with tantalizing crisp orange and other citrus flavors.

2019 Simi Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($36). Very enjoyable – lightly juicy and spicy apple, good structure, well-balanced.

2019 Petrolo “Bòggina B” Toscano IGT Trebbiano ($55). If you charge $55 for a Trebby, it better be a statement wine, and fortunately, this one is – gamey, pungent aromas and full-bodied flavors, just a delicious white, rich, and very distinctive.

2018 Trivento “Golden Reserve” Lujan de Cuyo Malbec ($20). Modest fruitiness with a lot of accent on tannins and oak – still has some time to mellow.

2018 La Mascota “Unánime” Argentina Pinot Noir ($25). Fruit-forward red cherry flavors but with a medium body and a lean finish.

2021 Wente “Nicki’s” Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir Rosé ($35). One of the best food rosés coming out of California, with great flexibility – light strawberry flavors, loads of minerality, and a crisp balance of acidity.

2019 Petrolo “Torrione” Toscana IGT ($32). Rich and deep flavors of red raspberries and cherries with a savory, earthy undertone and a touch of raspiness. Long on the palate.

2020 Wente “Aly’s” Arroyo Seco Pinot Noirs ($50). A light, more-delicate Pinot, but one with lots of red cherries. It could be more vibrant.

2019 Petrolo “Bòggina A” Val d’Arno di Sopra Sangovese ($51). Delicious, tangy, red cherry fruit that is crisp on the palate with a touch of savory tannins in the finish.

2019 Petrolo “Bòggina C” Val d’Arno di Sopra Sangiovese Riserva ($52). Well-structured with rounded, red cherry flavors, full on the palate with a dry, tannic finish.

2019 Petrolo “Campo Lusso” Toscano IGT Cabernet Sauvignon ($90). The “softest” of the reds with cherry fruitiness morphing into a firm, savory and somewhat-tannic finish.

2019 Cliff Lede “Rock Block Series – Around Midnight” Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon ($110). This one needs decanting or even aging a bit longer because although it has complex and vibrant flavors – chocolate, blackberries, balancing tangy notes – they don’t all marry coming out of the bottle. But with some time, it can be stunning.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.

Feature photo: Petrolo Boggina Vineyard

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