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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Rivera Il Falcone Castel del Monte Riserva 2004

Other Red Blends from Italy
  • RP93
13.5% ABV
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13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

70% Nero di Troia, 30% Montepulciano.

Dense garnet red in hue; complex nose offering ripe fruit, leather, tobacco leaf, and spice; dry and austere but very generous in the mouth, displaying an absolutely magisterial structure and a lingering, well-balanced finish.

The weight and elegance of this wine makes it the perfect companion to fine roasts, large game, meats in hearty sauces, and aged cheeses. Serve at cool room temperature after allowing to breathe.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The estate's top-of-the-line 2004 Il Falcone Riserva is 70% Nero di Troia and 30% Montepulciano that spent 12 months in French oak. In this vintage, the Falcone Riserva is awesome. Layers of earthiness, new leather, plums, black cherries and herbs emerge in stunning style as this full-bodied, richly-textured wine shows off its qualities. The wine possesses more than enough density to balance the tannins all the way through to the long finish, where a blast of melted road tar provides the final exclamation point. Simply put, this is a compelling wine from Rivera and certainly among the handful of truly important wines being made today in Puglia. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2019.
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Rivera, Italy
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The Rivera estate is located in Apulia near the town of Andria. Rivera is in the heart of the Castel del Monte DOC, which takes its name from the splendid castle built by Frederick The Second at the beginning of the 13th century. This area is known for the characteristic plateau of tufaceous and calcareous soil named 'Murge,' and the vine has flourished here since the times of Magna Grecia. Centuries of experimentation and selection have developed indigenous varieties that are perfectly suited to the local terroir and hot weather: Nero di Troia, Montepulciano, Aglianico, Bombino and Pampanuto.

Sebastiano de Corato founded Azienda Vinicola Rivera in the early 1950s. His son Carlo continued focusing on Nero di Troia and Montepulciano for the reds but also started experimenting with non-indigenous white grapes such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon. A long period of testing the adaptability of such Northern varieties to torrid Apulia was necessary, but the venture ultimately led to very successful results. The inclusion of such varietals in the Castel del Monte DOC represented an important step for Rivera and for Apulian viticulture as a whole. Carlo's sons, Sebastiano, and recently his brother Marco, have joined their father in the management of the estate.

Named “Oenotria” by the ancient Greeks for its abundance of grapevines, Italy has always had a culture that is virtually inextricable from wine. Wine grapes are grown just about everywhere throughout the country—a long and narrow boot-shaped peninsula extending into the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. The defining geographical feature of the country is the Apennine Mountain range, extending from Liguria in the north to Calabria in the south. The island of Sicily nearly grazes the toe of Italy’s boot, while Sardinia lies to the country’s west. Climate varies significantly throughout the country, with temperature being somewhat more dependent on elevation than latitude, though it is safe to generalize that the south is warmer. Much of the highest quality viticulture takes place on gently rolling, picturesque hillsides.

Italy boasts more indigenous varieties than any other country—between 500 and 800, depending on whom you ask—and most wine production relies upon these native grapes. In some regions, international varieties have worked their way in, but their use is declining in popularity, especially as younger growers begun to take interest in rediscovering forgotten local specialties. Sangiovese is the most widely planted variety in the country, reaching its greatest potential in parts of Tuscany. Nebbiolo is the prized grape of Piedmont in the northwest, producing singular, complex and age-worthy wines. Other important varieties include Montepulciano, Trebbiano, Barbera, Nero d’Avola and of course, Pinot Grigio.

Other Red Blends

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With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

SWS266901_2004 Item# 107186