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Executive editor Thomas Matthews joined Wine Spectator in 1988. His tasting beat is Spain.
Thomas Matthews

A Stylish Italian Pairing

Petrolo Toscana Torrione 2006

Thomas Matthews
Posted: September 1, 2009

Sara and I had dinner with friends from San Diego recently at Falai, a small, sleek Italian restaurant on the Lower East Side. The white marble interior makes a piquant contrast with the neighborhood’s brick tenements, just as the sophisticated menu does with the comfort food more common at nearby restaurants.

The short wine list follows the current trend of aggressive obscurity, but prices are low enough that a failed experiment doesn’t hurt too much. And since there’s such a natural affinity between Italian food and wine, the risks are low to begin with. For example, a Sicilian white, the Di Giovanna Grillo 2008 ($40) didn’t have a lot of depth, but its rough-hewn texture and briny, citrus flavors partnered beautifully with house-made marjoram-scented linguini with a tart lemon sauce, toasted pine nuts and ricotta salata ($17).

But we hit the jackpot on the red: a Petrolo Toscana Torrione 2006 (an excellent value at $70 on the list). This 100 percent Sangiovese stays true to Tuscany in its bright cherry flavors and fresh, balanced character, but showed more international influence in its polished tannins and toasty accents. I rated it 92 points, non-blind. It was terrific with light but gamy roasted rabbit (rack, loin, liver and even the heart, $26). Fine stemware and friendly, professional service completed an impressive experience.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Petrolo Toscana Torrione 2006 (92, $45).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Tuscan reds, along with our quick list of Top Values among reds from Italy.

Franco Ziliani
Italy —  September 1, 2009 2:06am ET
Different editor (this is Matthews, not Suckling), same taste: Petrolo wines are among the favourite of Wine Spectator...
Thomas Matthews
New York City —  September 1, 2009 8:49am ET

Thank you for reading and commenting. I might point out that Petrolo is also praised by many other critics, and that two wine lovers might enjoy the same wine without sharing "the same taste."

What do you think of Torrione 2006?
Franco Ziliani
Italy —  September 2, 2009 1:25am ET
Thomas, I don't think nothing: there are not wine for my taste. I think that are perfect Wine Spectator's taste wines... :)
Luca Sanjust
petrolo , toscana , italia —  September 2, 2009 6:54am ET
ciao thomas , thank you for your nice words on Torrione 2006...we are harvesting the merlot grapes for Galatrona and i m very excited ... this is the most important moment of the year for me and as usual i welcome those moments riding the tractor around my vineyards and howling to the sky those Giacomo Leopardi words : " bello il tuo manto o divo cielo , e bella sei tu rorida terra "...
I m jolly proud that my wines are perfect for the wine spectator taste !
Who is Franco Ziliani ?
Ciao and see you in New York
Franco Ziliani
Italy —  September 2, 2009 7:50am ET
Mr. Sanjust, I'm Franco Ziliani, the "unknown" author of the comment about your wines. You have reason, I'm unknown for you (I'm an Italian writer who write about Italian wine since 1994), I give not medals, three glasses and 95 or more points. I'm not part of the Power and Establishment of wine writing, but my ideas and opinions are not unknown in Italy. And also in Usa. Ask to your friend James (Giacomino) for an answer...
Kindest regards
Franco Ziliani
Thomas Matthews
New York City —  September 2, 2009 9:58am ET
I'm pleased my appreciation of Italian wines has served to introduce an Italian vintner and an Italian wine writer. I feel a bit sorry for Franco, though, whose curiosity seems limited to wines he already likes. Perhaps a visit to Petrolo and a conversation with Luca would be beneficial for both.
Franco Ziliani
Italy —  September 4, 2009 2:18am ET
thank you for your suggestion Thomas, very appreciated. If Mr. Sanjust agree I'm in hand
kindest regards

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