Il Falcone is an amazing wine, period. It already has 92 points from Wine Spectator and 91 points from Wine Enthusiast. Two of the most respected wine publications in the world already agree that it’s pretty next level. So it doesn’t need me to give it a good review. What Il Falcone needs is a Social Sips Label Deep Dive.
Let’s break down the technical jargon, which happens to be in Italian, and reveal what this wine actually is. I want to make it easy for you to grab off of the liquor store shelf and be able to tell your friends about it.
The Name: Il Falcone
A map of Southern Italy is reminiscent of a boot, and Apulia (Puglia) is the heel of that boot. In the 1240’s, Emperor Frederick II of Swabia inherited some land from his mother, Constance of Sicily. The land was near the town of Andria and it had a hill top perch. It was perfect for a castle to be built so that the Emperor could indulge in his passion for falconry. Il Falcone’s producer, Rivera, decided it was a fitting honour to name this wine after the Emperor’s passion.
The Origin: Castel del Monte Rosso Riserva DOCG
The castle lent its name when Castel del Monte DOC established itself in 1971. ‘DOC’ means that the geographical area has been ‘knighted’ and is recognized for the quality of grapes and wine it produces. The Rosso Riseva DOCG was established more recently in 2011. The addition of the ‘G’ to the end of ‘DOC’ indicates stricter growing and winemaking laws, marking it as a higher quality wine.
The Vintage: 2012
The term ‘vintage’ is defined by the year in which the grapes were grown and harvested. This particular bottle aged for 14 months in oak and a further year in the bottle bringing us to 2015. It’s got plenty of structure to age another 10 years or so. If you’re not one to sit and wait, it’s thoroughly enjoyable now but make sure to decant for at least half an hour.
The Producer: Rivera
In the 1940’s, Azienda Vinicola Rivera was founded by Sebastiano de Corato. The wine community quickly recognized that the quality of their wines was high and they soon became the benchmark. Today, Rivera is run by Sebastiano’s son, Carlo, and Carlos’ two sons Sebastiano and Marco. As a family, they continue the Rivera philosophy of creating wines that express the elegance of native grapes from the region.
What’s In It?
This has been your question all along, hasn’t it? It’s never an easy answer when it comes to Italian wine. Italy has over 3,000 indigenous varietals, it’s next to impossible to know them all, so I looked it up! Il Falcone consists of 70% Nero di Troia, which is a thick-skinned grape with sultry tannins and loads of black fruit flavours. It contributes elegance and structure, of which this wine has a lot! The remaining 30% is Montepulciano, which is medium bodied and expresses red fruit flavours such as cherry and boysenberry.
Oh, the price! It’s one heck of a screaming deal this month at BC Liquor Stores, down to $26.99 from $29.99.
I’m a fan of pairing regional food with regional wine. I found an amazing blog with a dedicated post to Pugliese food, mainly fresh produce and seafood. Check it out here for some drool-worthy inspiration to pair with your bottle of Il Falcone.