“One of the best reds of the year … sumptuous, exceptional power … with a density of blackberry and spices. A champion.”
Top Italian wine critic, Luca Maroni
This may be one of the most ferociously rich and delicious wines to land in our cellars in a while. You could skip the tale below and just add some to your cart now (it’s that good) … or keep reading, because we think the story here is pretty great.
Dragone is named for the dragon depicted on the Lento family’s coat of arms (check that label!), but the story goes beyond that. It all started in the 1960s, when Salvatore Lento decided to devote himself to reviving Calabria’s forgotten vineyards. Thanks in part to his efforts, this fascinating region – the “toe” of Italy’s boot – is once again home to delicious wines. But, they rarely leave Italy. And finding releases like Dragone is even rarer.
Why? It’s crafted from Calabria’s ancient red grape, Magliocco, which almost went the way of the dinosaurs, were it not for the passion of people like Salvatore and his daughters. The family’s Magliocco has pride of place in a special vineyard, at an altitude of 1,640 feet in the narrowest part of Calabria. This bit of land has stunning views of the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas – but more importantly, its climate and rocky soils suit the vines perfectly.
To give this historic grape the treatment it deserved, the Lento sisters turned to star winemaker Matteo Bernabei (who’s learned plenty working alongside his legendary father, Franco). And in a stroke of that classic Bernabei genius, he suggested they let the grapes air-dry on the vine, to really concentrate the flavors.
After careful hand harvesting, Matteo added a dash of silky, plum-fruited Merlot, and aged the wine six months in fine French oak barriques. And – wow.
Luca Maroni’s 98-point score says it all (and is a wonderful reward for the family’s commitment to preserving local winemaking traditions). A truly impressive wine for your next Italian night …