Wine Spectator 90:Herb and ashy smoke notes underscore this creamy red, which offers expressive flavors of plump cherry, violet, rich leather and sanguine beef. Well-knit and juicy, featuring light tannins and lots of ground spice accents on the finish. Drink now through 2025. 1,300 cases made. –AN Parker-Monica Larner 93:The 2009 Castel del Monte Il Falcone Riserva does a great job of highlighting the Nero di Troia element of this blend. The wine is composed of 70% Nero di Troia and 30% Montepulciano, but with this balanced vintage we get a better view of this special native grape of Puglia. The bouquet boasts a wild side with bramble, forest berry and pressed violets. Other aromatic components include toasted nut, licorice and tar. The tannins are softly polished and help to give the wine a silky texture. This may be the best vintage of Il Falcone Riserva that I have come across. Rivera is one of the most important wineries in Puglia in terms of image and quality. I was able to taste through two vintages of recent releases and was delighted by the two top-shelf wines (the Puer Apuliae and Il Falcone Riserva) from the 2009 vintage. To my palate, these are two of the finest wines ever made by Rivera. Rivera has overwhelmingly mastered the difficult art of making great wine from the finicky Nero di Troia variety. Because of its thin skin, the grape often suffers from mold and downey mildew. But Rivera has gained experience over the years to lessen the impact of these issues.