Aug 17 2010

Master of Montalcino

That’s a pretty bold statement in the world of wine, and especially within legendary Montalcino—a hilltown in Tuscany blessed with some of the finest vineyards in the world.

It’s an area famous for producing Brunello, which is a clone of the Sangiovese grape, and thrives in Montalcino’s climate. To say one winemaker is the best in a region known for making spectacular bottles could end up in a passionate punch-up if you’re not careful.

Nobody would argue though, that winemaker Giacomo Neri, and the wines produced at his Casanova di Neri estate, put him on the short list to be crowned “Master of Montalcino.” His wines are carefully structured, complex, and built to last, setting a benchmark for quality in the region.

We’d all love to take a trip to Casanova di Neri and meet Giacomo, but we’re doing the next best thing: We’re bringing a bit of Montalcino and Casanova di Neri to Just Grapes, along with Giacomo as our special guest. He’ll be hosting a Master Class of his wines on Friday, August 27, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (click here for tickets)

Before then, be sure to stop by and brush up on Giacomo’s Brunello, and other Casanova di Neri classics, getting a preview of what we’ll be pouring/tasting/poring over during the event:

2008 Rosso di Casanova di Neri, 90% Sangiovese, 10% Colorino, Tuscany, Italy [$29.99]
90 Pts – Robert Parker

The 2008 Rosso di Montalcino (labeled Rosso di Casanova di Neri for the US) is a beautiful, impeccably balanced wine. There is lovely transparency and elegance to the fruit in an expression of Sangiovese that offers gorgeous roundness in a mid-weight, elegant style. The finish is long, soft and caressing. Even better, this is an outstanding value. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2013.

2005 Tenuta Nuova Brunello di Montalcino, Tenuta Nuova, Tuscany, Italy [$90.99]

93 Pts – Robert Parker
The 2005 Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova is quite a bit darker and richer than the straight Brunello. Cherries, plums, spices and French oak meld together beautifully in this silky, textured red. In 2005 the Tenuta Nuova boasts fabulous overall balance in a fairly restrained style for this bottling. Kirsch, roses and spices linger on the dark, enveloping finish. This is a terrific effort from Casanova di Neri. The Tenuta Nuova is made from vineyards in Le Cetine and Pietradonice, both located in the southern part of Montalcino. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2022.

2006 Casanova di Neri Pietradonice, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tuscany, Italy [$119.99]
93 Pts – Robert Parker

The 2006 Pietradonice (Cabernet Sauvignon) explodes from the glass with the essence of blackberry jam, French oak, grilled herbs and cassis. This super-ripe, opulent wine offers tons of finesse in a full-bodied style. This is a gem from proprietor Giacomo di Neri.

2004 Casanova Di Neri Brunello Cerretalto [$191.99]

96 Pts – Robert Parker
The 2004 Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto is deep and powerful in its smoke, tar, spices, scorched earth and plums. The wine has shut down quite a bit since I last tasted it a few months ago, and the refined silky tannins that were present a while back have turned decidedly virile. Still, the wine’s pedigree is impossible to miss, and the only thing this needs is time, probably lots of it. Pretty scents of soy, smoke and incense inform the long, elegant finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2024.

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