Casanova di Neri is just fifty years old. It’s amazing that in such a short period of time, Giacomo Neri has created one of the best wineries in Montalcino. In a land where lineage often extends for centuries, Casanova di Neri’s story begins in 1971.
Crafting premium Sangiovese was always a dream of Neri’s. As a result, when a small parcel of land North East of Montalcino became available in 1971, Neri seized the moment. Many laughed at the newcomer. The plot he bought was too cool they snorted and would therefore be unable to attain complete ripeness. Realizing and accepting this, Giacomo reckoned that drastically lowering his yields would lead to excellent quality. Over the years, climate change ironically has benefited the location. The vineyard in question that was too cool for ripening? Cerretalto!
In 1978, Neri released his first Brunello. From those humble beginnings, the Neri’s have slowly expanded their vineyard holdings. Today, the estate boasts 7 separate vineyard plots totaling 156 acres. Another facet that sets Neri apart from other estates is his reluctance to conform to the Estate/Riserva methodology of labeling. From the beginning Giacomo has relied on the single vineyard concept. In 1981, the Cerretalto single vineyard Brunello was first designated and in 1993, Tenuta Nuova was born.
I last checked in on Casanova’s Estate Brunello in 2013 and the Tenuta Nuova in 2006 and 2004. Today, we’re revisiting the wonderful 2015 estate white label which is blended with fruit from both the Cerretalto and Tenuta Nuova vineyards. As a result, the vines used for this blend range from 20-50 years old. That is impressive for what many regard as a “base” Brunello.
The 2015 Casanova di Neri Brunello is a deep violet color with nary a hint of lightening at the rim of the glass. Explosive aromas rise from the glass featuring black cherry, fresh violets, lavender, cured meat and toasted spices. On the palate this is full bodied and muscular, but fresh, juicy and silky. The core of cherry fruit is backed with tobacco, fennel seed, pulverized clay and a hint of peppery spice. The tannins are evident, but so well integrated that this drinks beautifully right now. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine it getting better. At $49, it represents quite a wonderful value. 97 points. Find this wine.
The White Label ages for 43 months in large Slavonian barrels and then is bottle aged for 6 months prior to release. The Neri’s practice organic wine making methods although the estate is not certified. With 48,000 bottles of this wine produced annually, finding it should be no chore. Bravo!