Sibling rivalry. Differences of opinion. And finally, reconciliation. That’s the 10 second tale in the history of Tenuta di Biserno which essentially has it’s roots in the Antinori breakup of the 1970s.
Piero Antinori, patriarch of the famed Florentine wine firm and one of the power houses of central Tuscany and his brother Lodovico suffered what many brothers and especially wine families do; they had a falling out over professional philosophy. So in 1981, Lodovico split from the firm, moved to the Tuscan coast, and went on to establish one of the icons of Maremma viticulture: Tenuta dell’Ornellaia.
During his time running Ornellaia, Lodovico learned of another property from his General Manager when they were searching for vineyards to expand the Ornellaia estate. Upon the discovery of what today is Tenuta di Biserno, Antinori realized that the incredibly rocky and boulder strewn estate would be a sizeable endeavour and a project unto itself. Therefore, in 2002, with Ornellaia and Masseto fetching world class acclaim, Antinori sold Tenuta dell’Ornellaia and set about creating his new estate. He enlisted the help of his brother Piero and after renewing their relationship, Tenuta di Biserno was born.
Today, this renewed commitment is pictured on the estate coat of arms, which features two wild boars (Piero & Lodovico) facing one another.
|~ The Cellars of Tenuta di Biserno ~
The Biserno estate is not large – about 35 hectares, and from this distinct Maremma landscape, the Antinori’s created two classic wines that speak to the Bordelaise influenced terroir that the Tuscan coast has become known for.
The soil on the estate, which is common to the Bibbona area is called “Bolgheri Conglomerate”. Clearly not the most poetic of terms, nevertheless it’s the name given to the combination of several soil types: Mediterranean silt, sand and a high proportion of clay that are present in the vineyards.
Our introduction to the estate began with Biserno’s second wine; “Il Pino”. The Il Pino vineyard was planted in 2000 and is densely planted at almost 6,500 vines per hectare. Still not complete, the vineyard has 12.5 acres available for expansion so over time production should increase slightly.
The 2008 Il Pino blend follows the makeup of the vineyard plantings and is 40% Cabernet Franc, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. We decanted the wine for 60 minutes before dinner and a slight sediment was removed with a filter.
The wine is deep blackish purple – just look at the color in the decanter. The Cabernet Franc is asserting itself handily at the moment. The nose is filled with lilac, lavender, crushed black plum and toasted oak. There’s a spicy component to the aroma that appears to be oak imparted. It may be too much for some readers that prefer a more subtle influence from barrel.
On the palate, the wine is rich and luxurious. The harmony, concentration, and elegance of this “second” wine is impressive. Ripe, crushed black fruit flavors are married with toasted espresso, spice, and cedar with a powdery, mineral feel to the tannins as the wine glides across your palate. Firming up on the finish, the tannins could use 2-3 years bottle age to soften. Fermented in stainless steel, then 75% of the wine is aged for 12 months in new and used barrique, while 25% of the wine remains in steel.
We really enjoyed this wine and it paired perfectly with lamb wellington. 91 points. SRP ~ $50-$60. First vintage produced, 2004. Current production is about 80,000 bottles. Disclosure: This bottle was an importer provided sample.
|~ No Second Fiddle here: This is a serious Cabernet blend from Alta Maremma ~
|~ The Lamb Tenderloin Wellingtons made the perfect pairing for Il Pino. ~
The next wine we tasted is the flagship of the Biserno estate, simply called Biserno. This wine represents the finest fruit the estate produces from it’s 120 acre vineyard that generates wine for Biserno. Like Il Pino, the wine is based on Cabernet Franc, but in many instances, Consulting Winemaker Michel Rolland uses less Merlot in the Biserno wine.
Grapes are harvested and sorted by hand on vibrating belts as the berries go down into the cellar. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel and the wine ages in new French barrique for 15 months and then 12 months in bottle prior to release.
The 2008 Biserno is deep purple in color with an intense violet rim at the bowl. The aromas are very similar to Il Pino. There’s a significant floral, mineral and anise component that is intertwined with black plum and berry aromas.
On the palate the wine is liquid velvet. It’s very forward and ripe, almost as if Napa kissed Bolgheri. Clocking in at 15% alcohol, the wine has layer upon layer of rich blackberry preserves, spice, toasty oak, cedar, anise and mineral notes. It’s huge. The acids are balanced well and the tannins, while significant are velvety and not intrusive at all. This would do very well in a blind tasting of Napa Cabernets. Absolutely delicious, but probably not the most Italian of wines I’ve enjoyed from Bolgheri. 92 points. SRP ~ $150. First vintage produced, 2006. Current production is about 20,000 bottles. Disclosure: This bottle was an importer provided sample.
|~ Biserno shares a similar blend to that of “Il Pino”. This wine was delicious with Osso Bucco di Maiale ~
|~ Pork Shank Osso Bucco over roasted garlic mashed potatoes ~
You can learn more about Tenuta di Biserno here: http://www.biserno.com/
September 15, 2014