~ Vineyards turning a fiery red during October in Tuscany ~

Buon giorno da Italia!    As I sit and write this morning, the perfect espresso at hand and a traditional Roman breakfast of panino and Peroni sating the appetite,  I’m awaiting the arrival of my Rustic Tuscany Tour guests to our jumping off point in Fiumicino.

The weather is gorgeous along Fiumicino’s strip and I look forward to bringing you real time coverage of this exciting inaugural journey.  However, this morning we’re talking Cabernet!


~ Giacomo Neri holding court discussing his vineyard locations ~


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, the estate’s story begins in 1971

Casanova di Neri may be known for its exceptional Brunello.  As a result, it can be easy to forget Pietradonice.  Yet, that would be a mistake.  If you are fortunate enough to come across a bottle of this wonderful elixir, don’t hesitate. Act.

The Pietradonice vineyard sits on the site of a former quarry.  As a result, the vineyard is replete with various minerals; especially onyx which peppers the vineyard soil.  Pietradonice sits at 250-300 meters above sea level, in the south eastern quadrant of the Brunello zone. Galestro and sea marl combine in the soil which is be-speckled with onyx.


~ Casanova di Neri’s vineyard locations on the map of the Brunello DOCG. Note Pietradonice in the bottom right ~

Pietradonice takes its name from the onyx in the soil – “onice” means onyx in Italian.   In the glass, the wine is still a deep, purple color; even at 16 years of age.  Decanting is required as the wine is throwing a massive amount of sediment.

The moment you stick your nose in the glass, there’s no mistaking the elegance and complexity of this Tuscan Cabernet.  Black plums, cigar tobacco, leather and mineral notes mark the persistent aromas.  On the palate, the wine is elegant yet masculine.  Black plum flavors are accented with iron, flinty mineral, sweet tobacco and leather flavors.  Elegant, supple in the mouth with silky well integrated tannins that are significantly resolved. Fresh and lively, this lingers in the mouth for minutes.  Possibly the best 100% Cabernet from Italy that I’ve had.  95 points.  Find this wine.


~ Pietradonice is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon ~

I found a stash of this locally just recently.  I grabbed one; willing to gauge the provenance given its age. It’s safe to suspect I’ll be acquiring more.



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