An Evening with Casanova di Neri

by Bob Rallo

I’ve been drinking wine for over 40 years. Some of the world’s best…and worst! My favorites have always been the ones made by farmers, families, fathers, lovers, artists, and the believers in a simple life. Honest wines, not fancy wines. Giacomo, in recent history, has treated me to some of the most special moments in my wine experience.

Throughout my life, when it came to wine, I’ve always related it to a color spectrum. This spectrum begins with the corporate wineries; the conglomerates, pushing out large quantities of wine at all price levels. No love, all business. To me, if you’re going to drink these types of wine, drink coca-cola.

At the other end of the spectrum are the Brunellos of Casanova di Neri; small production wineries with emotion and passion. I see it as the treasure at the end of the rainbow… as good as wine gets. Like the Barolos of Vieti and the Montepulcianos of Emedio Pepe, Casanova di Neri’s Brunellos, although not commercially or always critically acclaimed, one sip makes you scream, cry, and laugh all at once.

Luckily, you don’t have to wait until you reach the end of the spectrum. Nestled high atop the arch, are some equally spectacular views. You can undoubtedly spend many enjoyable nights now with Casanova di Neri’s Rosso di Neri and Pietradonice.

I hope one day I can inspire Giacomo with a plate of my food the way he has inspired me with every sip of one of his wines. Mille Grazie Giacomo!

TASTING

Rosso di Casanova di Neri 2008
Aromas of violet, fruity and dry, a 5 star every day wine. Drink it now!

Casanova di Neri Brunello do Montalcino 2006
Way too young. Alcohol. Relaxed notes of cherries and spice. Look forward to drinking in 5+ years.

Casanova di Neri Brunello do Montalcino 2005
Dry and tart. Ethereal, with hints of tar. Visions of sugar plums 10 years away!

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 2005
Light color and viscosity. Pleasant tastes and aromas of rose petals. Very special wine.

Casanova di Neri Brunello do Montalcino Cerretalto 2004
Fruity with dry finish. Great with bold foods like Lasagna Bolognese. Good stuff! Future is exciting.

Casanova di Neri Pietradonice 2006
A long, smooth, and elegant Cabernet. The future is now!

Undici Now Offering Casanova di Neri Tasting Flight

 

The response to the tasting with Giacomo Neri at Undici was outstanding, with many guests asking if there were be another one down the road. Our guests enjoyed the Casanova di Neri wines so much, that we’re now proud to offer a superb tasting flight of Neri’s wines. The Casanova di Neri flight will be $36 and offers diners a 2 ounce tasting of four wines that were handpicked by Neri.

The flight which will be available through June 2011 includes:

  • 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Peitradonice comes from the land where the wine is planted, which is very rich in onyx. It is a wine which uses exclusively Cabernet and Sauvignon grapes: almost a challenge, to achieve a product which fully returns the flavor of the earth and its stone.  If we add very low yields per plant and the climatic factor, we can see it – and we say this with a touch of conceit – as the wine which most tangibly represents Casanova di Neri. Pietradonice succeeds in reconciling international flavor with local tradition and, in the end, all the personality of Montalcino floods out.
  • 2005 and 2006 Brunello Etichetta Bianca (renamed White Label for the American market) Brunello di Montalcino Casanova di Neri is characterized simply by its white label, to the point where it has now been renamed “White label” on the American market. This “Etichetta Bianca” is born in vineyards that look to Montalcino from the east, at an altitude which varies from 350 to 480 metres above sea level, very close to our cellar. The main characteristics of this wine are elegance, finesse and longevity.   It matures in big old barrels for about 42-45 months and perfectly represents the desire to express a product distinguished by character and tradition.
  • 2008 Rosso Casanova di Neri is possibly the wine that best represents the attempt to marry innovation and tradition. It is the synthesis of the strong personality and character conveyed by Sangiovese, together with the immensely drinkable quality of Colorino, a typically autochthonous grape, which makes it particularly well suited to drinking with meals every day.

So if you find yourself in our neck of the woods, stop by and request this limited edition Casanova di Neri wine flight.

Giacomo Neri knows wine and anyone who has the opportunity to talk with him will quickly see what differentiates him in the wine world. Passion, family and tradition are synonymous to him which I quickly learned during our time together at this year’s Vinitaly. The chat at Vinitaly fueled our next meeting – a meet and greet wine dinner at my restaurant Undici in Rumson, New Jersey. The sold out event brought local wine aficionados together in one room to hear from Neri and I, taste 6 of his choice wines from Casanova di Neri which we paired with classical Italian cuisine, and share on his vision for his vineyards. The next day found Neri and I together again to support our good friend James Suckling at his “Bellisimo Brunello’s” event which was held at City Winery in New York City with the support of wine merchant, Zachys. Neri has received much notoriety for his wines, including earning 100 points from James Suckling for his 2006 Tenuta Nuova.

Before the sold-out wine dinner at Undici, Victor Rallo had time to catch up and talk with Giacomo Neri, Mr. 100 pointer himself. Great vineyards in Montalcino, tradition, and a little bit of luck has made Casanova di Neri wines a powerhouse in Italian Brunello.

 

Click here to view the photo gallery from the event

Giacomo Neri at Undici Restaurant

The Bellavista Wine Tasting TONIGHT with Owner Sara Padarli

 

 

BellaVista

TODAY (March 17th) from 5 – 7pm, come celebrate the Italy’s 150th birthday with a complimentary tasting of Bellavista Wines with Owner Sara Padarli!

 

Bellavista Wines is the top producer of sparkling wines! Come and taste greatness for yourself. All wines being tasted will be available for purchase at special pricing during this event.

This event will be a complimentary tasting, so no reservations are necessary.

Mattia Vezzola! 2008 Tre Bicchieri WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR


The Wines Being Tasted

Bellavista NV Franciacorta Brut

Rating: 91
The NV Brut Cuvee is simply beautiful. White peaches, jasmine, minerals, ash and grapefruit are some of the aromas and flavors that come together in this taut, focused Franciacorta. This is a superb example of Italy’s best reasonably priced methode Champenoise wine. I loved it.
-Antonio Galloni (February, 2011)

Bellavista Grand Cuvee 2004

Rating: 91
The 2005 Brut Gran Cuvee is another super-impressive wine from Bellavista. This understated, elegant wine shows lovely inner perfume and fabulous overall balance in an open, approachable style best suited for drinking over the next few years. Rich, seductive fruit finds a lovely counterpoint in an underlying streak of minerality on the impeccable, chiseled finish.
-Antonio Galloni

Bellavista Grand Cuvee Rose 2005

Rating: 91+
The 2005 Gran Cuvee Rose is a pretty, delicate wine that is almost certainly not showing the fullest breadth of its potential. Though still somewhat buttoned up, the 2005 occasionally reveals its gorgeous inner perfume. The mousse is exceptionally fine in this polished, understated wine.
-Antonio Galloni (February, 2011)

 

About Bellavista

Scale and charm do not generally go together; yet in Bellavista’s case, they are perfectly compatible. This remarkable operation, masterminded by owner Vittorio Moretti and winemaker Mattia Vezzola, combines grandeur and star quality with familiarity and simplicity. The estate’s larger-than-life facilities, miles of underground cellars, impressive contemporary architecture (helipad included), and 1,250 surrounding acres of Franciacorta soil – 462 acres of which (187 hectares) are now under vine – leave you awestruck. At the same time, the exuberant Mattia, ebullient Morettis and likable, friendly Bellavista staff inspire immediate empathy.

Moretti founded the estate in 1976, and the first bottle of Franciacorta was issued in 1984. Over these three decades, the style of Bellavista has become a benchmark to the DOCG – so much so it has prompted countless imitations. Its vineyards now constitute 8% of the entire appellation, in extraordinarily favorable positions: some 60 selections that go into one million bottles yearly.
A choice number of special Reserves from the finest vintages rest in 3.5 million 3-lt. bottles, in Bellavista’s immense underground cellars. This treasury of excellence continues to nurture the Bellavista cuvées, providing the winery’s signature leitmotiv. The past couple of years have seen Mattia implement yet another phase in the estate’s constant crescendo: increasing élevage, on average from 36 to 48 months, so as to achieve the greatest possible quality consistency and personality.

 

WHAT IS FRANCIACORTA?

Franciacorta is not only an appellation; it is also a vinification method – metodo Franciacorta – for sparkling wines known as Franciacortas. There are only two world regions whose bubbles enjoy such distinction: Franciacorta, and Champagne. The Franciacortas of Bellavista consist of classic méthode champenoise/metodo Franciacorta from Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, awesome in every detail: minuscule, persistent perlage, ample, elegant bouquet of bread dough, ripe apples, pears and apricots with subtle notes of vanilla and peach jam; creamy, silky texture, unique concentration and long, pure finish.
Franciacorta’s clayey/limestone soil is richly endowed with the elements of Champagne, ideally enhanced by in-depth genetic research, organic-only fertilization, phased out harvests, parcelled out crops (the 60-plus selections are separately fermented in oak/stainless steel), vertical presses (Marmonnier and the more recent Coquard), up to 6 years’ bottle age in the vast underground cellars, refermentation directly in the bottle for the larger-format sparkling wines, remuage by hand for all sparkling wines etc. Both still and sparkling are from prime hillside vineyards, clonally selected material, densely planted stock. The still DOCs of the range are called Curtefranca (an ancient designation for the area).