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!


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

Undici Reviewed by NJ Monthly

Undici Taverna Rustica is proud to announce that it was recently visited by famous New Jersey foodie, Rosie Saferstein. Saferstein is a food writer for New Jersey Monthly magazine,, and has her own popular column “Table Hopping With Rosie” which features New Jersey restaurant news, food event listings, as well as information about New Jersey chefs. Her well documented dining experience at Undici personifies the vision co-owner, Vic Rallo, area restaurateur and Internet/TV personality, had for his guests when establishing Undici.

May 04, 2011 05:00 AM ET | Rosie Saferstein | Permanent Link

We were transported to a rustic Tuscan farmhouse when we entered Undici (“eleven” in Italian) Taverna Rustica, 11 West River Road, Rumson. We were immediately put into a “let’s eat” mood by the massive rectangular bar filled with diners and drinkers; the large trays of tomatoes and fruits, cheeses, and meats hanging from the bar ceiling; and the fireplace that beckoned us to sit and relax. Wood-beam ceilings, wide-plank wood floors, and stone, brick, and plastered walls added to the ambiance.

Although bread and a bean dip were brought to the table when we were seated, we ordered a Neapolitan-style Margherita pizza to munch on while we looked at the menu and wine list. Baked in a wood-fired oven, the pie, with its perfectly charred, thin, and crispy crust, took the edge off our hunger. The all-Italian wine list is so large that we recommend you check it out online so you don’t spend the whole evening trying to decide what to order. Heads up: on Wednesday nights, a seasonal wine list is available with bottles offered at 50 percent off.

Salumi e formaggi, a platter of dried meats, cheeses, olives, grapes, and almonds, and the addictive fried calamari with a hint of sea salt were wonderful and can both be recommended as starters. Pastas were perfect. A very generous portion of the ravioli of the day, filled with greens and served with a tomato sauce, was impeccable. Another special, a Sicilian dish made with sardines, pine nuts, and raisins over pasta, had a robust flavor, and the house-made mafaldine (ruffled fettuccine) topped with a Bolognese sauce was beautifully cooked and presented. Roasted baby chicken with its crispy skin and juicy meat was devoured by the table. Other entrée options were Berkshire center-cut pork chop, cod with Swiss chard, 21-day dry-aged steak, and, on Sundays only, a “Sunday Sauce” with house-made beef bracciole, Italian sausage, and pork ribs slow cooked in a tomato sauce and served over rigatoni. Vegetarians can create a very impressive plate with the side dishes. Roasted Brussels sprouts and rosemary potatoes, which came with the chicken, were as full of flavor as the protein. After that extensive dinner, only one dessert was shared by four people, a sweet apple Tuscan coffee cake served with cinnamon gelato and fresh cream. For reservations, call 732-842-3880.

Read the review at