I just found some notes in my back pocket of my jeans while walking down the street in Havana. They are a bit soggy from all the humidity in the air. They are tasting notes of Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto – the fantastic single vineyard wine from the great Brunello di Montalcino producer.
I was with Giacomo Neri a few weeks ago at a dinner at his winery and he laid on the 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000, and 2001. I am a great fan of this superb Sangiovese. It has an incredible raciness despite great concentration and structure. Here are my notes and non-blind scores:
1995: Intense aromas of blackberry and mint follow through to a full body, with rich tannins and a long caressing finish. Totally ready and totally delicious. 91 points, non-blind.
1997: This shows lots of velvety and soft tannins now with a full body and loads of coffee, jammy and berry character. Ready. 93, non-blind.
1999: I liked this the best of all the Cerretalto that night for drinking, even though it was very young still. It has an amazing nose of dark chocolate with cherries and blackberries. It’s full and very velvety, with a fresh and racy finish. Big and rich and better in four or five years, but who can wait? 97, non-blind.
2000: Lots of blackberry and mineral aromas follow through to a full body with mineral and dried flower character and blackberries. Velvety texture. Drink now. 93, non-blind.
2001: This is still a perfect wine but some of the mineral, floral and new wood character has turned to pure, crushed blueberries with black licorice. It’s full-bodied, with racy velvety tannins and a long, long finish. This is powerful and very rich. Leave it for another seven to 10 years. 100, non-blind.
Cerretalto is not made every vintage, but only in the best years. The only one missing in the dinner was the 1998, but I have never been a great fan of that.
I also had the chance to taste a sample of the unreleased 2003 Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova. It was outstanding quality, but like many of the 2003 Brunellos I have had so far, it had a lot of jammy fruit yet remained fresh and structured. It should be interesting to taste them in January just before they go in the bottle.