I just got off the telephone with Giacomo Neri of Casanova di Neri
and it sounded like he personally won this year’s World Cup. In a sense, he did. He said that his phone has been ringing off the hook congratulating him for his 2001 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova
being chosen as Wine Spectator
’s Wine of the Year. The Italian networks have run programs on their nightly news reports. Politicians have been calling him. It is a big deal. It is a day of celebration for Italian wine producers, he told me.
He deserves it. Giacomo makes great wine and is an example of a new generation of Italian winemakers who put all their efforts in their vineyards to produce superb wines. “I don’t know what to say,” he said, almost sobbing on the phone. “It is hard to believe that a wine that originates from the vineyards, that comes from hard work in the vineyards, can be the best wine in the world. I am so happy.”
Just a word of caution to all of you. I have noticed that some wine shops are also selling the 2001 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino, which is not—I repeat, NOT—the Tenuta Nuova. Please be sure you are getting the real deal. I don’t even taste the base Brunello officially for the magazine because it is not imported into the United States. What is available has come in through the gray market. It’s a good wine but not the amazing Tenuta Nuova.
I noticed some Forum members boasting that they paid $40 for the Wine of the Year, and I am worried that they unknowingly bought the standard Brunello from Casanova di Neri!
I also noticed some Forumites saying that they don’t like the Tenuta Nuova because it is too marked by the small, new wood barrels that they use for aging the wine. Wrong. Neri doesn’t use Bordeaux barrels for his wine. He uses 600-liter casks, and about 40 percent is new wood. Maybe they are confusing the wine with some other? Or they just like to spread misinformation.
Anyway, it’s great stuff. I tasted a few old vintages at the winery this summer. So I thought I would include the notes from this non-blind tasting in this blog:
1995: Aromas of blackberry and meat with a floral undertone. Medium-bodied with fine tannins. Refined and silky. Drinking wonderfully now. 92 points.
1997: Incredibly fresh with plum and Indian spices. Full-bodied, with ultrafine tannins and a freshness that is amazing. Tight and refined. Needs some more time. Best after 2008. 95 points.
1999: This is thicker and richer than the 1997 but I am still not sure I like it better. I would say equal. Full-bodied, chewy and very long. Loads of plum, blackberry and cedar character. Better after 2009. 95 points.