Tuesday, 14 January 2020

A memorable evening with Giacomo Neri

Last night, GVWM enjoyed an intimate dinner with Giacomo di Neri at Zafferano Restaurant in London.  We tasted a fantastic selection of his wines and we had the honour of being the first people outside of Italy to taste his spectacular new wine, the 2018 Giovanni Neri Rosso di Montalcino.

The other stand out wines from the evening were his 2014 Brunello, 2013 Brunello Cerretalto and last but not least, his stratospheric 2015 Brunello 'Tenuta Nuova'!  The wines were so impressive and stylistically so different, at times it was hard to believe each wine was made from 100% Sangiovese!  Giacomo gave us a fascinating insight on the history of the estate and the unique terroir that he has at his disposal.  The evening will live long in the memory!

Giacomo has kindly let us have access to these quite brilliant wines, including some very rare large formats.

Wines include:

2014 Brunello di Montalcino, Casanova di Neri

Bright deep red. Perfumed nose of red cherry, Oriental spices, flint and graphite. Rich, dense and suave on entry, then lighter and more linear in the middle, but with a plush juicy mouthfeel that makes it hard to put the glass back down once you’ve started tasting it. Very pure black/red cherry and spice flavors linger impressively on the long, refreshing finish. A knockout 2014 Brunello that lacks the size of the bigger vintages (very appropriately, I may add, given what the 2014 growing season was like) but showcases enchanting purity and grace. Very well done. Drink 2021-2028.

93pt, Ian D’Agata, Antonio Galloni’s Vinous Media, 27th March 2019

2013 BDM Casanova di Neri, Cerretalto

There are a handful of wines in Italy that make me nervous before I taste them because my expectations are so high. This is one of those wines. Indeed, previous editions of Cerretalto have earned the coveted 100 point score, and I am astutely aware of the pedigree and potential that comes forth with each new vintage. As enthusiastic as my assessment of the 2013 Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto is, I'm stopping short of that perfect score. This vintage is something of a moving target with wines that are beautiful, without a doubt, yet the growing conditions were not even across the appellation, and achieving optimal tannic management posed a challenge to many producers. If I were to make any criticism of this wine, it would fall along those lines. That aside, this is a beautiful Brunello that boasts deep intensity and bold black fruit flavors that are plummy and rich. Spice, toasted oak and tobacco frame that primary fruit. Cerretalto ages in oak for 30 months and that strong imprint has added to the structure, depth and contemporary character of this A-list Brunello. That oak imprint is also reinforced in the wine's tannins. There's no doubt that this wine needs more cellar aging. I would absolutely not suggest drinking it within the next five years. Any awkwardness it shows now should iron itself out with more bottle time. Only 9,771 bottles were made. Drink 2023-2040.

97pt, Monica Larner, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

2015 Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova, Casanova di Neri

The purity of fruit in this wine really strikes you with black cherries, combined with sage, lavender and rosemary. Extremely aromatic. Full-bodied, yet so tight and polished with incredible tannin structure that gives the wine an endless mouth feel of caressing tannins, acidity and fruit. There’s a fabulous saltiness and oyster-shell undertone to the fruit. Unique. Drinkable already, but this year there’s the structure to last decades.

99pt, James Suckling


Thursday, 29 August 2019

Flor de Pingus - Peter Sisseck's expression of Ribera del Duero in 2017

While other Spanish wines have achieved international recognition, Flor de Pingus is one of the very few that has joined the ranks of the world’s most coveted wines.

I first tasted Flor de Pingus in New York in 2006, and I simply had to find out more about the wine and the wine maker, Peter Sisseck. The following year I was in the cellar of his first project in Ribera del Duero, Hacienda Monasterio, where I had a small epiphany.  Each barrel we tasted spoke to me in ways that took me to a different level of appreciation entirely. Let's just say I was impressed, immensely.

Peter is a visionary Danish winemaker, who learned his craft in Bordeaux and California, and then found his way almost by chance to the Ribera del Duero region of Spain. While creating Hacienda Monasterio he found small plots of ancient, gnarled vines, from which he created Pingus - and a legend was born.

“Ribera has a lot of purity, a lot of nobility, but at the same time it’s a very rough area. It’s less civilized than many other wine regions in the world, but it has an enormous amount of grace and character. The purity and honesty is what I love.” - Peter Sisseck

Flor de Pingus is an evolution of the Pingus project, being created from a further 18 parcels of vines in the La Horra area, averaging 35 years in age, and bearing the same peerless Sisseck hallmark of purity and freshness. These plots have been farmed biodynamically since 2005.

We are very pleased to have been able to offer the new 2017 Flor de Pingus to our clients for just £650 per 12 bottles, or £325 per 3 magnums

"[2017 was] an early harvest characterized by ripe aromas, great extract and low acidity.”

Peter Sisseck

A chunky and pretty young wine with blueberries and blackberries and chocolate. Chewy tannins that are polished and fresh. Full-bodied. Round and sexy. Shows lots of potential.

94-95pt, James Suckling

Friday, 14 June 2019

We are all familiar with the top 'Super Tuscans' from Bolgheri... Sassicaia, Ornellaia & Guado Al Tasso, however until Friday of last week the Grand Vin tasting team hadn't had the pleasure of drinking the flagship wine from Tenuta Argentiera.  The 2016 'Bolgheri Superiore Argentiera', a Bordeaux blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, absolutely blew us away with it's depth, balance and polished tannins.

It showed the classic Cabernet aromas combined with stunning minerality and a finish that lasted for over a minute!  It had all the class and sophistication of the very best wines in Bolgheri and it has everything in place to age well for at least 20 years.  The great thing for the consumer is that it is available at a fraction of the price of it's more well-known neighbours!  Given the quality, we are sure it won't stay that way for long....

Tenuta Argentiera recently appointed Leonardo Raspini as general manager of the estate, who previously worked at Ornellaia for 14 years and helped to shape much of the identity of the Bolgheri appellation.

This is an estate that is definitely heading places and the 2016 really deserves a place in your cellar!

The 2016 Bolgheri Superiore Argentiera is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, and the Cabernet Sauvignon logically feels and tastes most prominent. This is a dark and penetrating Tuscan red that is beautifully elevated, thanks to the extremely elegant and buoyant quality of the aromas. They lift gracefully from the glass with light-footed, almost fleeting character. However, don't underestimate the power and the concentration of the wine, because this vintage delivers both with abundance. I've had my eye on this estate since the vineyards were first planted some 20 years ago, and there is no doubt that this vintage brings Tenuta Argentiera into a new era as a Bolgheri protagonist.

97pt, Monica Larner, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate