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andrea_wine_spyAndrea Petrini is a native of Rome and simply adores fine wine. His interest originally began with French, Italian and German wines and this consuming passion eventually led him to establish ‘Enoclub Roma', an association providing vinous communication through seminars, wine tastings and dinners. Enoclub Roma helps educate consumers and trade professionals in all aspects of wine production, appreciation, connoisseurship and enjoyment. Andrea pens a popular Italian wine blog, Percorsi di Vino, which specializes in tracking down Italy's greatest wines. Above all, Andrea is a great wine enthusiast with an excellent palate, his informed contributions on the finest wines as our Italian Wine Spy are greatly welcomed and much anticipated. Andrea has promised to share his exciting new discoveries of modern Italian wines as well as those whose prestigious reputations are more familar.



Tenuta San Leonardo 2001 Red


san_leonardo_label_100Tenuta San Leonardo is an ancient walled settlement in the province of Trento. It extends to almost 300 hectares of what was once a medieval fief. Approximately 20 of these hectares are planted to vine on fairly loose-packed hillside soil. The vines face north-south at between 150 and 200 metres above sea level. Higher up, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are grown on sandy soil while Merlot has found a welcoming home on the pebbly soil slightly lower down.


san_leonardo_webThe vine training systems vary, some of the vine stock is trained over the traditional "pergola Trentina" trellises and the rest is pruned to the modern, rational Guyot system, which is less productive but more suitable for producing wines with good concentration. Tenuta San Leonardo was the first estate to introduce the Guyot system of cane pruning into the province of Trento. The age of the vines ranges from 10 to 25 years and planting densities vary from 4,000 to 5,500 vines per hectare. Known to the world as San Leonardo, the best quality wine of the estate is a Bordeaux blend: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot. The three grape varieties are fermented and matured separately. During the early months this takes place in large stainless steel tanks followed by 24 months in new and used French barriques. The proportions of the blend are decided only after rigorous sample tasting, barrique by barrique. The wine needs about one year of bottle ageing before release onto the market.


2001 is my preferred vintage. This wine is pure aristocratic elegance, it is the pure expression of Marchese Carlo Guerrieri Gonzaga. San Leonardo shows a deep ruby red color and nuances of garnet red, with a little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant aromas that start with hints of blackcurrant and black cherry followed by aromas of vanilla, violet, blueberry, licorice, chocolate, sweet pipe tobacco and eucalyptus. With extraordinary purity, full body, and remarkable freshness, elegance, and persistence. This is one of the finest wines ever made by this estate. It will be drinkable at a young age, but will evolve over three decades or more.


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Falesco - Montiano 2004 Red Wine


The Falesco Winery is owned by Riccardo and Renzo Cotarella, two oenologist brothers whose roots lye deep in the fertile territory between Lazio and Umbria. The winery was established in Montefi Ascone (Lazio's Viterbo province) in 1979. Born with the 1993 vintage, Montiano has been acclaimed since the beginning as one of the greatest and most innovative Italian red wines, being conspicuous for its elegance, precious aromatic make-up, great concentration and structure. This particular Merlot is derived from an old low-yielding vineyard, where the selection of fruit is extremely rigorous. Grapes with intense colour and rich concentration are fermented in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature, with a long maceration on the skin. The wine is aged and the malolactic fermentation takes place over an extended period in French oak barriques.


montiano__label_3The 2004 Montiano is deep ruby-red in color and shows a rich and intense bouquet of fruit aromas: black cherry, strawberry jam, raspberry, blackberry followed by hints of leather, dark chocolate, black spice and graphite. On the palate the wine corresponds well to the nose and despite a strong attack, the tannins are agreeable and the wine is assuredly balanced by alcohol. This is a full bodied wine with a persistent finish, elegance with charming flavours of dark fruits and black spice. For drinking in its youth or to be cellared for 10-15 years, a great wine from my home region of Lazio.


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