2013 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto

Year: 2013
Appellation: Tuscany
Country: Italy
Wine Spectator: 98
Wine Advocate: 97
Vinous Media: 95
James Suckling: 97
Red Wine
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"This intense version is concentrated, with black cherry, blackberry, graphite, tobacco and spice flavors, yet remains light-footed due to the racy profile. Structured, yet beautifully balanced and youthful. Shows purity and length on the aftertaste, which introduces a floral component. Best from 2022 through 2045. 814 cases made, 150 cases imported. -B.S." (WS)

"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.

Giacomo and Giovanni Neri were beaming when they told me of their newest purchase in Montalcino. The Neri family acquired seven additional hectares. "Una follia," (total madness) Giacomo tells me. I assume he is referring to the purchase price. Land values in Montalcino are soaring at the moment, so it's definitely not a buyers' market. This new vineyard parcel is not in production yet but will be soon. In other news, the Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova (one of my favorite wines) was not made in 2014. Neither was the Cerretalto (which is released one year later). All that fruit went into the 2014 Brunello di Montalcino (white label) that is reviewed here. In fact, for the first time in Casanova di Neri's history, the Brunello di Montalcino annata represents a blend of fruit from the whole estate." (WA)

"Deep luminous ruby-red. Spicy red cherry and mineral nuances on the nose and in the mouth. Enters fresh and juicy with noteworthy flesh and size to the red and blue fruit flavors, then suave and refined all the way onto the long refined finish. Closes with youthfully chewy tannins and a tactile mouthfeel offering hints of flinty minerals and raspberry. A brooding giant that is extremely elegant and refined. Very well done." (VM)

"There’s a lot in this wine, in terms of complexity, that is all underpinned by concentrated, ripe and assertive red cherries. The oak is nicely placed and there’s a sense of purpose and build on the palate that really sets it apart. High-class tannins. Try this from 2022." (JS)

Winery Notes:
It is made mainly from grapes grown in the eponymous vineyard, but only in vintages in which the seasons have been perfect. It should be considered as the wine best characterised by its uniqueness, thanks to the particularities of soil and microclimate. Being a very late ripening variety, the grape harvest takes place between the middle and end of October. It matures in small oak casks for about 27 months and then in the bottle for 30 months. It is a wine with a very long cellar life: it presents rich aromas and a surprising mineral quality, capable of increasing over the years.

The vintages produced so far have been 1986, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 and now 2013.