Casanova di Neri is located in the town of Montalcino in the Tuscany region of Italy. In addition to Brunello di Montalcino, the winery produces grappa, olive oil, and several red wines using Sangiovese as well as Cabernet Sauvignon.
The dinner at Undici was overbooked. As a result, the courses were completely mismatched from their intended pairings. This was unfortunate as Chef Giovanni puts a great deal of thought into pairings for the wine dinners at the restaurant, and he is very good at it.
Still, the evening presented an opportunity to sample some delicious wine and taste some great food.
Undici typically pours all wines for the evening several hours prior to the start of the event.
The first wine up was the 2009 Rosso di Casanova di Neri.
The wine was a red blend, comprised of 75% Sangiovese and 25% Colorino. The wine was oak aged for a period of 12 months. The label listed ABV was 14.5%. The wine’s classification was DOC.
The aromas from this glass were black fruit with floral notes in the background. Taking a sip, I found black fruit, plum, pepper, and a touch of anise. The finish was relatively short. This was a nice glass of wine. I would call it an everyday table wine. It retails for around $18 and offers good value at that level.
This wine was intended to be paired with an Antipasti made up of roasted peppers, finocchiona, salami, prosciutto, and pecorino cheese. As the kitchen was backed up, we drank the wine on its own.
The next wines to taste were the 2003 and 2007 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino “White Label”.
These wines were 100% Sangiovese. They were aged in large oak casks for 45 months, followed by an additional 6 months in the bottle. They carried an ABV of 14.5% and had their classification was DOCG.
The 2007 had black fruit and cherry on the nose. Once in my mouth, cherry was the first thing to jump out. This was blended with black fruit and spice. The finish was medium and carried some tannins with it. The tannins were a bit pronounced. This is a young wine that needs some time. It definitely calls for food at this point of its life.
The 2003 had a very different nose. Cola and red fruit were prominent. A sip found a big difference from its younger brother as well. Black and red fruit mixed with pepper. The texture was smooth, like butter. The finish was medium-long and the tannins were much smoother than the 2007. Both of these wines retail in the $50-55 range. I would recommend both, although the 2007 needs another 5 to 7 years to reach perfection.
These wines were scheduled to be paired with Pappa al Pomodoro, an Italian tomato and bread soup. Instead, they were consumed with the aforementioned antipasti (is there any Italian wine that does not go great with antipasti?).
The next wine sampled was the 2007 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino “Tenuta Nuova”. I had previously reviewed this wine, which you can read about here.
The wine was 100% Sangiovese. It was aged for 30 months in oak casks, and then for an additional 18 months in the bottle. (By law, Brunello di Montalcino must spend at least 24 months in oak barrels and can only be released after 5 years have elapsed from harvest.) The wine had a listed 14.5% ABV. Its classification was DOCG.
The nose carried black fruit and terroir, with a touch of pepper. Flavors on the palate were red berries, cherries, and a touch of chocolate. The finish was long and pleasant. This wine retails in the $80-90 range and is an excellent buy in that price area.
This wine was to be paired with House-made Lasagna with Wild Boar Ragu and Beschiamella. Instead, it was matched with the above mentioned tomato and bread soup. The wine went well with it.
The final wines of the evening were the 2006 and 2007 Casanova di Neri Pietradonice.
These wines were 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. They were aged in small oak barrels for 18 months and an additional 6 months in the bottle. The listed ABV was 15%.
I first tried the 2007. The nose was full of black fruit and chocolate. Once in the mouth, red berries, cherries, and vanilla were at the forefront. The finish was long and silky, carrying the cherries with it. Despite the high ABV, there was no heat whatsover on the nose or the palate. This was a well balanced wine that was a pleasure to drink.
The 2006 was a bit of a different animal. Terroir was the most prominent note on the nose. The palate had black fruit and tannins. The finish was not as complex as the 2007 and the tannins were much more pronounced. It was a very, nice wine, but I preferred the 2007 over the 2006. These wines retail between $70 and $90. The 2007 is definitely worth it in that range.
These wines were supposed to be paired with Guanciale di Manzo, oven roasted prime beef cheeks with sweet potato puree and rapini flowers. Instead, it was combined with the House-made Lasagna. The Guanciale di Manzo was served next, and the 2003 “White Label” Brunello di Montalcino was re-opened to go with it. Overall, the food was good and the wine was spectacular.
Giacomo Neri is a tremendous winemaker. Throughout the evening, he walked amongst the tables answering questions. There was no pretense, no ego. A man and his wine. It was a great experience to drink outstanding wine with the person who made it.
Casanova di Neri produces some great wines. If you have the opportunity to try some, I highly recommend you do so.