Tasting Report: 2006 Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova Brunello di Montalcino

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The other night we went to Sweet Basil for dinner (review) and since the restaurant is BYOB friendly it provides an opportunity to choose a wine for the evening.

We were joining some of our best friends who are also wine enthusiasts and since we go in on a lot of the same deals there's significant overlap in our collections. As a result, choosing a wine becomes a bit of a mind game. I'm more new world biased than my friend, but rather than go from my comfort zone of California Pinot Noir, I often end up choosing something old world and vice versa.

Sure enough he brought a Reynvaan Syrah (which was fantastic) and, after toying with the idea of going with a Spanish wine (a 2010 Finca Dofi), I ended up going with an Italian wine: a 2006 Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova Brunello.

Casanova di Neri is a Montalcino producer founded in 1971 by Giovanni Neri then passed on to his son Giacomo in 1991. Their flagship wines are their Brunello di Montalcino (~$51) and Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova (~$80). Like all Brunello, they are 100% Sangiovese grown near the town of Montalcino.

The Tenuta Nuova bottling was first produced from grapes harvested in 1993. Since then it's gone on to international acclaim. In 2006, Wine Spectator named the 2001 Tenuta Nuova (97WS/$70) their Wine of the Year. James Suckling (former Wine Spectator editor covering the wines of Italy) recently rated the 2006 100 points saying, "What a bottle. Will it ultimately be better than 2001 Tenuta Nuova? Yes."

I bought this 2006 immediately after tasting the 2005 Tenuta Nuova at the Wine Spectator Grand Tour in Boston a couple years ago. The 100 point Suckling rating didn't hurt either.

Most drinking windows say "best after 2013". We're getting close to 2014, and since the winery describes Tenuta Nuova as lending itself "to a lengthy evolution through the years but also drunk young it will give great satisfaction" I thought it would be good to try. Indeed it was...

2006 Casanova di Neri
14.5% Alcohol

Delicious liquified red licorice with other typical Brunello aromas and flavors. A tremendous amount of focused fruit for this category, but it's balanced very well by acid and supporting silky tannins. There is nothing harsh about this wine so although secondary characteristics should emerge with time, if you like drinking wines on the young side I see no problem popping a bottle of this now.

97/100 WWP: Classic

Winery Website

  • 100 James Suckling
  • 97 Wine Enthusiast
  • 95 Wine Spectator
  • 95 Wine Advocate
This wine is still available at reasonable prices at some retail shops. In fact, Buster's Liquors in Memphis has 8 bottles available for $65.69 as part of a mixed case purchase. If you find yourself some in Memphis stop in and buy some (and drop me an email because I'd love if you could bring some to me in Massachusetts!). Sadly, Buster's doesn't ship anywhere.

Further Reading:
Only drink 100 point wines? Here's another recent one from Spain.

Question of the Day: Have you have Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova before? If so, what did you think? If not, what are some of your favorite Brunellos?


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