Tenuta San Leonardo San Leonardo 2016
Blend: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Carmenère, 10% Merlot
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A wine to drink at least 10 years from now, the 2016 San Leonardo is positioned to be enjoyed in the far long term. Like its Tuscan cousin from Bolgheri, Sassicaia, San Leonardo from the mountainous north of Italy is always a wine that starts off quietly but that grows in intensity and complexity as it completes its bottle evolution. This elegant vintage reveals beautiful tones of dark berry fruit, spice and freshly milled white pepper. The wine is exceptionally balanced, fresh and long. Rating: 97+
Every story has its dramatic turning-point. Tenuta San Leonardo saw that moment at the end of the 1960s, when Marchese Anselmo Guerrier Gonzaga (1895-1974), agriculturalist and passionate vigneron, passed on to his son Carlo the responsibility of giving a new face to the family farming estate. Quite a few changes then ensued in the Trento-based winery’s vineyards: the traditional pergola system was joined by the Guyot method and by spurred cordon, and Carmenère and Merlot, varieties that had flourished here for decades if not centuries, gained new neighbors, above all Cabernet Sauvignon.
The change that Tenuta San Leonardo underwent was in fact a radical renewal. At first glance,however, nothing seems to have changed from the past, and the estate still looks today like a hortus conclusus relying on the same traditional values as ever. But behind the gate that protects the property there are no longer just fields of grain or corn, no more mulberries for the silkworms. Today, there are grapevines, laid out in accord with the most up-to-date viticultural canons, and the vine-rows speak eloquently of the culture of wine.
Trentino, the southern half, is primarily Italian-speaking and largely responsible for the production of non-native, international grapes. There is a significant quantity of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Merlot produced. But Trentino's native and most unique red variety, Teroldego, while still rare, is gaining popularity. It produces a deeply colored red wine rich in wild blackberry, herb, coffee and cocoa.
The rugged terrain of German-speaking Alto Adige (also referred to as Südtirol) focuses on small-scale viticulture, with great value placed on local varieties—though international varieties have been widely planted since the 1800s. Sheltered by the Alps from harsh northerly winds, many of the best vineyards are at extreme altitude but on steep slopes to increase sunlight exposure.
The primary white grapes are Pinot grigio, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot blanc, as well as smaller plantings of Sauvignon blanc, Müller Thurgau. These tend to be bright and refreshing with crisp acidity and just the right amount of texture. Some of the highest quality Pinot grigio in Italy is made here.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.