San Leonardo 2008 (4.6/5)

San Leonardo is one of that few wines that could be used as an example to explain why "Terroir" matters. It's a Bordeaux blend, therefore allochthonous grape varieties for Trentino Alto-Adige (Italy). Yet the sense of place of this wine is so strong that you forget which grapes are behind this beauty. As it happens with the best pinot-noirs or nebbiolos, here grapes become just a carrier of Terroir: they interpret the place without betraying it. Quite a difficult task, as constitutionally tradurre and tradire have the same root. 

Why I have underlined the word 'few' above? Because today "Terroir" is one of the very trendy words in the wine trade. One of the major marketing strategy consists in talking about "Terroir", sometimes even "micro-Terroir"... I would add nano-, pico-, femto-Terroir, down to the single berry fermentation, why not, presented in this funny video by Round Pound winery (link). 

Now that trends are moving towards less extracted, less alcoholic, less concentrated wines, producers and wine critics will fill your head with lumps of "Terroir". "Terroir" will be the key bringing in the magic so needed by the marketing department. In more than 9 cases out of 10 this will be just rubbish. Why? Because there are very few places on the Planet that can create an intrinsic and incomprehensible link with the wine they give birth to. A link able to give irreproducible nuances to this, otherwise common, fermented juice. Making a less extracted, less alcoholic, less concentrated, less oaky wine does not automatically mean bringing out in evidence this link. Genuine, honest, even ''natural" wines (all welcomed please) are not automatically wines endowed with the fingerprint of Terroir. It's a gift. A gift offered by very few places on Earth. 


I believe Tenuta San Leonardo enjoys the privilege to sit on one of this special places. And this become transparent when tasting their wines. I'm also happy to read the label stating "San Leonardo, Vigneti delle Dolomiti", not "Vino delle Dolomiti". As if the bottle's content was not red wine, but the vines themselves. As if uncorking the bottle you were finding the spot of Dolomites where this wine comes from. A rare and mesmerising gift that very few wines possess.     

Tasting Notes:
The wine appears deep ruby with garnet rim and good legs. On the nose it opens with complex layers of earth, minerals (haematic tones) for then moving towards dusted black fruits, spices and leather. Some mountain herbs as well. Overall, difficult to find descriptors to properly convey the nuances of this wine. On the palate is dry, medium+ acidity, medium (very silky) tannins, medium alcohol, medium+ body with intense mid palate and medium+ finish. So balanced and elegant! You will appreciate it even better with properly matched food.

Outstanding quality, Premium Price. Approachable now but will keep evolving in bottle for another decade or two. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carménère and Merlot. Trentino Alto-Adige, Italy.


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