It was one of the nights that I will not be forgetting anytime soon. I knew we would have “lovely hors d’oeuvres made by Chef Giancarla, accompanied by the Casanova di Neri wine tasting” at one of my favorite places: Bar Toscana, but I was ill-prepared for tasting a Brunello di Montalcino that had not yet been released, never had food made by Chef Giancarla Bodoni that came all the way from the “Medieval village” created by Monteverdi Tuscany or met up with the movers and shakers for all three businesses.
Just hitting the key points and heavy hitters blew my mind, here is my Facebook post:
W O W. It was one of those nights that can’t be covered in one social media post or one article. The short story is: we were one of the first in the U.S. to taste the 2015 Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova Brunello di Montalcino well before the 2020 release, meet and learn from 3rd generation family member and general manager Gianlorenzo Neri, meet and taste foods made by Executive Chef Giancarla Bodoni of Monteverdi Tuscany – a boutique hotel and culinary academy, meet Michael L. Cioffi the owner of Monteverdi Tuscany, get a chance to say hello to Kathie and Mike Gordon the owners of Toscana, Bar Toscana and S.Y. Kitchen (and vintners as well), and Chef Luca Crestanelli of S.Y. Kitchen…
Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova was a Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator, 100/100 from Robert Parker and 100/100 from James Suckling…to name just a few of their accolades. (Public Facebook link for photos are here.)
Fearful of missing anything, below you will find excerpts of news sent to me regarding each involved – Casanova di Neri, Monteverdi Tuscany and Toscana. These are just some of the notes I made at the event:
Gianlorenzo Neri, the third generation of the Neri family to work the winery, said that the 2015 is one of the best they’ve made in the past 20 to 25 years, with incredible potential for aging and drinkability now. The consortium had to approve the early release for the tastings, and had slapped a “sample” label on the bottles.
The vineyard was previously home to sheep before Neri’s grandfather planted grapevines there, the name roughly translates to Farmers of the Neri Family, and their home and offices are all in the same place. Neri said that he and his brother attended a high school for winemakers.
This tasting was part of a Taste of Tuscany tour through Brentwood, Santa Ynez and Napa Valley; introducing wine lovers to the new wine and food pairings by Executive Chef Giancarla Bodoni of Monteverdi Tuscany. Hotel owner Michael L. Cioffi commented that everything comes from the land, “the Tuscany of your dreams” with a landscape of green and gold that show vineyards, olive trees, and poppies. It all “reflects the majesty of the land.” The hotel is made from all reclaimed materials (part was a former school building and restored village) as it’s “important to part of the land they’re in.” It was “the land that captivated” Cioffi, just like the Neri family captivated him. Besides their marvelous Chef Giancarla in residence at Monteverdi Tuscany, famed Chef Nancy Silverton will be coming in March to cook at their academy. Chef Giancarla added, “Food grows everywhere” in Italy and she “ loves to teach, to share…is (her) true heart and soul.”
Restaurateur Kathie Gordon said that they take great pleasure in feeding people…and creating an enjoyable evening to remember; Casanova di Neri does the same thing with their wines. (Later Kathie shared their own wine: 2014 “Cocobacio”, Dove Meadow Vineyard, Bellebob Slope, Los Olivos District. The wine is a red blend of estate grown grapes, this vintage was 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Sangiovese and 30% Syrah with 13.9% alcohol. The wines are cellared and bottled for them at Andrew Murray Vineyards. It was a lovely wine and available only at their restaurants.)
2015 Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova Brunello di Montalcino Tasting Notes
Velvety aromas of plum, black pepper, figs, earth and a hint of eucalyptus followed by flavors of red to black fruit, bright but with good tannins, structure and balance. The bottle had been open for a few hours but not decanted.
About Casanova di Neri
Founded in 1971 by Giovanni Neri, Casanova di Neri Winery has become one of the most respected wineries in all of Italy. Upon the passing of Giovanni, his son, Giacomo, took over the reins in 1991 and today is recognized as one of the wine industry’s most influential producers. Wine critic James Suckling calls Giacomo “one of the masters of Brunello.”
This family-run cellar owes its success to a solid track record of powerful, luxuriant Brunellos and to the exclusive crus, Tenuta Nuova and Cerretalto… the wines of Casanova di Neri are renowned for their elegant, modern style and enjoy a steady flow of accolades from specialty magazines and contests the world over. In 2006, the Wine Spectator named their Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 2001 the #1 Wine in the World, calling it “one of the best examples of the recent winemaking renaissance in Tuscany.” Casanova di Neri wines repeatedly score 100-points.
About Monteverdi Tuscany
Monteverdi Tuscany is a luxury boutique hotel centrally located between Rome and Florence, offering stunning panoramic views of the Val d’Orcia region of Tuscany, a UNESCO World Heritage Site…the six-year-old hotel is not confined within a single building but instead is dispersed throughout an idyllic, medieval village, with rooms and suites tucked in among authentic and fastidiously maintained properties. With its transformative restoration complete, the hotel now comprises eighteen individual rooms and suites plus three elegantly appointed villas…in addition, Monteverdi Tuscany boasts an award-winning farm-to-table restaurant, a Culinary Academy, a piano lounge and terrace bar, a separate enoteca and Library Bar, outdoor swimming pool and indoor heated spa pool, an award-winning holistic spa, yoga studio, a modern gym, an art gallery, and a beautifully restored 700-year-old church that serves as Monteverdi’s performing arts venue.
The talented culinary team at Toscana has firm Italian roots. Executive Chef Luca Crestanelli was born and raised in Verona, Italy, where he received his Culinary Arts degree…he was invited to work for the Gordon family, launching Bar Toscana in 2010. In 2013 the three partnered to open a third restaurant, S.Y. Kitchen in Santa Ynez, California.
The Gordons are grateful for the longevity of their restaurant and are actively involved in the management of Toscana, the adjacent Bar Toscana, Nerano in Beverly Hills and S.Y. Kitchen in Santa Ynez, California where they call home…
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.