Tenuta San Leonardo, “Terre di San Leonardo” Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT 2015 (about $19)

Italian Wine for march, 2021

This medium-bodied Bordeaux-style red blend is from the historic San Leonardo estate in the province of Trentino - which is sandwiched between Alto Adige to the north and Veneto to the south - in northern Italy. Although the Marchesi Guerrieri Gonzaga family has been growing grapes here since the 1770’s, their modern wine history only dates back to the early 1980’s.

That’s when the current owner and winemaker, Carlo Guerrieri Gonzaga, returned to his San Leonardo estate after a working sabbatical at the storied Tenuta San Guido winery in Tuscany where the highly-acclaimed Bordeaux-style, Super-Tuscan “Sassicaia” is produced. He became an impassioned believer in Bordeaux varieties and their potential for producing world-class wines at his ancestral San Leonardo estate.

Upon his return, he began replacing the native varieties in his vineyards with mostly traditional Bordeaux varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Carmenère, one of the oldest Bordeaux varieties. With the assistance of the renowned consulting winemaker Carlo Ferrini, he set about producing classic Bordeaux-style wines that quickly gained a cult-like following for their distinctive structure and elegance.

Today, San Leonardo produces a small number of red wines made primarily with traditional Bordeaux varieties in addition to a Chardonnay. The estate’s flagship wine is the eponymous “San Leonardo”, a great red Bordeaux-style wine of considerable elegance that is a serial recipient of Gambero Rosso’s coveted Tre Bicchieri (“Three Glasses”) award.

2015 Terre di San Leonardo from the San Leonardo winery in Trentino ItalySan Leonardo’s “Terre di San Leonardo” is the baby brother, so to speak, of the award-winning “San Leonardo.”  It also is a Bordeaux-style wine, in this case a blend of 50 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 40 percent Merlot and 10 percent Carmenère grapes selected from across the San Leonardo vineyards.

After fermentation, 80 percent of the wine is aged in cement vats for 18 months and 20 percent in barriques. The blended wine then spends an additional 6 months in the bottle prior to release. It carries a Bordeaux-like 13.5 percent alcohol.

This Terre di San Leonardo is an elegant, medium-bodied red wine from the splendid 2015 growing season. It is deep crimson in the glass with attractive depth followed by fragrant blackberry and dried flower aromas. It has a great tight-knit mouthfeel with almost-firm acidity balanced by dark cherry and plum flavors and soft tannins that lead into a long, dry finish.

This wine has everything in place and nothing in excess. It is in sum a delicious, elegant and inexpensive red wine that’s just waiting to impress guests at your next dinner party.


©Richard Marcis
March 12, 2021

To see reviews of other selected wines of the month, see Wines of the Month.

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