Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Villa Gresti di San Leonardo

High in the valleys of Northern Italy is a province named Trento. Trento is a very, very old place for mankind; traces of humanity have been found there that stretch back to the beginning of the Stone Age, and earlier.

 How long then, can one assume we have been enjoying fermented grape juice from that region?

 So in the Province of Trento there lies a walled town San Leonardo. At the outskirts of San Leonardo is the Villa Gresti. At the Villa, they produce superb wine.

 A simple enough story?

San Leonardo, Italy
 Except that the wine produced there is not really what one might expect from Italy, much less Northern Italy high in the hills, where most of the region is mountainous (to say the least) and one of the tourist activities of the region is to go to the glacier. Alright, to be fair, I wouldn't have expected any wine to be produced in a place such as this.

 But Trento has alot going for it in terms of wine production: the valleys have a beautiful soil; deep gravel and sand that drain extremely well and keeps vines from getting too wet, deep valley walls that trap the suns' heat and provide intense summer days, and also - a very long history of winemaking meaning that these people have learned from their parents, not a book. Sometimes, that accumulated knowledge can be the difference between good winemaking, great winemaking, and inspired winemaking. Italians have long known that Trento produces superb wines, and are trying their best to keep the secret for themselves.

 My thanks then to the BC Liquor Stores and to Barbara Philip, MW ( ),  for braving the Italian temper by stealing some of their precious drink and bringing it back to us!

 Villa Gresti di San Leonardo is rightfully proud of the fact that they are growing all three of the classic Haut-Medoc Bordeaux varietals for their wine; Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. The Cab-Sauv and Cab-Franc is grown on sandy soil about 200m elevation on a southern exposure, and the Merlot is on pebbly soil around 150m. The training systems are both antique (trellised) and modern (Guyot), and I unfortunately am not educated enough to say which is better... however their website does mention that Guyot is proven to reduce yields, which will lead to an increase in flavor concentration.

2004 Vendemmia (Bordeaux styled blend)
Villa Gresti di San Leonardo, Trento Province, Italy
60% Cab Sauv, 30% Cab Franc, 10% Merlot
13.5% ABV, $55 CAD   ** EXCELLENT VALUE **
  • visual:   clear; deep garnet core with slight cherry-ochre rim (indicative of age)
  • nose:   clean; moderate+ to fully intense and developed bouquet of cassis, old leather, blackberries, savory herbs, black and red cherries, notes of tar, light white pepper finish with long lush black florals such as irises and black roses
  • palate:   clean; dry, moderate+ (red and black currant) acids, moderate (slightly chewy) tannins, moderate ABV, moderate+ to full bodied, moderate+ intense and developed flavors mimicking the nose to perfection - red currant plays more on the palate then the nose. Excellent balance and structure, length on the palate is brilliantly long
  • conclusion:   Excellent wine drinking superbly now and until the end of 2011. By 2012 it will definitely start declining.
  • PAIRINGS:   Rich Osso Bucco Milanese, truffled pastas will play their earthiness of the leathery fruit, consider wild meats such as venison if you want to play straight off the bold berry flavors... lots of room to play with the food because there is so much dimension to the wine!
 An excellent offering from Villa Gresti, especially when one considers that the vines are only 10 to 25 years old! That's as young as most of the vines in BC, and much younger then one expects from the Old Country. I most assuredly look forward to next years' offering from them.

the courtyard of VILLA GRESTI

As always, I welcome and enjoy your comments/questions.

CINCIN~!!!     SLAINTE~!!!     CHEERS~!!!

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