Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tenute Silvio Nardi, 2011 Rosso di Montalcino DOC

Emilia Nardi famously said that her mission for her family's winery was "I want our wines to express the essence of every unique area of Tuscany known as Montalcino"
the view at the Nardi Estate
I sit at the dining room table of my family home in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, and wonder what she must have been thinking when she said that. Did she imbue that statement with power- to drive her family's goals, or did her family's goals drive that statement to fuel her with it's power?

"... the essence of every unique area..." is a bold statement by any consideration, in any area. Here in Montalcino, one might consider it foolish, or even arrogant! A land that has been shaped not by years, but by millennia and not by families, but by generation upon generation upon generation. Nations have been built around it, and crumbled.

But the farmers are still here.

many thanks to www.cellartours.com
Agriculture is as much of a mainstay in this region as it was 100 years ago, 1000 years ago, 2000 years ago. Though all of Italy can fit more then three times into my province in Canada, Italy's population is more then double our entire country. This region: Montalcino is not a large one by Italian standards. It's hilly, and thickly wooded... even now over 50% is peppered with woodlands (and uncultivated lands) which provide work and wild game. About 10% is turned to farmlands and less then that is devoted to the grape.

Though a (relatively) short drive to the beautifully preserved city of Siena, and from there it's a quick morning to get to Florence, Montalcino is as removed from city life as one is likely to encounter anywhere in Italy. It is a different pace of life here, and I imagine that must be what drew Silvio Nardi (Emilia's father) in 1950. As a father, I keenly understand the magnetic attraction to building a "better life" for my daughter.

Now Emilia is the one building: whilst it was Silvio who first advocated for the Brunello del Montalcino recognition in Italy (Brunello is the local name for Sangiovese), it is Emilia who now advocates for it on a global podium. Both father and daughter have increased the vineyard land whilst maintaining, and developing, wine quality. Emilia (and her brothers) and even introducing new technologies to this multi-generational winery and incorporating them with time-proven technique.

And how is this synergy playing out? The skills that are producing Brunello worth hundreds of dollars per bottle are showing well in the Rosso di Montalcino at a fraction of the cost:

2011 Tenute Silvio Nardi Rosso di Montalcino
$20++ USD
$28     CAD (BC)
90 points
Canadian merchants: www.renaissancewine.ca

vineyard:    Casale del Bosco
vineyard size:   2000 acres+
altitude:   790-1150 feet
soil:   sand, clay and marley-shale
maturation:   12 months Slavonian oak
*bottle fined

  • visual:    clear; garnet core with bright cherry rim
  • nose:   clean; fully intense youthful aromas of bright red raspberries, irises and dark rose petals, subtle mineral undertones and warm leather background
  • palate:    clean; dry, medium red currant acids, medium fine silty tannins, medium- body, medium- alcohol (14.5%), medium+ intense youthful flavors mimicking the nose; currant and raspberry tones abound carried by the structure of persistent minerals, soft floral background. Very good balance, good structure and medium+ length
  • conclusion:   whilst this wine has years of life left in it, I doubt it will develop appreciably with time. Enjoy now and for a few years! 2013-2017+
  • FOOD PAIRING:   the brightness of the wine, lightness of body, and approachable tannin all make me want to serve this mid-afternoon: the friends have come over, the deck is clean and the chairs are out... arugula and grilled ribeye pizza comes to mind, probably with some heirloom tomato and roasted corn-cilantro bruscetta and cured sausage and fresh local stonefruit... this wine (for the price) has a brilliant array of dimension. Allow yourself the pleasure of pairing different foods with it and discovering how versatile it truly is!

In this tucked away corner of Italy, where time seems to have slowed immeasurably  the Nardi family are forging a new future. Here in Montalcino (and who am I - IrishCanadian - to speak of Montalcino?) but here in Montalcino the wines have been praised for longer then Canada has been a recognized country. Here in Montalcino there is an always well-attended and thoroughly enthusiastic jazz and wine fest held beneath the shadow of a castle 700 years old. Here in Montalcino, the past puts it's imprint on everything in this lush valley of woodland, grapevine and olive tree.

But Emilia, her brothers, and their team are planting Petit Verdot, Merlot and Syrah. Here this young (by local terms) winemaking family is uniting technology and tradition. Here Emilia is pursuing directions like their intense soil composition testings of 1993 which identified 28 different soil types under 3000 acres of land (Tenute Silvio Nardi is Montalcino's sixth largest producer). They have tested, re-tested and re-re-tested clones to find the perfect match for the replanting effort of the last 90's which has resulted in the Nardi family interpretation of Brunello. Their audacity even extends to re-envisioning the traditional foudres or 5 ton immense oak barrels for maturation.... Emilia has visited France to ascertain what potential the barrique or 225L barrel may hold for their wines.

We none of us are beholden to our past to guide our future. A new generation is emerging from one of the truly ancestral wine regions of the world, and they emerge with new ideas and new visions. I'm looking at my glass of Nardi Rosso right now, and find the future to be full of promise.

As always, I welcome your comments and questions.

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

winemap is courtesy of www.cellartours.com 

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