San Leonardo 2015
Region: Trentino, Italy
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, Merlot
Appellation: Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT
Drinking Window: 2020-2060
Alcohol content: 13%
Scores (if you care about): 94-97/100 Robert Parker; 95/100 Vinous; 92/100 James Suckling; 17/5/20 Jancis Robinson
"I am reluctant to draw too many conclusions from this sample because it has not yet finished its bottle evolution. San Leonardo is notorious for its long aging requirements, even in a warm and accessible vintage such as this. The 2015 San Leonardo will be officially presented at Vinitaly in 2020 (in April) and will hit foreign markets soon after that. From what we can determine now, this is shaping up to be a beautiful wine with deep inner fruit richness and exuberance. In its current state, the wine is lavish and extremely radiant. I am faithful that great results will follow. Stay tuned..." 94-97/100 Monica Larner, RobertParker.com, Dec 2018
"The 2015 San Leonardo is a classic in the making. The bouquet is wonderfully perfumed with peppery florals, mixing tart cherry and blueberry with white smoke, hints of graphite and shaved cedar. Silky textures race across a core of juicy acids and minerals, making for a ripe yet cool-toned and pleasurably tactile expression. Youthful tannins slowly make themselves known toward the close. Long, structured and spicy, the 2015 finishes with a crescendo of tart blue and black fruits, tapering off to notes of subtly sweet spice. As good as this is today, it will only get better over time. That said, it doesn’t appear that this is going to shut down anytime in the immediate future, so it’s certainly worth checking on a bottle or two before forgetting the rest in your cellar." 95/100, Eric Guido, Vinous, Jul 2020
"From a palpably riper vintage than the 2014 tasted yesterday but still with San Leonardo's trademark restraint. This is very youthful and clearly has the structure underneath to go quite a distance. Great freshness and bite but not at all skinny. Much more aérienne than the average red bordeaux – on which it was originally modelled. Very long indeed." 17.5/20, Jancis Robinson, Mar 2020
"Notes of wet tobacco, dried earth, cumin, cedar and dried red plums form the basis of the nose. Structured and serious on the palate with just the right amount of fruit to balance out the backbone of firm, austere tannins. Drink from 2021." 92/100 James Suckling, Nov 2019
San Leonardo is a very ancient hamlet, whose origins are lost in time. But even before the year 1000, San Leonardo in Sarnis was known as a place where the grapevine flourished. There the Frati Crociferi (the Crutched Friars) perfected their winemaking skills, to the point of being highly esteemed by the Austro-Hungarian court in Vienna. The boundaries of today’s estate, which boasts 300 hectares, aligns precisely with the perimeter of the ancient feudal settlement. The Marchesi Guerrieri Gonzaga, owners and winegrowers at San Leonardo since the 18th century, have always played a major role in its centuries-old history, and this long family tradition today embraces every corner of the estate, which is a world of its own, a borgo within its own circuit of walls.
The venerable fermentation cellar contains just vats built of concrete. Here, the red wines start fermentation spontaneously, without the help of technology or of cultured yeasts. These fermentations generally last not more than 15/18 days, during which they undergo multiple pumpovers and délestage. Once the fermentations are complete, the wine is drawn off and the remaining pomace is gently pressed under the watchful eye of San Leonardo’s cellar workers, who have passed down this art from generation to generation.
The Baricaia cellars
As is often the case with older wine estates, the cellars are arranged on different levels. From the courtyard, one enters the fermentation cellar, which contains concrete vats, on several levels, built right after the First World War. Recently, the more ancient underground cellar, in the heart of the borgo, was re-structured, along with its large vats where lots of wine are blended. Only the underground barrel cellar, constructed in 2001, enjoys one large, dedicated space; here the wines undergo maturation, resting, some for at least 24 months in small oak barrels.