Great Wines of Italy Review

“Casanova Di Neri. Castello Banfi. Ciacci Piccolomini D’ Argona. Marchesi De’ Frescobaldi. Marchesi Antinori. Tenuta Luce Della Vite. Tenuta Dell’Orenellaia. Bruno Giacosa. Argiano….”

The exquisite list of Italian winery participants read like a beautiful operetta at last nights Great Wines of Italy Event within St. Bartholomew’s in New York City. The church pipe organs took the night off as the clinks of James Sucklings 100 point wine glasses swept through the majestic cathedral. A most grandeur venue which exuded the highest level of elegance and class, the Great Wines of Italy Event was a dream come true for Mr. Suckling. The ultimate mastermind of wine, Mr. Suckling selected 107 of the finest wine producers of Italy and asked they all serve their best quality wines. As a result, a 90+ point Italian wine tasting oasis was born in the center of Manhattan, wowing the palettes and hearts of wine connoisseurs. James Suckling once said, “Wine is like music; it should be thought of emotionally by wine drinkers. Essentially, wine should move you.” Without a doubt, it is safe to say that all of the wines we tasted last evening were wonderful but there were a select few which completely took our breath away.

Bruno Giacosa Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto Riserva 2007-

The perfect wine. Awarded 100 points by James Suckling, this phenomenal wine is clearly perfect with layers of subtle fruit and spice with hints of chocolate. Full and very long, it builds on the palate and goes on and on. Hazelnuts and dark fruits shine lightly to create a stunning and structured red that is brilliantly bright. We also had the good fortune of meeting Bruna Giacosa. Bruna is the dedicated daughter to father Bruno and she is the definition of true Italian finesse. After exchanging personal stories about our families and the mutual passion for the love of wine, it is no wonder the Giacosa’s produce such spirited wines. Natural elegance flows through their veins and just like the vines of their remarkable Barolo’s, the elegance never fades.


Casanova Di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto 2007- 

Awarded 97 points by James Suckling, this wine has wonderful aromas of dried berries and raspberries with hints of milk chocolate and blueberries. Full body, with velvety tannins and a long delicious finish. It was a magical moment meeting Giacomo Neri and have him pour our tastings. Listening to Giacomo describe his Cerretalto as, “endless, ” each of our senses were absolutely captivated by the beauty of this wine.


Damilano Barolo Cannubi 2008-

This is a big step up in quality for Damilano, who now controls the most vineyards in the great Cannubi- about 27 acres. Sensual aromas of dried flowers, sweet fruits and chocolate follow through to a full body, with fine tannins and a delicious finish. Simply wonderful. (95 points)


Castello Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino Poggio all’ Oro Riserva 2007-

 American owned Castello Banfi is one of the most famous Tuscan wine producers and largest producers of plums and licorice in the region. Here we found a bright bouquet of plums and blackberries on the nose which created a lovely aroma. Full bodied, with chewy yet polished velvety tannins and a long, rich finish. Luciano Castiello, the ambassador for the winery, poured our tastings while smiling and speaking about Castello Banfi with incredible energetic passion. Essentially, with each sip of this marvelous wine he was able to truly transport our minds to the beautiful vineyards in Montalcino. Grazie Luciano and Salute! (95 points)


Tenuta Della Vite Brunello Di Montalcino Luce 2007-

Awarded 97 points by James Suckling, this wine had aromas of dark fruits, with plums and lemon rinds following through to a full body with lots of juicy fruit and velvety tannins. Exciting hints of cocoa and spices with an intense finish. Appropriately enough, the logo on a Luce bottle is a sun which represents light, warmth and the theme of nourishment. You can truly taste these components in this wine. (97 points)


Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri- Sassicaia 2008-

This is the best young Sassicaia in years. Gorgeous aromas of blueberries, spices, licorice and plums. This wine is subtle while being complex. Full and silky with a beautiful texture of fine tannins and an ultra-fine finish. As James Suckling says, “Sassicaia is always great in years that end with 8: 1958, 1968, 1978, 1988, 1998 and 2008”. Tenuta San Guido was one of the only vertical tastings of the evening and it was truly an unforgettable moment. (97 points)


San Polino Brunello Di Montalcino 2007-

What an absolute treat it was to have winemaker Luigi Fabbro pour the tastings at this event. A kind hearted, soft spoken gentleman, Luigi described his nine acres of biodynamic vineyards and believes his “home-made” luscious and balanced Brunellos continue to help the ecosystem of San Polino. The 2007 Brunello tastes of ash and spices, with hints of plums and dark fruits. Full bodied, with layers of velvety tannins and lots of wood. Impressive intensity of ripe and balanced fruit with a lovely long finish. (94 points)


Additional Excellent Wines from the Event:

Tenuta Dell’ Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia 2005 (95 points)

Tenuta Dell’Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia 2009 (96 points)


Fanti Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva 2007 (95 points)

Casanova Di Neri Brunello Do Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 2008 (94 points)

Fattoria Le Pupille Maremma Toscana Saffredi 2007 (94 points)

Tenuta Sette Ponti Toscana Oreno 2010 (96 points)

La Valentina Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Bellovedere 2007 (93 points)

Antinori Bolgheri Superiore Guado al Tasso 2009 (97 points)

Brunello Di Montalcino Madonna Del Piano Riserva Valdicava 2006 (100 points)

Amarone Campolongo Di Torbe Masi 2006 (98 points)

Barolo Ornato Pio Cesare 2008 (97 points)

Barbaresco Asili Bruno Giacosa 2008 (95 points)

Brunello Di Montalcino La Casa Caparzo 2006 (95 points)

Barolo Rocche Renato Ratti 2008 (95 points)

Feudo Maccari Nero D’Avola Sicilia Saia 2010 (93 points)

Podere Sapaio Bolgheri Superiore Sapaio 2008 (94 points)

The quintissential highlight of our evening was meeting Mr. Suckling and his lovely daughter Isabel. It has become customary for the Red Wine Lovers to read James’ reviews and watch his videos every morning, even before the coffee gets brewing. Mr.Suckling is very inspirational to us and we are very grateful to have attended such an important wine event while meeting some of the most incredible winemakers of all time. We would like to thank James and Andrew McMurray of Zachys for creating such a lovely and well thought -out event. In the words of Mr. Suckling, “Italy is making some of the most soulful, unique and delicious wines in the world. They are made to be consumed and enjoyed with family and friends. It’s part of Italian life and that is simply bellissimo.”