Vinitaly offers more than any one person could hope to explore, so I generally decide to concentrate on one or two wines -- Lagrein this year, and I'm typing up the notes now -- and spend the rest of the time visiting people I know, who have caught my attention, or who have been suggested by friends.
Livernano falls into this latter class; the estate was bought a number of years ago by Bob and Gudrun Cuillo, who spend much of their time producing shows on Broadway and in many other parts of the world, but decided they wanted a hideaway in Tuscany (can one blame them?) and settled on Radda.
Though they do work in the vineyards themselves, they have also availed themselves of the services of Stefano Chioccioli as consulting enologist, and work with Marina Thompson when it comes to marketing their wines. She asked me if I could stop by their stand, I did. A nice stop, and here we are.
Livernano Chianti Classico 2005
Barrel sample, it will be lot 0703
80% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot. Deep ruby with some almandine in the rim. The bouquet is powerful, with what will be nice balance, though the oak is a bit more pronounced now -- one expects this in a barrel sample. On the palate it's full and smooth, with fairly rich red berry fruit whose acidity (the 05 vintage tends to be acidic) comes through tempered by oak, and flows into a fairly soft finish. It's promising, and will be graceful in a fairly modern key; I especially liked the acidity, which provides life and direction. Expect it to age well for 5-8 years.
Livernano Chianti Classico 2004
Deep cherry ruby with almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, and a bit brighter than that of the 04 Casalvento, with warmer spice and red berry fruit mingled with cedar and fairly brght acidity that's temprered by some bitter overtones. On the palate it's rich, and fresh, with bright berry fruit supported by tannins that are warm and have a youthful cedary burr and flow into a warm fruit finish with smoky overtones. It's scrappy and quite young; it will drink well with foods, especially grilled meats -- flavorful red meats including lamb chops, for example, but will profit from another year in bottle, and age well for 6-8 years. In the proper setting it will go very fast.
Livernano Chianti Classico Riserva 2004
Deep pigeon blood ruby with lively cherry rim. The bouquet is still shut tight, though swishing brings up alcohol and some vegetal note. It's not happy about being in the bottle, but that will change with time. On the palate it's full, with fairly rich berry fruit supported by cedar-laced tannins, while direction comes from moderate acidity, that also helps hold it together. It's good, but was in a down phase when I tasted it, and needs a year to get its act together. Expect it to be quite elegant with time, and work nicely with red meats. But do give it the time it needs, 2-3 years, and expect it to age well for 8-10.
Livernano Puro Sangue IGT Toscana 2003
Lot 06 001
This is a Sangiovese; it's deep ruby with cherry rim. The bouquet is rich, with sour berry fruit and alcoholic warmth laced with some greenish notes -- there are none of the jammy notes one often finds in 2003 wines, and this is because they're at 550 m, about as high as vineyards get in Chianti. Nice, in a bright, zesty key. On the palate it's full and bright, with rich brambly red berry fruit supported by lively acidity and clean sweet tannins that have a haunting greenish cast to them. Very young, and will do interesting things over the next decade, though it will be nice now with a thick porterhouse cut.
The Cuillos also own Casalvento, also in Radda:
Casalvento Chianti Classico 2005
Barrel sample, it will be lot 07/02
80% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet. Deep pigeon blood ruby with cherry rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with bright red berry fruit supported by some herbal notes; it's promising for a barrel sample. On the palate it's full, rich, and fruit driven, with powerful red berry fruit supported by clean sweet tannins that have graphite overtones and flow into a clean mineral finish. Promising, and I expect it to become quite graceful with time. It will age well for 5-8 years.
Casalvento Chianti Classico 2004
Deep pigeon blood ruby with cherry rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with cherry fruit laced with bitter herbal notes and some spice mingled with sea salt and spice; nice balance but developing. On the palate it's deft, with elegant slightly bitter red berry fruit supported by peppery spice and clean vegetal notes -- the Cabernet -- while the tannins are ample and clean, and lead into a cleans lightly bitter peppery finish. Elegant, and will work quite well with foods, from grilled meats through roasts, and one could drink it now, though it will reward those blessed with the patience to give it a couple of years.
For more information, check their website, http://www.livernano.it/v2/content.php?lang=en
Almost Wordless Wednesday: Between Here And There - I took this shot during the Pelleginaggio Artusiano in the spring of 2011. The mirror is somewhere between Castrocaro Terme and Portico di Romagna (on the ...
4 years ago