Paolo Bea Rosso de Veo 2015


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“The 2015 Rosso de Veo is monstrously intense yet wonderfully balanced, showing masses of crushed black cherry, balsamic spice, stone dust and wild, exotic florals on the nose. Velvety textures give way to ripe red and blue berries with a spicy-citrus twang, backed by stimulating acids, as saline-minerality saturates under a coating of liquid violets. This finishes long, staining the palate with fruit concentrate and grippy tannins, yet considering how structured this is, there’s a balance here that provides plenty of pleasure already. This is simply gorgeous and has a very bright future ahead of it. Drinking window: 2022-2032. 93 points

Giampiero and Giuseppe Bea continue to work their five hectares of vineyards by hand, choosing to use only one-third of their 15-hectare property for grape production even though they could easily continue planting to expand. Their vineyards occupy the higher elevations of Montefalco terroir, reaching up to 500 meters above sea level. The Beas don’t label themselves organic or biodynamic; they simply farm the way their family did long before herbicides and pesticides were developed, depending on biodiversity and Mother Nature’s fertilizers to deliver a transparent representation of each vintage. In the winery, gentle macerations and slow fermentations can last from three weeks to as many as seven before the wine is placed into steel tanks for a year to rest. For the bigger reds, this is followed by refinement in large Slavonian oak for up to three years. At this point, the wines are bottled without filtration and little, if any, added sulfur, and then left to rest for another year or more. Giampiero Bea will tell you that he sells his wines when they are “ready,” but when dealing with a grape as naturally high in tannin as Sagrantino, you have to take that with a grain of salt. The most recent releases include the long-awaited 2015 Riserva Pipparello, a wine that is typically released before the Sagrantino Pagliaro (which came out in early 2020) but was held back until now. This blend of Sangiovese, Montepulciano and Sagrantino has become a perennial favorite of mine. It’s typically a wine of power yet also grace, with the potential to mature for well over a decade, and the 2015 is no different. Another recent release is the 2012 Sagrantino Cerrete, which hails from poor mineral-rich soils in the highest elevation-vineyard planted to Sagrantino in Montefalco, at up to 500 meters. This is a wine that trades power for grace yet will last for ages. It will also take many years to come fully into form. But that’s okay, because you can always occupy yourself with the more lightly structured, young-vines Sagrantinos, the 2015 Rosso de Veo or the 2015 San Valentino, which is a sexy blend of Sangiovese, Montepulciano and Sagrantino intended for early consumption. Keep in mind with the wines of Paolo Bea that there is the risk of bottle variation and volatile acidity, which I’ve encountered on more than one occasion. For me, each great experience with these wines outweighs the letdowns.”

Eric Guido, Vinous (08/21)