Tenuta San Leonardo 2016


Sold Out

“Another year in bottle has added unexpected depths and dimension to the 2016 San Leonardo. lt wafts up with an alluring bouquet of smoky black currant and plum skins, complicated by savory herbs, hints of white pepper and fresh tobacco. Its hard chiseled edges have formed into smooth contours now, velvety yet youthfully dense, washing mineral encased dark red and black berries across a core of brisk acidity as a combination of saline-minerals and grippy tannins add tension toward the close. This finishes incredibly long yet also structured, begging for time in the cellar, as hints of licorice and earth tones grumble under an air of inner violet florals. The potential within the 2016 San Leonardo is off the charts, yet it will require a good amount of time to come fully into focus. Bury your bottles deep. Drinking window: 2026-2040. 96 points

It’s hard to understand just how unique the wines of San Leonardo are, until you see just how unique their location is. Traveling north through Trentino, up from Lake Garda, the valley narrows, with vines that seem to span out directly from the autostrada on both sides and run uphill until they meet the forests at the top. After exiting the main road, and after a few very sharp turns, you arrive at the gates of San Leonardo. Over 1000 years ago, the main building was a monastery, yet for the last three centuries it’s been the home of the Marchesi Guerrieri Gonzaga family. The detailed history of the estate was explained in my piece, “The Grand Vin of the North: San Leonardo.” However, to experience the sight of it is something totally different. The oldest vines of the estate, trained using the pergola system, grow in deep sandy soils on the hills surrounding the winery, soils that were deposited by the Adige River over millennia. As you move further uphill (or shall I say up the mountain), you find stony soils of carbonate rock and limestone, with current plantings using the Guyot training system. This is where Anselmo Guerrieri Gonzaga, the current managing generation, believes that the future of San Leonardo exists, especially due to the onset of global warming. The winery continues to plant at higher elevations, with four new hectares in place, and another three-hectare vineyard being constructed. At this time, the property consists of a total of 30 hectares, all of which are farmed using organic principles. On the topic of change, another progression here is the slow introduction of tonneaux, as opposed to barrique in the aging of San Leonardo’s top reds. However, even the barrique aging consists of a maximum of 20% new wood. It’s going to be very interesting to watch this property progress over the coming years. They’ve already established themselves as one of the top producers of northern Italian Bordeaux blends. San Leonardo also delivers a ridiculous amount of value through their second wine, the Terre di San Leonardo, and their old-vine, varietal Carménère, while very limited, just keeps getting better and better. Frankly speaking, it’s great to witness such a long-lived traditional estate having such an open-minded and progressive view.”

Eric Guido, Vinous (06/22)