James Suckling Tasting – Another hit!

We made it again. Mr. J. Suckling has tasted Leuta wines for the fourth year and we are getting good reviews and good points, actually we are somehow improving.

LEUTA TOSCANA TAU
Italy – Tuscany – 2013 94

Tau 12

A tangy red with dried cherry, chocolate and cedar character. Medium to full body, ultra-fine tannins and a refined, lightly velvety textured finish. A cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah blend. Drink now or hold.

LEUTA TOSCANA LEUTA NAUTILUS SINGLE BARREL SELECT
Italy – Tuscany – 2014  93

Nautilus 12

The nose is defined by plenty of ripe strawberry character as well as cherry essence, lavender and crushed violets. Full body, round tannins and a ripe yet uplifted finish. Seriously delightful. Drink now.

LEUTA SYRAH 1,618 DOC CORTONA
Italy – Tuscany – 2013  92

A soft and velvety red with plum and vanilla. Medium to full body and a savory finish. I like the underlying acidity. Drink now.

LEUTA CORTONA MERLOT 1,618
Italy – Tuscany – 2013  92

Merlot 750

A linear and fine-grained red with plum, coffee and chocolate character. Medium body, silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Drink now.

LEUTA SOLITARIO DI LEUTA SANGIOVESE DOC CORTONA
Italy – Tuscany – 2013  89

A juicy and light bodied red with plum, orange peel and light vanilla character. Medium body. Drink now.

LEUTA CABERNET FRANC TOSCANA 2,618
Italy – Tuscany – 2014  89

Cabernet Franc 2013

A slightly lifted nose with a light body and plenty of cherry fruits. Drink now

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Ecological Footprint!

At Leuta we strive to have a low carbon footprint, as low as we possibly can. Recently on one of our cellar tours and tastings, we had a visit from a couple from California. They were traveling in Italy and, luckily enough, they stopped by to visit us. We had a chance to speak with them about my wines, Leuta’s philosophy, as well as many other topics beyond the world of wine. As many of you know, we are very concerned about the environment and we do our best to keep Leuta as clean as possible. It turned out that Clay and Ariane were involved in a similar endeavor to ours here. We had a wonderful chat about everything relating to nature, and beyond. Ariane, an artist, writer, and novelist, just launched a new website www.goavap.com which is full of interesting ideas. We decided to write something to highlight what we do at Leuta on a daily basis to be as environmentally invisible as possible.

  1. ORGANIC

Leuta, since is foundation in Y2K, has adopted a clean approach to agriculture. Since the very beginning we have been fully Organic and we are now entering the process to become certified. We didn’t feel the need to do this previously because a few years ago we were so small that we knew all of our customers and there was an inherent trust of what we were doing. Over time Leuta grew and now we are shipping wines in places where we are not yet known so we decided to have the organic certification in order to have everybody understand our philosophy and practices.

2. VEGAN

Since the 2005 vintage, Leuta adopted a vegan approach to vinification. We have never used products of animal origin in any processes related to wine making. Products such as albumin, casein, and isinglass and many other have never entered the production cycle.  We are now approaching step 2 of the vegan protocol. Soon we are going to eliminate the use of every other material needed in the vineyard/cellar such as leather gloves, leather boots and so on in order to be even less invasive on the environment. Only one more step will remain to be done in the future, regarding which we are still searching for a solution. At present, we use some organic manure to emend the soil and we haven’t yet found a product able to substitute for cow manure, but we will continue to search and I am sure that sooner or later something will be available. A natural approach is becoming more and more important every day and so I am confident that the market will make something available in the near future.

3. ENERGY

Regarding clean energy Leuta has adopted a two prong approach. Since we have two production sites, vineyards and cellar which are intertwined we were forced to split our approach. In the cellar, since we are renting the space at present, we just recently made an agreement with www.lifegate.it  a company that guarantees to produce energy only from environment friendly resources. For the vineyard, which we fully own, we are building a little photovoltaic facility that will be more than enough to provide the energy we need. We still need to find a solution for the night hours, during which of course we cannot produce our energy. We are working on it right now and we are confident that the solution will present itself soon.

4. PACKAGING

Regarding packaging things are a bit more complicated. We just recently made an agreement with a labeling company and we will be using, starting vintage 2015 bottling, paper Favini Crush which is FSC certified, GMO free, contains 30% post-consumer recycled waste and is produced with EKOenergy, resulting in a 20% reduction in carbon footprint. Both the production process and the product are protected by European patent. Corks, bottles and sleeves are already certified for vegan use. The next step will be to use even environmentally-friendly cardboard for our boxes. We are currently evaluating some options and we will choose the one that can guarantee the lowest environmental impact

5. GREEN BUILDING

Green Building will be in a foreseeable future the approach that Leuta will adopt to build both the new cellar and the new house in the middle of our vineyard. The project is under way but it will take few more years before we will begin actual construction. The idea is again the one that is oriented to avoid an excess of stress of the environment. It will be our priority to keep all of you posted on what we keep on doing at Leuta to deliver to our worldwide clients even better and cleaner wines to satisfy not only your senses but also your emotions, always keeping in mind that where there is a will there is a way.

Cortona June 2017 – DLZ –

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Leesburg – Virginia

Great venue yesterday in Leesburg. Thanks to Glen, Gale, Craig and my great assistant Marla. I enjoyed very much to spend a wonderful evening with my friends and I had the chance to meet some very nice people. I hope everybody enjoyed the time they spend with me and my wines. Thanks to Chef Daniela as well, a nice touch of Italy in Virginia, another ambassador of my beloved country. Thank you to Kay for introducing me to some interesting Californian Chardonnay, she is trying, with some success, to make me change my mind about those wines ;-).

img_6671img_6673img_6678

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Leuta Wines USA Tasting Tour

Hello everybody here you can follow my trip to USA.

– January 11th through 15th: VIRGINIA

– January 16th through 19th: GEORGIA

– January 20th through 21st: VIRGINIA

– January 22nd through 27th: GEORGIA

– January 28th: NORTH CAROLINA

– January 29th through February 3rd: FLORIDA

– February 4th through 9th: MISSOURI

– February 10th through 11th: KANSAS

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James Suckling Evaluation

Another year has gone and we are now back with the tasting made by the most important wine experts. We start this little journey with Mr. J. Suckling. He has tasted Leuta wines for the third year and we are getting good reviews and good points.

LEUTA TOSCANA LEUTA NAUTILUS SINGLE BARREL SELECT
Italy – Tuscany – 2012  93

Nautilus 12

This is wonderfully soft and caressing on the palate with ripe plum and berry character, plus hints of chocolate. Full body, long and flavorful. Drink or hold.

LEUTA TOSCANA TAU
Italy – Tuscany – 2012  91

Tau 12

A delicious blend that delivers plenty of spice, dried fruit and berry aromas and flavors. Full body, silky tannins and a crisp finish. Lightly austere tannins. Drink or hold.

LEUTA CORTONA MERLOT 1618
Italy – Tuscany – 2012  91

Merlot 750

Aromas of lightly cooked fruit, tobacco, green olives and and herbs follow through to a full body, soft and velvety tannins and a savory finish. Delicious finish of fruit and leafs.

 

LEUTA CABERNET FRANC TOSCANA 2618
Italy – Tuscany – 2013  91

Cabernet Franc 2013

Subtle and fruity cabernet franc with chocolate, berry and hints of almond aromas and flavors. Medium body, firm tannins and a fresh finish. Drink now.

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My Little Tuscany in USA I

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SANGIOVESE

Sangiovese’s long history is closely tied to that of Italy itself. To analyze Sangiovese from a historical point of view, it is necessary to consider two important elements – the myth of the origin of its name, and its typicality.

MITH. Myths are created by societies to give a particular significance to the phenomena and events they experience. The myth related to Sangiovese revolves around the origin of its name. Many hypothesis connect the name Sangiovese to blood, the symbol most closely linked to wine. Roma mythology made Jupiter a powerful God – the name “Sanguis Jovis” /Blood of Jupiter was most likely bestowed on the wine. Others connect the name to the idea that it was “good for the blood” – a belief strongly held among some traditional Tuscan families to this day.

Yet it is the Etruscans who early on make wine an integral part of their celebrations and rituals. Even though we do not have a complete understanding of the Etruscan language, we know that the word “vinum” forms part of it, as does the word “sanisva”/ father or ancestor., The latter is very similar to a dialect word used in Romagna “sanzvè” or Sangiovese. No wonder that to these days, Tuscany and Romagna argue about what should be the real birthplace of Sangiovese.

TYPICALITY. Typicality is a wide concept whose story and tradition go back more than 6000 years. It is strictly linked to the territory, the production style and to the point in time and its social context. Wine is a product with a strong typicality, and as such includes both tangible and intangible features. Consumers of wine then and now acquire more than simple tangible aspects of the wine. They often associate the drinking of wine with special occasions or rituals seeking the notion that they are enjoying quality product by which a variety of emotions can be experienced.

 

TYPICALITY I. Prior to 1500, there is no written mention of Sangiovese. The first to write about Sangiovese is Gioanvettorio Soderini in his book “Trattato sulla coltivazione delle viti” Firenze 1590. In his work Soderini testifies, “Sangiogheto is a juicy and full wine that never fails”. Later on, Cosimo Trinci from Pistoia in his “Agricoltore sperimentato” – Lucca 1726 – says that “San Zoveto is a grape of beautiful quality and very abundant”. Cosimo Villifranchi in his “Oenology Toscana” defines San Gioveto as the most important grape variety present in the best of Tuscan wines. While in Tuscany a few authors write about Sangiovese, in Romagna, where there is no written records, the name Sangiovese frequently appears in oral literature and performances. During the 18th century, the evidence of Sangiovese grows more abundant. Countless are the authors who consider Sangiovese the king of the Tuscan grape variety, and names such as Montalcino, Montepulciano appear as the territory of great quality. In its long history Prugnolo, Brunello and Sangiovese are studied and analyzed first as separate varieties than as having a common ancestor. It is Apelle Dei, Secretary of the Ampelographical Commission of the Siena Province, who in 1876 affirms that the three names actually refer to the same variety and that the variety is Sangiovese. In the following decades the variety, whether called Sangiovese, San Gioveto, Brunello, Prugnolo or even other names, is steadily and continuously cited everywhere, and it is in the forefront of every improvement applied to wineries and in vineyards both in Tuscany and in Romagna. It appears crystal clear that the territorial typicality of Sangiovese is linked to Tuscany and Romagna the core from which progressively moves to the neighboring regions of Marche, Umbria, Abruzzo and Lazio

TYPICALITY II. Having reviewed typicality in the context territorial origins, it is necessary to look at the one related to the vinification practices. Initially, only in Romagna, the wine is vinified as 100% Sangiovese, while in Tuscany it is blended with other varieties.   Cosimo Trinci notes that the Sangiovese vinified alone is “a bit too stiff but it expresses itself much better when blended with other varieties”; Villafranchi adds that Sangiovese “gives more body to much lighter varieties”. Typically for those times, it is blended with Canaiolo, Colore, Trebbiano and Malvasia. Bettino Ricasoli, most likely the inventor of Chianti, writes in 1872 that there is a need make a perfect Chianti.  His includes 7 parts of San Gioveto, 2 parts of Canaiolo and 1 part of Malvasia.  More importantly, he clearly explains the beneficial aspect of every single variety in the blend – San Gioveto forms the most interesting part of the bouquet and gives vigor; Canaiolo provides amiability that softens the harshness of San Gioveto without altering the bouquet; and Malvasia lightens the taste and makes the wine ready to be drunk. From then on, Sangiovese comes to the forefront of the oenological panorama of Tuscany. Again, it is Ricasoli that gives a key boost to the quality of the wines based on Sangiovese by starting a varietal selection that highlights the best clones of the variety. Among the vine species of Italy, Sangiovese has a prominent position within the many internationally known DOC, DOCG and IGT wines. It is characterized by a great heterogeneity.   It is often given a different name depending on the area where it is grown – in Montepulciano, Sangiovese is called Prugnolo and forms the base of “Vino Nobile di Montepulciano”; in Montalcino it is called Brunello as in “Brunello di Montalcino”; in Scansano, it is called Morellino as in “Morellino di Scansano“; in Carmignano, it is called “Carmignano”, but its most common name is still Sangiovese as it is in the Chianti area, Arezzo, Cortona and many other locations in Tuscany. Abroad, mainly in California and in two French departments, Sangiovese has been planted since 1990.

The origin of the most vine varieties cultivated in Europe “Vitis vinifera” is still partially unknown. As far as we know, the first attempt to cultivate vines occurred in the Caucasian region some 7000 years ago, and from there it moved to Greece and to the Mediterranean. It was only with at the time of the Roman Empire that the vines spread all over Europe. For the last 20-30 years, there have been many attempts to find a genetical origin of Sangiovese. It was only in 1996 that Vignani et al determine its monoclonal origin using the method of microcrystals to study the clones. The presence of some clones not related to the monoclonal origin makes many to believe in a polyclonal origin of the variety, an aspect confirmed by the high phenotypical variability of Sangiovese. Over the centuries, the polyclonal origin creates an ample genetical base where multiple genetic mutations and interactions with the environment significantly widen the variability. In particular, the differences noted are significant where a variety has been cultivated for long time in a territory with climatic variations. That variability is further enhanced by the selective application of different production objectives.

Today, according to the most recent data available, “IV Censimento Generale dell’Agricoltura del 1990″, Sangiovese occupies 11% of the total Italian vine-growing area. In Tuscany, the area with the highest distribution, it represents half of the regional vine-growing area. It is authorized in 16 Italian provinces, recommended in 56, and in 2 French departments of Haute Corse and Corse du Sud“. It has a significant presence in California and in France, while in other world regions like Chile, it is marginal. In Italy it represents 12,4% of DOC and DOCG wine production; it is used in the production of some 388 DOC, DOGC, IGT wines and in the composition of 182 DOC wines with a percentage varying from 15% to 100%. In Tuscany, the most prestigious wines are based on Sangiovese like Brunello di Montalcino, Carmignano, Chianti, Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepucliano and Morellino di Scansano. It makes a significant contribution to the production of many high quality IGT Toscana wines known as Supertuscans.

In conclusion, it appears that Sangiovese has an exceptional relevance both in Italian and in the world’s viticulture. Being initially a variety mainly cultivated in Italy, its importance has now spread even to the most recent vine-growing areas thanks to its characteristics of great value. It produces wines of very high quality, great structure and complexity even without blending it with other international varieties to enhance its aromatic spectrum.

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James Suckling Leuta tasting notes!

Another year has gone and we are now back with the tasting made by the most important wine experts. We start this little journey with Mr. J. Suckling. He has tasted Leuta wines for te second year and we are getting good reviews and good points. From the last tasting, done in 2013, all our wines has improved the ratings, we are not at the top of the iceberg yet, but we are definitely working our way up.

NautilusTau 2011Syrah 2011etichetta 1,618 Merlot Cortona_2008tpSolitario 2010Cabernet 2011

LEUTA TOSCANA LEUTA NAUTILUS SINGLE BARREL SELECT

Italy – Tuscany – 2011  92

A beautiful, juicy red with plum, chocolate and berry character. Full and velvety-textured. Savory finish. I like the almost salty undertone to the ripe-cherry character.

LEUTA TOSCANA TAU
Italy – Tuscany – 2011  92

A wonderfully floral bouquet of roses and lavender with hints of raspberries. A juicy, succulent full body enveloped by velvety tannins before a sophisticated finish. The use of barrique comes across nicely but not too much. A very well-made, sexy wine.

LEUTA CORTONA SYRAH 0,618
Italy – Tuscany – 2011  92

Bing cherry, strawberry preserve, caramel, salted chocolate, roasted espresso, spice, custard, camp fire and incense. Full-bodied, modern style.

LEUTA CORTONA MERLOT 1618
Italy – Tuscany – 2009  92

Richly perfumed with cherry cola, herbs and spices. Medium-bodied with a silky texture, a generous oak frame and a chewy tannin finish.

Solitario di Leuta Sangiovese
Italy – Tuscany – 2010  91

Zesty nose of braised beef, cherry flambé and shaved chocolate. A dynamic medium-bodied wine with nice grip, structure and balance.

LEUTA CABERNET FRANC TOSCANA 2618
Italy – Tuscany – 2011  90

A ripe and slightly raisiny red with refined tannins and a juicy finish. More Loire-style than Bordeaux.

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2014 Harvest – some color –

Vigna gialla panorama

Hello everybody, sorry for having been away for so long. September is harvest time for us and so I was incredibly busy processing the grapes.

2014 has been a very difficult year in Italy. We had a lot of rain in Spring and in early Summer. I was kind of worried all Summer and it was only in August that I finally felt a little bit happier. August was definitely much better, weather-wise, and we did (as always) a significant green harvest leaving on the plants only one bunch for every branch. It is a very useful process, resulting in more concentration in the remaining bunches, and ultimately the ones that will be going into our winemaking process.

green harvest before green harvest after

Anyway, even though the season recovered a little bit it was a kind of late harvest compared to the previous vintages. We did our picking for Vin Santo in late September and soon after we started to harvest the varieties for the reds.

Uva Vin Santo

As in our tradition we only bring in the top quality grapes, the rest is normally sold to other wineries or tilled into the soil to make compost.

I can easily say now, after I have processed  all my grapes, that it will be a great year for Cabernet Franc. I am really impressed. Potentially it could be my best Cabernet Franc ever made, so far….. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for Syrah, even getting in only the best bunches, I was badly disappointed by the average quality of the wine that resulted after the fermentation. Of course I could intervene much more intensively in the wine but, as you all know, I do not like to be aggressive in the winemaking process; if the wine is not already in the grapes………. It is very likely I will not make a 100% Syrah in 2014, I am sorry to all of you but Leuta 0,618 Syrah Cortona Doc 2014 will not be made. Regarding Sangiovese and Merlot I am pretty satisfied, it will be another good year!

D.Z.

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Leuta at Merano Wine Festival

Hello everyone.

For the 5th year in a row Leuta wines has been selected to be part of one of the most exclusive wine events in Italy, the Merano Wine Festival! This exclusive wine event will be held in Merano from 8th to 10th of november 2014. It is a very important wine exhibition and Leuta is proud to have been a part of it since our first vintage in 2005.

This year Leuta won the following awards from Merano Wine Festival judges:

Leuta 0,618 Syrah DOC Cortona 2011: Gold medal with more than 90 points!

Leuta 1,618 Merlot DOC Cortona 2009: Gold medal with more than 90 points!

Merano 2014

I hope to see all of you at our stand in Merano this November.

Also, more great news for Leuta, in a recent Cabernet Tasting in France, Leuta 2,618 Cabernet Franc 2010 Igt Toscana won a gold medal.

Concorso Cabernet 2014

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