2012leberne2012 Le Berne, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Tuscany Italy.
I’ve always been a fan of this small winery in Tuscany and their wonderful Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, but this amazingly pure 2012 really lifts it to the next level with graceful layers, bright focused intensity and length making for an extraordinary Sangiovese experience. The 2012 Le Berne is about 90% Prugnolo Gentile or Sangiovese Grosso (Brunello clone) and with small parts Canaiolo Nero, which is widely inter planted through Tuscany and Mommolo the rare Etruscan grape that is in danger of going the way of the Dodo, though has found a home on Corsica, where it is know locally as Sciacarello (Sciacarellu) though thought to have been a native varietal until very recently, it was brought to Corsica by the Etruscans back in the period of 500 to 540 BC. These minor grapes certainly play there part making Vino Nobile stand apart from the varietal pureness of Brunello, but really are Sangiovese driven wines with that rich character with good acids and the Le Berne delivers that classic profile and is uncluttered by oak or extreme ripeness. While the 2011, from a hot vintage was more flamboyant and slightly more dense with a hint of pruney fruit, this 2012 only displays charm, clarity and vitality, it’s gorgeous from start to finish. The 2012 is ruby/garnet in the glass with light floral and tobacco leaf notes on the nose with plenty of red fruits following on entry with a medium full bodied palate giving raspberry, currant, plum and strawberry fruits with cedar spice, subtle earthy tones, new leather and pipe tobacco with sweet tannin allowing for impressive mouth feel, texture and structure, there is a nice mineral note and lively freshness of detail that makes this vintage of Le Berne a winner with robust cuisine. Finishing with black cherry, fig and a light mix of anise/sage, lavender, loam and spicy peppery rose oil. This is drinking lovely right now, but has potential to go for 5 to 10 years with ease, this is a lot of wine for the money. Imported by Siena Imports, the Le Berne made me long to return to Italy and especially those beautiful hill towns of Tuscan which I last visited way too many years ago, Montepulciano and Cortona were my favorites.
($34 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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