Leuta 2013 Syrah Cortona
There are days when you just have to say, “I love my life!!” The wine tasting I went to last night gave me great reason to say so. The owner/winemaker of Leuta Winery in Cortona, Italy, Denis Zeni, was in town looking to move his distribution further west than the Northeastern restaurants that currently purchase much of his export wine to the United States. My life was further rewarded when I found that Leuta Wines grow Syrah and have a 100% Syrah in their portfolio (see my blog post The Rise(?) of Italian Syrah). And even further upping my happiness ante, Denis makes kvevri wines with vines originating from Georgia (formerly of the Soviet Union). Most people have heard of wines made in clay amphora (kvevri), but they are few and far between. I had only recently read an in-depth article about this type of winemaking in Georgia and Portugal… and found it providence that I would meet a winemaker a week later employing similar methods for some of his very special wines. Another future treat!!
Good wines are best served with good stories. Denis knows that and he told his story well. He grew up and spent large portions of his life with his grandfather in Trentino. His grandfather was a farmer of both food crops and grapes for wine. His passion was for the wine. He passed away and the land was sold. Denis went into economics, banking, and investments for many years, but his spare time was spent pursuing his fascination with grape growing and winemaking in each hemisphere and many countries. He eventually purchased the Cortona land that is now Leuta Winery and he is the hands-on decision maker, charting the course of his vineyards. Denis explains that he chose the soil, the layout of his vineyards, the concentration of plantings, the winery equipment and how the grapes are grown, harvested and how wines are made. Super organically, I might add!! Denis is also working on making the process vegan, as well.
So, how good were the wines?? They were Very Good!!!!! I am the frugal wine drinker, but I had no problem purchasing Leuta wines. I am looking forward to the delivery of his Syrah, Sangiovese and Cab Franc. The wines are very clean and modern in the best of ways. New French oak is used judiciously, so these wines are not reeking of toasted vanilla. The 2013 Leuta Syrah Cortona was big on blackberry, dark plum, pepper and spice with a little fresh potting soil. The wine was refreshing. I thought the Leuta Merlot was excellent, but I kept returning to the Syrah to freshen my palate and indulge my myself again!! The Leuta Sangiovese was my second favorite — well crafted and elegant.
My thanks to Bill & Stephanie Lloyd for including us in your gathering and to Christin Hartung for being a lovely hostess. Leuta Wines have a wine club (a very wise business plan) that has nice benefits, especially if you are in the Cortona area. I think Denis picked up quite a few new members (as he should!) from this gathering! Check out the website leuta-wines-cortona.com Although Leuta is a small, boutique, estate winery, you will see that Denis has used his business background to promote his beautiful wines in a very organized, user-friendly way. As an American capitalist… I love it.