|Cosmo, Mark, Paul, Tony, Joe|
|2008 Case Basse Visit|
Soldera,and his wife Graziella, an avid botanist, first discovered the then-abandoned Case Basse property in the early 1970s. They set about restoring the estate to full function, following a strict and intriguing philosophy of “enlightened agriculture” to create a singular Brunello of the utmost quality.
The estate vineyards, subject of continuous study by the agriculture faculties of various leading universities, are planted within a complex ecosystem ideal for natural cultivation, where fertilization is organic and no herbicides are permitted. The vineyards are small in size in order to permit manual cultivation at all stages, followed by a short harvest. The wines spend six years or more in large, neutral oak casks with minimal rackings before bottling.
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspect of the evening was when Soldera, through his interpreter, spoke about how his bottling techniques and cork quality obviate the need to store his bottles on their side, as is usual for all wines that are aging. He says, “stand them up”. I found this to be very, very interesting.
We were served the 4 wines side by side, thus enabling us to move back and forth between them and assess the wines over the course of the dinner. Dinner was good, but took a back seat to the wines.
2000 Soldera Case Base Brunello di Montalcino Riserva. A difficult year in Tuscany marked by very uneven growing conditions, but in the hands of master like Soldera, he turned out the wine of the vintage. The wine soared from the glass initially, but after an hour it began to run out of gas. A remarkable effort given the vintage, but it lacked the pedigree of the others tonight and will never, in my opinion, reach the heights they are destined to attain.
2006 Soldera Case Basse Toscano Sangiovese. A man of very strong conviction and principals, Soldera resigned from the local Brunello Consorzio over their policies. Beginning with this vintage he now bottles his wine as Toscano Sangiovese, but it is still the same glorious Case Basse Brunello he has always made. This was the tightest wine of the group displaying green notes and somewhat harsh tannins. Ah but the pedigree is fantastic. This is destined to be a marvelous wine. It did begin to show some of its underlying beauty after two hours in the glass. If you open one now, I would definitely decant it for about 4 hours, but I suggest giving it a few more years in the cellar.
2008 Soldera Case Basse Toscano Sangiovese. This is classic Soldera that is still a bit young. Excellent depth and focus that will be enhanced as the fruit begins to fully emerge in a couple more years. I found the finish to be soft, lengthy and elegant. According to Antonio Galloni, “2008 spent 18 months in cask and finished its aging in steel, so it is quite different from virtually every other wine made at Case Basse, but it is drop-dead gorgeous just the same”.
2009 Soldera Case Basse Toscano Sangiovese. While all the wines were great, I fell in love with the 2009. It was simply glorious. The bright, ripe fruit danced on the tongue with soft tannins and wonderful complexity. Delicious now, this is destined to be a monster wine in a year or two. According to Soldera, ‘09 was a difficult vintage. He says he prefers these types of vintages because the wines turn out to be sensational as they take on weight and age.