Monday, November 12, 2012

Casalferro Falls Short

Ciao tutti!

Slowly, finally, life has returned to normal and with the cleanup from Sandy firmly underway and the cable back just in time for the NFL Sunday, we opened a current release Super Tuscan from Barone Ricasoli's Castello di Brolio estate. 

I've enjoyed Casalferro for decades - the 1999 was especially good after a long slumber in the cellar. In the past Casalferro has been 100% Sangiovese, however, I wonder if that's the case with current vintages as my note below explains. The wine has always been affordable, not quite commanding the attention or price of it's Super Tuscan siblings.  Things changed with this wine in 2007, from price, to packaging and style.  Not for the better. 

The 2007 Castello di Brolio Casalferro has been completely redone in style, label, and even the bottle shape - from a standard Bordeaux to a more Haut Brion shaped bottle - the look of the wine has been completely transformed.  In the glass, the wine is a dark crimson, trending toward black. The nose is somewhat shy of fruit, but there are black fruits in the background, traced with fresh, green herbs.  The issue I have is that the fore is dominated by vanilla, raw wet lumber, and toasty oak.  Such is the case on the palate. The wine is heavy with oak, almost to the point of obscuring the fruit and clearly diminishing it's appeal.  There's an herbal green streak throughout that reminds me of underripe Merlot. The result is a generic "dark fruit" wine that is unrecognizable as Tuscan.  Perhaps with the drastic packaging alterations, this winemaking shift was intentional.  I certainly do not recall older vintages of Casalferro showing this amount of oak or tasting green.

To go along with all this, the wine has increased in price, from the low to mid $30's to the mid $40's.  Given what's in the bottle, I can't recommend this even if the price had stayed the same.  Pity.  83 points, about $45.

2007 Castello di Brolio Casalferro


  1. I'm puzzled how you expect your reviews of wines to be taken seriously when you can't even get the varietal correct. I have no idea if past vintages of this wine were actually 100% Sangiovese or not. However, it took me less than a minute to check the Ricasoli website and discover this wine is 100% Merlot. Knowing that would have explained why you thought it tasted like underripe Merlot. Hmmmm, maybe because it is?

  2. So what's your point? Let's see. I never say above that I knew what the blend of this wine was. So nothing I stated was incorrect. My note is almost a year old now. Back then, the data wasn't available on the Ricasoli website, nor was it on the bottle or made available to me by the importer; who refused comment prior to the publication of the review.

    And yet, my note is spot on - having essentially nailed the varietal based on the flavor and aromatic profile of the wine - all the while not knowing what the wine was made of. I think that speaks volumes as to whether someone should take the review seriously or not.

    Thanks for reading and for your attempt at insightful participation.