Easter Wines by San Leonardo

Owner David Lapsley, Etive Restaurant Oban

Etive Restaurant, Oban, 43 Stevenson Street, PA345NA

With the winter period officially over and the arrival of Spring us restauranteurs and foodies alike can rejoice in a season that brings us fantastic produce to creat dishes with and enjoy in lovely sunny afternoons and the ever stretching evenings. With seasonal greens that are packed full of antioxidants to get us over the winter doldrums and the period of excessive eating and drinking we have just endured it is time for freshness, vibrancy and lightness. The wines chosen here are perfectly suited to the season, as separately they compliment the fresh seafood, in season lamb and even the rich vegetables we will see on dishes over the next 8 weeks or so.

San Leonardo can be found north of Verona and to the east of Lake Garda in the Alto Adige region of Northern Italy on the grounds of an old Monastery, with gardens well suited to spring. The wines they produce are like Spring itself, fresh, harmonious and with an affordable elegance.
The two real stars of the vineyards range are the Vette – Sauvignon Blanc and the more age worthy and self titled San Leonardo. These wines both bring superb quality and vast experience from the winemakers and the tradition of this great site.

Vette – Sauvignon Blanc
Everything that comes off this wine is born out of the way the grapes are grown, a freshness and minerality that is a sensory joy to behold and when paired with what I feel works best, Etive restaurants dish of Pan fried Halibut with Barra landed cockles, spring cabbage and purple sprouting broccoli, it is a food wine match worth writing about.
From young vines aged around six to fifteen years old grown over volcanic soil the minerality profile starts here, after hand picking the juice spends its time in stainless steel tanks where the freshness is kept intact. All this and more comes to the fore when tasting this great wine, a delightfully straw-yellow colour brightens the glass and the aromatic profile jumps out at you, like a herb garden with noticeable bursts of white flowers and peach. On the palate the wine is certainly dry but key to its food matching a prominent acidity is also present. In drinking it is like a mix of Sancerre with a classic Marlborough Sauvignon. A real affordable elegance that in a wine store you should find it anywhere from £12-£16 and in a restaurant £25-£30 a bottle.

Tenuta San Leonardo
Vigneti delle Dolomiti
Trentino – 2011
There are few producers who are so consistent in what they produce that excellence echos through their wines, San Leonardo is one and the self titled expression is such a wine that you cannot dismiss when going for something special, for me it surpasses many Bourdeaux’s and I hold high in my thoughts as a really great wine. The 2011 Vintage San Leonardo (Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère and Merlot) is no different, with a warmer season this bright red and garnet wine sees a slightly higher profile of the darker fruits with blackberry taking a somewhat starring role, the bouquet is certainly intense and warming with real leathery, tobacco notes exuberantly coming through. As with the aroma the palate is very warming, round and well balanced, paired with Lamb rack served on Petit pois you cannot go wrong but I would seriously consider this vintage for ageing, I may even leave a case in the cellar for a few more years and see just how well this develops. You will see this coming on the shelves in your local wine merchants at around £45-£55 and in a restaurant you will probably be looking around the £75+ if you can find a Sommelier who really knows what they have at their disposal.