It was the last day of VinItaly 2022 and I was steering myself out of one of the 11 gigantic meeting halls when one of my logistics reps called me over to meet his friend Federico and taste his wines. Despite my rather thrashed palate, I obliged and was promptly enthralled, leaving a series of asterisks and exclamation points scribbled alongside various dots of spilled wine. Yes, it had been a long day.
Never one to commit to anything after a long day of tasting, I begged off but made certain to circle back up with Federico and get samples stateside. After re-tasting I determined I was, indeed, of sound mind when I made those scribbles and, after some tough negotiations (these are not inexpensive), committed to a variety of San Felo wines.
The 2016 "Aulus" Cabernet Sauvignon is the flagship offering and the wine that grabbed my attention that day in Verona. Its absolutely palate staining, complex as hell, and drinking beautifully right now. Lots of clean black fruit on the nose, together with light mineral and licorice notes. Medium-bodied with very fine, fruit-coated tannins and a medium-long, fruity finish. Very pleasant cab for drinking now. Its has tons of great reviews and is considered one of the finer Cabernet's of the region: 92/100 James Suckling: 94/100 Guida Oro I Vini di Veronelli 2023 – Tre Stelle Oro (highest rating but no tasting notes) 93/100 WinesCritic.com Raffele Vecchione (no access to tasting notes) 91/100 Falstaff: Full, intense ruby with garnet highlights. Voluminous on the nose with aromas of rich blackcurrant, cloves, black tea, plus saddle leather. The palate displays a beautiful interplay of firm, grippy tannins and striking acidity making it a pleasant drink, fine fruit on the finish.
Deep garnet with a deep ruby center. Darkly fruited on the nose with wood resin and violots haloing a black plum and black cherry core. Scorched earth, licorice notes and the leather, cedar and tobacco trifecta (I love this combo in a wine - kinda like carrots, onions and celery) complex the bouquet with air - years of bottle age have beautifully refined the bouquet. Firm and bone-dry on the palate yet fleshy now from the bottle age with intense red fruits and velvety tannins making for a sappy and energetic midpalate that finishes with a palate-staining intensity. The fruit, mineral, and tannin are in all the right places, wonderfully melded together and harmonious now with Italian rusticity through and through. Decant for a couple hours or, my favorite, the 24-hour decant.
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from estate vineyards 450-500 feet elevation. Sandy soils with sandstone skeleton
Stainless steel ferment, then 24-months in barrel and one year in bottle before release. 14% alc. 150 cases imported