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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Nicholas Belfrage MW & Franco Ziliani

The San Leonardo estate in southern Trentino may not enjoy quite the international renown of Sassicaia, the archetypal SuperTuscan from the Maremma, but they have several points in common. Both wines seek to out-claret claret, using Bordeaux grapes with ageing in high-quality French barriques. In many markets they work with the same importer - in the UK, for instance, John Armit Wines - and for many years they also shared the oenological consultancy of the legendary Giacomo Tachis. Now that Tachis has departed, with, to quote owner Marchese Carlo Guerrieri Gonzaga, profound and sincere gratitude for his many years of dedicated and outstanding service to the San Leonardo winery', his place has been taken by the scarcely less illustrious Carlo Ferrini. A Florentine who, as Gallo Nero's technical director, first came to prominence as the instigator of the Chianti Classico 2000 project, Ferrini has for several years served as advisor to estates such as Castello di Brolio, Fonterutoli and numerous others in central and southern Italy. Originally an agronomist, Ferrini will oversee San Leonardo's vineyards, presently in the final stages of transformation from the pergola system to Guyot, as well as the recently modernised cellars. The first wines bearing the Ferrini stamp will be Merlots 2000 and 2001, followed by the 2000 San Leonardo cru.