Paradiso di Manfredi
In 2013 the journalist Kerin O'Keefe published Brunello di Montalcino, a thoughtful and timely review of the great Italian wine appellation. In it she states that 'The tiny Il Paradiso di Manfredi farm, run by three generations of a close-knit and delightful family, makes the most soulful wines in the entire appellation.' These wines are made very naturally, very carefully, in the traditional way, with indigenous yeasts, long macerations and long aging in large barrels. This is the epitome of 'natural wine', wines that are flavorful, fresh, vivid, alive, cleanly made, and entirely representative of their terroir and tradition. To quote O'Keefe again, 'In a day when there is so much doubt over the authenticity of Brunello, and question marks over whose dark and inky Brunellos are the result of blending or of the newest generation of Sangiovese super-clones, and when so many small and large producers overextract and overoak their wines in an attempt to be noticed by critics, it is refreshing to discover a winery like Il Paradiso di Manfredi. These distinct earthy and mineral Brunellos are the real thing; they are without doubt Brunellos for connoisseurs.'
Rosso di Montalcino
Kerin O'Keefe: 'Aged for one year in botti, Paradiso di Manfredi's Rosso is a lighter, brighter version of Brunello, with fresh acidity and supple tannins...Very food-friendly and delicious, this Rosso has some complexity but just the right structure for early drinking.'
Brunello di Montalcino
Kerin O'Keefe: 'intensely earthy, floral, and truffle aromas, all of which carry over to the palate, along with ripe-berry flavors and mineral. Intense mineral purity, vibrant acidity, and firm tannins give a cellar-worthy structure.' I would add that these wines are very elegant, as well as ageworthy; they are delicious even when young, and the mature wines I have tasted at the estate were wonderful. So you can have your cake and eat it too.
Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Kerin O'Keefe: '...produced only when Florio, and not the Consorzio or critics, deems the harvest is exceptional, is richer, with more depth [than the normale], boasting intense leather and meat-juice aromas, and a creamy fruit and mineral palate with big but sweet tannins.' These are some of the finest wines in the appellation, and eloquent proof that traditional winemaking (long maceration followed by aging in big barrels) makes the most interesting Italian classic 'big reds.'
I am indebted to Kerin O'Keefe for suggesting I try these wines, and to Taylor Parsons for recommending the estate to me after he tasted the wines at Benvenuto Brunello.
Paradiso di Manfredi Website