San Leonardo has long been a favourite of the cognoscenti but more has recently achieved the global prominence it richly deserves. The wines are more akin to Bordeaux than Bolgheri with their balance and purity and (says leading Italian critic Nicolas Belfrage) ‘can have an elegance-cum-depth capable of taking on the best clarets of the world‘. Jancis Robinson agrees, noting latterly the wine’s “astoundingly consistent quality” and how each vintage is “beautifully low-key and like the most refined red bordeaux imaginable”. Jancis also says the Grand Vin is "Surely the most successful Bordeaux blend of Northern Italy” and The Wine Advocate’s Monica Larner calling it “… one of the great wines of Italy… Sassicaia and San Leonardo seem like brothers separated in childhood”.
The comparison is more than skin deep as San Leonardo’s owner Marchese Carlo Guerrieri Gonzaga, a rare example (at the time) of a professionally-trained aristocrat-oenologist, spent time at Tenuta San Guido back in the 1960s helping create Sassicaia with legendary consultant, Giacomo Tachis, whom he subsequently employed at his own estate. The estate Leonardo has received the top ‘Tre Bicchiere’ rating from Gambero Rosso for an unprecedented sixteen vintages. More recently Monica Larner rescored the 2015 vintage at 97+ points, its highest rating ever.
Vegan wines are simply wines made with no animal products. During the winemaking process, sediment is often removed from the wine by filtration and fining agents, some of which are made from casein, a protein found in milk. Winemakers can either choose to use plant-based fining agents, or not to at all, as is the case with some natural wines that take on an unusual cloudy appearance.