Wine Profile: Brunello di Montalcino 2012 by Casanova di Neri

When you want the absolute best experience of SENSES Fine Dining, we strongly recommend that you add on the wine pairing option to your reservation. When you have the perfect wine to complement each dish, your meal goes from just amazing to pure magic. We put a considerable amount of time and effort into crafting our ever-changing wine list, constantly searching far and wide for artisan wine-makers around the world who share our passion for excellence while respecting the land. Our latest addition to the wine list is one that we’re very excited about: The Brunello di Montalchino 2012 by Casanova di Neri.

Casanova di Neri

Brunello di Montalcino 2012

It was in 1971 when Giovanni Neri first purchased vineyards in the hilltop township of Montalcino, located about 80 km south of Florence in Tuscany, Italy, with its breathtaking views of the Asso, Ombrone and Arbia valleys. Montalcino derives its name from a particular kind of oak tree that was once prominent in the area, and which played an important part in the development of the area’s flagship wine. Casanova di Neri winemaking is rooted in the traditions of Brunello di Montalcino but has also innovated within the traditions to develop its own unique approach. Its philosophy is one that is built upon a solid foundation of deep commitment to and respect for the land. Giovanni began with the Cerretalto vineyard in eastern Montalcino, following thereafter with the acquisition of the Le Cetine, Pietradonice, Podernovo, Fiesole, Poderuccio and Spereta for a grand total of seven vineyards comprising 63 hectares (155 acres). As the company website puts it: “The diversity of their soils, exposures, microclimates and of the ages of the vines create the identity of our wines.”

Sangiovese Grapes

Brunello di Montalcino 2012

The variety of grapes grown in Montalcino came to be known as Brunello, which in Italian is the diminutive of bruno or brown, thus “little brown.” The grape growers of the area for a long time thought it was their own unique grape variety, but in 1879 after extensive study, it was determined that Brunello and Sangiovese were the same variety, and the latter name won out for the official designation and can be traced back to its first documented mention in 1590, but had obviously been cultivated well before then, possibly dating all the way back to Roman times since the name comes from the Latin sanguis Jovis or “blood of Jupiter” (a roman god). After the name clarification in 1879, Brunello then came to be used as the designation for the red wines made from 100% Sangiovese grapes. Casanova de Neri wines are a testament to “…how Sangiovese in Montalcino can give can give exceptional unrepeatable results…”

Brunello di Montalcino 2012 Vintage

Brunello di Montalcino 2012

Brunello wines that are young are known for having a fresh fruity flavor likened to strawberries with just a hint of spiciness. The wine easily takes on oak or even tarry flavors when aged in barrels. Not as aromatic as many red wine varieties, the flavor profile is often described as including sour red cherries with earthy aromas and tea leaf notes. The 2012 vintage of gained a spot on theTop 10 Wines of 2017 by Wine Spectator, and was described by the magazine’s lead taster for Tuscany wines as consisting of “Effusive aromas and flavors of raspberry, cherry, floral, mineral and tobacco are at the center of this linear, vibrant red.” The 2012 growing season was one of climatic extremes, with a colder-than-normal winter and spring followed by a hot, dry summer and a perfect September produced wines that somehow balance all the complexity, turning those extreme conditions into a strong suit. At Casanova di Neri, the Brunello di Montalcino wine is aged for 42 months in large oak casks of 3,600–8,600 liters (950–2,300 gallons) and then another six months in the bottle before being made available.

The 2012 vintage of this Brunello di Montalchino by Casanova di Neri has turned out to be a real show-stopper, and we’re pleased to make it available at SENSES Fine Dining!

Sourcing ingredients

Sourcing Ingredients at SENSES Fine Dining

Executive Chef Kelt Hugo Maat is happiest when he can utilize fresh ingredients as he exercises his unique culinary expertise. But what’s a chef to do when there are very few local farms? This is the case in Aruba, where local agricultural efforts are few and far between. In spite of this challenge, Chef Kelt still prioritizes fresh ingredients, including local and organic whenever possible. Below we’ll say more about this. But first, we have a confession to make: The featured image for this blog post probably made you think we are growing some of our own ingredients. That happens to be true, but the picture is actually showing one of our first creative desserts! It’s a special chocolate mousse recipe served up in a little terracotta planter with a sprig of fresh borage cress!

Sourcing Ingredients: Growing Our Own

We are excited to be growing some of what we use, and we do it right inside the restaurant. How is that possible? It is thanks to the high-tech equipment we obtained from Urban Cultivator. What we grow in-house depends on our current menu, and we’ll be changing our menu every two months. Right now, what we’re growing in the cultivator includes the following:

  • Affilla Cress: This microgreen is related to the sugar pea and is valued for its unusual decorative shape as well as its sweet flavor.
  • Borage Cress: This is a cucumber-flavored herb that originated around the Mediterranean. It has a lovely clean, refreshing taste with somewhat salty notes.
  • Fennel: This herb is a flowering plant in the carrot family. It has yellow flowers and feathery leaves reminiscent of dill. Its flavor and aroma is similar to anise.
  • Dill: Most people are familiar with this aromatic herb and its delicate, feathery leaves. It is in the parsley family
  • Nasturtium: This is another flowering plant many are familiar with growing in flower gardens, but its tangy, peppery taste comes in handy in all kinds of dishes.
  • Chives: Closely related to garlic, shallots, leeks and scallions, chives have an oniony flavor with hints of garlic.
  • Lemon Basil: When it’s fresh, this herb has a distinctly lemon fragrance with a lot of sweetness in the background.

You’ll love how we use these microgreens in each and every dish you savor during your SENSES Fine Dining experience, and you’ll know we grew them in-house organically! In addition to unbeatable freshness, growing some of our microgreens means a smaller environmental impact since they don’t have to be shipped or delivered by vehicles – fewer carbon dioxide emissions is always a good thing!

Sourcing Ingredients: Cultivating Relationships with Suppliers

Sourcing Ingredients

While growing some of our own microgreens is immensely satisfying, there are lots of other ingredients we have to source from places near and far, including the following:

  • PUURgroenten: We get many of our other microgreens and mini vegetables from this Dutch company. Its products are top-quality and grown in a sustainable fashion indoors, with most of the power needed for its greenhouses coming from solar panels.
  • Petite Greens Aruba: We’re also beginning to get some of our other microgreens from this local supplier right here in Aruba.
  • Rungis Market: For our other vegetable needs, we currently rely on the world’s largest fresh produce market located in France.

Some of our fruits are coming from Colombia, most of our meats from the Netherlands, and seafood from Norway. We’re constantly looking to cultivate relationships with more local suppliers whenever possible, but it’s a real challenge in Aruba! So, in many cases we go with what we know best from our previous restaurant experience as we continue to look for new suppliers closer to One Happy Island!


Senses Fine Dining Delights

How SENSES Fine Dining Delights All Your Senses

When Executive Chef Kelt Hugo Maat and Maître D’ Bas Kruisselbrink were developing their concept of a fine dining experience, they had one simple goal in mind: To create an experience that would truly delight the senses of guests. It dawned on them that SENSES would therefore be the perfect name for their restaurant located in the world-renowned award-winning Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in Aruba. Here’s how SENSES Fine Dining delights all your senses:

SENSES Fine Dining Delights Your Sense of TASTE

Senses Fine Dining Delights


Perhaps the most important of all the senses to delight in a fine dining experience is the sense of taste. Executive Chef Kelt Hugo Maat discovered his unique culinary passion is when he has the opportunity to take a classic dish, deconstruct its components, and then re-combine them in new and exciting ways. Trained in classic French culinary traditions, Kelt also allows his cooking to be enhanced by various places he has lived and worked, including Dutch, Norwegian and Indonesian influences. He is happiest when using ingredients of the finest quality – local and organic whenever possible, which is not an easy feat on an island like Aruba where surprisingly little agriculture takes place. He also prefers to prepare meats and proteins with the sous vide technique for maximum flavor. The magic of what Kelt accomplishes is in how you will be able to distinctly taste each ingredient in every dish.

SENSES Fine Dining Delights Your Sense of SIGHT

Senses Fine Dining Delights


There are several different ways that SENSES Fine Dining delights your sense of sight. There is, of course, the sheer beauty of each dish that is painstakingly assembled with each component for maximum aesthetic impact. The results are dishes that look as good as they taste. But then there’s also the fact that you get to see the master chef at work, watching his culinary process in action and the assembly of each dish you will then enjoy in this exclusive fine dining experience. The say that “seeing is believing” and you’ll get to put that old adage to the test as you watch the magic happen before your very eyes.

SENSES Fine Dining Delights Your Sense of SMELL

Senses Fine Dining Delights

Your sense of taste and your sense of smell are intimately intertwined. You’ve no doubt noticed that when you’re severely congested from a head cold, your sense of taste is changed and often diminished. This is why back in the day when children had to take bad-tasting medicine, they would hold their noses – to lessen how much they tasted. The various food smells that come with each dish will greatly enhance your sense of taste. This is because messages about taste and smell converge in your brain to bring about your perception of flavor.

SENSES Fine Dining Delights Your Sense of SOUND

Senses Fine Dining Delights

Part of the SENSES Fine Dining experience is hearing from both Maître D’ Bas Kruisselbrink and Executive Chef Kelt Hugo Maat. This is not the kind of dining experience where everything interesting happens behind closed doors while you sit and wait for the food to magically appear out of nowhere. This is a face-to-face interactive culinary journey where the host and chef talk to you about what’s happening and why. Bas will make initial introductory remarks and explain the rationale of wine pairings and Kelt will let you in on the secrets of his culinary craft.

SENSES Fine Dining Delights Your Sense of TOUCH

Senses Fine Dining Delights

You may be wondering how your sense of touch comes into play in a fine dining experience. If you’ve ever been turned off or on by how food feels when you put it in your mouth, then you understand exactly how it comes into play. The texture of food is surprisingly important to the overall effect, and you’ll find a diverse array of textures throughout your meal that will both surprise and delight.

Guidelines for Successful Fine Dining at SENSES

Here are somethings to keep in mind that will enhance your fine dining experience at SENSES:

  • Doors open at 7PM, and we need everyone to arrive on-time in order to stay on track for the evening.
  • We encourage you to take pictures during your dining experience to share with your social media networks!
  • Please note that we do not serve children (due to resort rules, all guests must be 18+).
  • Because of the exclusive nature of dining at SENSES, you will be required to pay a reservation fee of $40 per person to hold your space during a seating with a maximum of 16 guests. The price we charge for our 5-8 course dinner experience at SENSES including a glass of Prosecco is $100 per person, and the $40 booking fee will be deducted from that price on the final bill. Please note that you can upgrade your SENSES experience with wine pairings for an additional fee of $79 per person. We also make available a selection of cocktails, beers and wines (by the glass or bottle).
  • If anyone in your party has food allergies, please let us know in advance to find out if we can accommodate them.
  • Finally, please plan on enjoying your meal for at least two hours – we don’t want you to rush through this kind of unique dining experience.

We look forward to delighting all of your senses at SENSES. Book your reservation online at our website or call us at +297 586-0044.