Here is a belated set of notes in relation to an excellent Barolo and Barbaresco tasting in May. My observations were, in no particular order: (i) the average quality of the wines was very high, (ii) the best wines had the firmest acidity and they were actually from both Barolo and Barbaresco (I had expected the Barolo wines would be a little firmer), (iii) the two 2013 vintage wines presented particularly well, (iv) the differences between Barolo and Barbaresco in blind tasting were very slight and (v) the future appears bright for the region, at least based on these wines. In terms of local comparisons, I am yet to taste an Australian nebbiolo that has a similar character, or is in close to the same league, in terms of quality. This differs from even pinot noir. Perhaps nebbiolo is a grape variety that does not travel well. This I think is worth some further thought.
And now the wines:
Tenimenti Fontanafredda La Rosa Barolo Serralunga 1999
First up, the oldest wine of the set. This 1999 vintage Barolo has aromas of cedar, luscious fruit even at 20 years of age, and florals. The oak is slightly obvious, but the palate has good length, and is earthy. Ready to drink now, this wine continued to evolve and improve in the glass. Rating: Very Good.
CA’ del Baio Asili Barberesco 2013
Considerably younger and from a classic year, this wine opens to aromas of cherry and redcurrant. The palate has very firm and pleasing acidity, great length and herbal undertones. This is a very good to outstanding wine, that can be approached now, but will benefit from a decade or longer in the cellar. Rating: Very Good to Outstanding.
Ceretto Barolo 2010
Aromas of earth, herbs and florals. The acidity is not quite as firm, but it has great length and complexity. This wine can be approached now. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14%.
Benevelli Piero Ravera Barolo Monforte 2010
This wine has aromas of herbs, earth and florals. The palate has firm acidity and terrific fruit. Approachable now, but will suit extended ageing. Rating: Very Good.
Bruno Giacosa Falletto di Serralunga d’Alba Barolo 2007
In a very good group, the star of this wine shone brightest. It has a herbal and blackcurrant aroma. The palate has very firm acidity and is classical in style. In its drinking window, but this is still young at 12 years of age. Rating: Outstanding. Abv: 14%.
Gaja Barbaresco 2004
This wine provided the most sui generis expression of nebbiolo in this group. It has a herbal nose running into red currants, together with a soft liquorice character. On the palate, this is an approachable, lovely wine, with softer, but fine boned acidity. Rating; Very Good. Abv: 14%.
Roagna Pajè Barberesco 2013
This proved an outstanding wine. Intensely youthful, it is firmly coiled, but with evident fruit and a herbal overlay. The palate is tannic with long length and is particularly structured. This wine has a decade or more ahead of it and, for current drinking, ideally would benefit from a few more years of slumber. Rating: Very Good to Outstanding.
Barale Fratelli Serraboella Barbaresco 2010
Herbal, redcurrant, firm acidity. Well, not much to say then on this wine, but it left a favourable impression. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14%.