Tag: Barolo

Eight nebbiolos

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%.

Well priced Barolo; Boroli Barolo 2010

This is a well made Barolo from Boroli in Piemonte.  My texts do not reveal much on this producer, although you can fossick around on their website at the link below.  The 2010 vintage, a great one in the region, tasted here has typical nebbiolo aromatics of roses, dried roses and sour cherry.  The palate is balanced in expression, with high acidity and grippy tannins.  For circa $50, a good buy.(Alc: 13.5%, Region: Barolo, Piemonte, Italy, Rating: Good, Drink: now to 2031)

Read more:
www.boroli.com/en/

Massolino Serralunga d’Alba Barolo 2012

This is a very good Barolo from Massolino in the Barolo subregion of Serralunga d’Alba.  There’s a bit more about Massolino in this interesting article from Stephen Brook in Decanter on some of the top Barolo and Barbaresco producers (see the link here).

The 2012 vintage has aromatics of herbs, roses and bright cherry.  The fruit tastes delicious, the tannins are built to last and the length really quite long.  Classic Barolo in a firm Serralunga style.  One to buy.  (Alc: not recorded, Region: Barolo, Rating: Very Good, Drink: now (with decanting) and well into the future)

Read more:
www.massolino.it

A trio of nebbiolos; Luigi Baudana Barolo 2010, Traversa Starderi Barbaresco 2010 and Luke Lambert Nebbiolo 2010

I suspect I am late to the party, but I have been very impressed by some recent nebbiolos.  First came an excellent tasting a couple of months ago (my notes are here) and then, more recently,  I presented three nebbiolos blind to get an objective view and was really pleased with them.  The first wine I have reviewed previously and was Traversa’s Starderi Barbaresco from the 2010 vintage.  I really cannot recommend this wine highly enough (for my earlier review see here).

The second wine was Luigi Baudana’s Barolo also from the 2010 vintage.  With the benefit of a decent decant (~2 hours), this wine showed classic aromas of tar, roses and licorice.  The palate has high acidity and towards long length.  Fresh and delicious, this Barolo has a long life ahead of it.  The third and final wine was a ring in from the Yarra Valley – a nebbiolo from Luke Lambert and the 2014 vintage.  A tiny amount of this wine is produced – only 1367 bottles – but it is worth tracking down.  Tasted blind, many were confused by its pinot noir like characters and, to be honest, I would have been too.  It has pungent aromas of fruit, roses and fresh soil.  The palate shows an acidity and balance that more closely resembles a Piemonte expression of the grape than most of the Australian nebbiolos I have tasted to date.

Read more:
www.lukelambertwines.com.au

Viticoltore Mauro Molino Barolo 2011

I am developing a bit of an interest in the wines of Barolo.  This cannot be viewed as anything other than unfortunate development for my bank balance!  I dutifully looked up this producer – Mauro Molino – in my newly purchased Barolo and Barbaresco reference book, The King and Queen of Italian Wine by Kerin O’Keefe (2014, University of California Press) to read a bit more, but if it’s covered it was not obvious.  Their website shows that five different Barolos are produced here, this wine being their “Barolo” without further vineyard specification or adornment.

The wine itself?  Aromatics of tar, bitumen and perhaps a little chocolate too.  It benefits, as most Barolos seem to, from time in the glass and I therefore recommend decanting.  Firm acidity on the palate and mouth puckering tannins, this is a structured Barolo with a mid length finish and a good future ahead of it in the cellar.

Rating: Good to Very Good
Abv: 15%
Price: $70s
Vendors and website: http://www.mauromolino.com
Tasted: 2016

Topper’s Mountain Wild Ferment Nebbiolo 2013

I attended a Barolo and Barbaresco tasting a week or so ago, and it’s fair to say the average quality was remarkably high.  A sort of nebbiolo “oh I get it” moment.  This is an Australian version of nebbiolo from Topper’s Mountain in New England.  It’s a lighter expression of nebbiolo with some attractive characters.  The 2013 tasted here has aromatics of esthery cherries, and then florals with some air.  The palate has bright cherry characters, and good balance between its acid and tannins.  A pretty good example of a local nebbiolo.

Rating: Good
Abv: 12.8%
Price: $38
Source: sample
Vendors and website: http://toppers.com.au
Tasted: 2016

Podere Ruggeri Corsini Monforte d’Alba Barolo 2005


An important observation here is that this Barolo is from the subregion of Monforte d’Alba, which has relatively poor sandstone soils that are not particularly fertile.  This has tended to produce Barolos that are intense and structured.  And this particular Barolo is intense and structured, bold, capital and underline.  It’s a medium intensity ruby in colour, with evident tears in the glass.  Its aromatics are clean and developing and are of coconut, vanilla, anise, tar, plum, Christmas cake and cinnamon spice.  Initially, it reminded me of a vial of coconut from my collection of “Le Nez du Vin” vials, but the oak was moderated with time in the glass.   The palate is dry, with the Italian trilogy of high acid, high alcohol and very high tannins (they are both powdery and filmy), full body and brooding flavours of mulberry, plum, dark cherry, coconut, vanilla and anise.  The length is medium.  

The biggest challenge with this wine was weathering the substantial oak influence, and then bracing for and handling the mouth puckering tannins.  It’s otherwise overall a pretty good quality wine due to its length and the depth of the fruit flavours of mulberry, plum and dark cherry on offer and there’s some complexity in the interaction between these fruit characters and the oak influenced flavours of coconut and vanilla.  A wine to drink last in a line up.  Good

Abv: 14%
Price: $76
Vendors: Check http://www.wine-searcher.com/
Website: http://www.ruggericorsini.it
Tasted: 2013
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Pio Cesare Barolo 2006

This is a seriously interesting Barolo.  Decant it first though.  Aromatics were initially a little dumb – oak, coconut, a bit sweet smelling.  After a few minutes, complex and attractive aromatics of anise, vanilla bean, menthol, earth and Christmas cake emerged.  The palate was a similar story.  It opened to quite drying and powdery tannins with tobacco and thyme flavours.  Nothing special.  Yet, with time in the glass – say 10 minutes – it suddenly put on some very attractive weight.  Its plushness grew and grew, with cherries, plums, tobacco and earthy notes all emerging, while the tannins seemed to resolve.  This is a serious Barolo that will reward drinking over the next 10 years.  Very Good

Abv: 14.5%
Price: $100
Vendors: Check http://www.wine-searcher.com/
Website: http://www.piocesare.it/home.htm
Tasted: 2013
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Arpatin Barolo 2008

The high Australian dollar has seen a few more imports starting to arrive on retail shelves at healthier prices.  This Barolo caught my attention at a smidgen under $30 a bottle, a region where change from a $100 note may be spoken of, but rarely sighted.  Unfortunately, however, I cannot recommend this wine.

Quite pale in colour, and almost cloudy in appearance, its aromatics are of packet cherries and a touch of earth.  Mostly, it is the aroma of simple fruit – like a hot climate wine.  On the palate the wine has some sweetness, which is probably fruit sweetness, but there may be a little residual sugar too.  Otherwise, candied fruit characters are predominant.  The second glass of this wine was broadly ok, in the way that a $10 wine is generally perfectly fine, but never anything more than that.  I had hoped for something a little more.  Acceptable

Abv: 14%
Price: $29.99
Vendors: Check http://www.wine-searcher.com/
Website: N/a.
Tasted: 2012