A surprise find under screw cap, this Langhe Rosso from G.D. Vajra and the 2017 vintage presents in a regional style. It’s actually a blend of nebbiolo, barbera and dolcetto, with a few others too. There are aromas of cherry and firm, chalky acidity and structure. This wine can be approached now, but it will suit a couple of years in the cellar. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $30. Website: http://www.gdvajra.it/en/homepage. Reviewed: October 2019.
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%.
This is a rather delicious Barolo from Mauro Veglio. Aired for at least an hour, it opens to powerful aromatics of licorice and florals. The palate has firm acidity, very firm tannins and great length on the finish. This wine can be approached now, but will be best in a decade or more. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $85. Website: http://www.mauroveglio.com.
This is a good Langhe nebbiolo from Benevelli, particularly at $28. An aroma of sour cherry, chalk and potpourri. Fruity, for nebbiolo. The palate has good length, firm acidity and a youthful spritz. A quibble: one bottle corked (four tasted). Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $28. Website: n/a.
Topper’s Mountain’s Bricolage Rouge is an unorthodox blend of tempranillo, nebbiolo, tannat and shiraz. Ruby in colour, its aroma reminds of red fruits, smoke and minerals. The palate is medium bodied, with some chalky tannin and good length, and flavours reminding of red fruit, with a savoury, almost Italianate sour cherry aspect. The winemaker sure can blend, as these are not obvious blending partners. This is an enjoyable and very good wine that is ready to drink now. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $30. Source: Sample.
Topper’s Mountain in New England have produced an approachable rendition of nebbiolo in the 2014 vintage. It opens to aromatics of florals and red fruits. The palate has pleasant if dialled back acidity and grip. Ready to drink now, this wine can be approached over the next 5 years. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.4%. Price: $20+. Source: Sample.
This is a good rendition of a nebbiolo from Rowlee in Orange. It has restrained aromatics that remind of actual cherries. Decant this wine, as the palate really improves with time in the glass. There are quite firm fine tannins and good length and balance, and – no mean feat – the impression is varietal. A well made local nebbiolo. Rating: Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $40. Source: Sample.
From the highly regarded Bruno Giacosa, the newly arrived 2015 vintage of the Nebbiolo d’Alba is a very good wine. The knowledgeable team at East End Cellars in Adelaide put me in this wine’s direction. In the glass, there are sour cherry and earthy aromas. The palate has grippy tannins softened by an edge of sour cherry fruit, fresh acidity and mid range length. Double decanted several hours prior to serving. I would just decant it next time. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $80+.
This is a very good Barbaresco from La Ca Nova. The 2014 vintage has rose and floral aromatics. The palate has great length, towards a full body and fresh acidity. I could drink this all day. With a price in the $60s, it’s great value too for the appellation. (Alc: 14%, Region: Barbaresco, Piemonte, Italy, Rating: Very Good, Drink: now to 2027+, Tasted: August, 2017)
Other vintages reviewed:
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)