Posted by: jmbwineblog | July 12, 2011

Forza Piemonte 2; (Part 2/4) Back to the Feet of the Mountains…

It was an early start back the next morning, simply because our journey to our first stop involved getting stuck in rush-hour traffic on the ring road around Turin. We weren’t allowed to be late, as the first stop, not only involved getting to taste some wines, but also lunch. The other issue was that we needed to be in Treiso by the evening in order to get a grips with the new vintage of Barbaresco at Barbaresco a Tavola.

With the traffic and the long journey out of Aosta and into Barolo, we had time to have one of our bus drinks. Unfortunately it wasn’t one of the wines that we had expected, due to some airport technical issues, or rather Mr. Birger picking up the wrong bag at Malpensa, we opened a bottle that I had earmarked to let everyone try and one that I had written about previously on these pages. The dreaded Mollard from the Alps, simply because I think it has a lot of similarities to Dolcetto.

2009 Mollard Rouge “La Nouvelle Memoire”, Domaine Petit Aout; a touch warm, plum, earth, round and structured, nice warm pebble stone minerality, good earthy tobacco and milk chocolate flavours. Showing well. ****(*+) or [4+4+4+4=16/20]

After a good two hour journey via the Hotel in Cherasco and up and down a few hills into Barolo we finally arrived out our first stop; Az. Agr. Brezza, who not only have a wonderful view of Barolo and the vineyards surrounding the area, but also a very good homely restaurant and rooms in which one can stay…

The Best Taglioline Around!!

A nice view of the town that gives its name to the DOCG!!

Brezza, which is a fourth generation family run estate in Barolo produces about 80,000 bottles a year from its 22 hectares of land, of which 16 are planted with vines. The winery has been in production since 1885, and they now have four seperate vineyards from which they produce their vines, Cannubi, Sarmassa, Bricco Sarmassa & Castellerro (which owing to the nature of this more structured and powerful, less forgiving vineyard is only produced in the very greatest vintages such as 1996 and 2001. The winery is very traditional with only Slovonian Oak Casks used, and whilst they have many older vintages in the cellars, they never recork their wines. For the record, the first vintage where they produced individual cru wines was in 1979. Every vintage previous to this, only a traditional blend of four vineyards was produced, and I will discuss this in a bit more depth a little bit later on.

The Wines at the Tasting.

2008 Nebbiolo d’Alba “Santa Rosalia”; [a vineyard situated just 7km from the winery], cherry, roses, a slight green tinge, tight, focused, powerful, herbs, truffle, tar, roses, a very tight knit palate, the finish is ashy and mineral. Rosebush, nail varnish, perfume, earth, dust, sandy and saline, flint. ****(*) or [4+4+4+3.5=15.5/20]

2007 Barolo; [from a vineyard that is 1.4 hectares, and with some blending of crus when those crus are not produced], tight knit nose, round strawberry and red plum, soft, round, open and already appealing, delicate with nice balance. dusty, earthy, tar, good length and poise, soft tannins. The mineral charactar is slightly dilute, but this is a lovely drinking wine. Very nice indeed. *****(*+) or [3+4.5+4.5+4.5=16.5+/20 potentially 17.5/20]

2004 Barolo “Cannubi”; [Brezza own about 0.5 hectares of this famous vineyard]; red fruited, delicate, tightly wound nose, roses, tar, poised, precise, regal, elegant, mineral, sandstone, flinty, smokey, broad, sandy, wonderfully understated, long, roses, herbs, truffle, black and white. Linear, delicate, plum, cherry, mint, rosemary, lovely balance and poise. Decaying leaves, rose petals, tobacco leaf, plum, cherry and an endless finish. *****(**+) or [4+5+5+4.5~=18.5+/20 potentially 19.5+/20]

A quite lovely easy, early drinking wine.

Next up would be a superb lunch, with a whole host of other excellent wines to enjoy along with wholesome, tasty Piemontese cuisine. Whilst not perhaps what one expects of high quality food in the area, the taste is excellent, the food is made to a high standard and is very filling. An excellent place to visit, and with their collection of older wines, from both themselves and other producers in the region, one is always sure to have a great time at the Brezza restaurant, and we will certainly wish to visit again!!

Wines with Lunch… (all Brezza!)

Whilst it ain't Michelin, effort certainly goes into the excellent food!

2010 Langhe Chardonnay; crisp, lemon, lime nose, minerals, white licquorice, fresh butter, sandy, smokey, flinty, delicate and understated, fresh, elegant, zippy, white pepper, very much in keeping with the house style. Understated with good lenght. ****++ or [3.5+4+4+4.5=16/20]

2009 Dolcetto d’Alba “San Lorenzo”; dark plum, zippy, fresh, depth, poise, cherry, slightly watery, crisp, chocolate and sandy minerality but all about the fruit, the dense, dark chocolate charactar sits in the background, adding subtle complexity. Mint, eucalyptus and green herbs sit underneath that, strawberry, cassis, redcurrants. Verging on red fruited. It really starts to blossom in the glass with roses as well. A nice simple wine that should age well for a few years. *****+ or [4+4.5+4.5+4=17/20]

2009 Barbera d’Alba “Cannubi Muscatelle”; fresh, clean, sandy, fruit driven but with underlying mineral charactar, perfumed, balanced, quite serious with hints of chocolate, strawberry, cherry and raspberry, mocha coffee, understated, elegant, crisp, racy, mineral. Very nice. ****(*) or [4+4+4+4=16/20]

2001 Barolo “Castellero”; tar, earth, roses, decaying leaves, deep plum and a touch of cherry. Round, warm, funky, regal, elegant and with rounded acidity and soft tannins. Wild raspberry, truffle, hints of mushroom, wonderfully soft tannins and good balance. Dusty, earthy, sandstone, but a warmth that hints at clay, poised, understated, elegant, cherry, rosebush, bramble, roses, tight knit and will age effortlessly. wood spice, pepper, herbs, rosemary, eucalyptus, mint, spearmint, chocolate, saline, complex, long decaying raspberry, strawberry finish, with good freshness, blood, sous bois, mushroom, lovely but with proper storage would probably be more youthful. Lovely, elegant and understated. *****(*+) or [4+4.5+4.5+4.5=17.5/20 potentially 19/20]

1978 Barolo ‘Riserva Especiale’; earth, roses, rosebush, a hint of tar, sous bois, mushroom, white and black truffle, herby, minty and incredibly fresh, poised with a sandy plum charactar, saline, strawberry, wild raspberry, mineral but the terroir seems a touch muddled. Perfume, decaying leaves, forest floor, tightly wound and will need time to really blossom. A long earthy finish, hints of chocolate but this will hold nicely for a good few years yet. Cranberry, marble, soil, wet clay, wonderful but whilst it will develop and hold, I don’t think it will get much better than this. You wouldn’t complain now though… ******(*-) or [4.5+4.5+4.5+4=17.5/20]

2009 Moscato d’Asti; crisp, earthy, lemon, dusty, mineral and elegantly balanced, grape, lemon sherbet. Nice length and persistance. ***** or [4+4+4+4=16/20]

The wines at Brezza are traditional, restrained, long lived and very classy. However, I would say that having discussed this with others, the move towards crus, having tasted the 78 can only be a good thing. You wouldn’t be able to say which flavour is coming from which cru in that blend (remember they started bottling as seperate crus when good enough in 1979) is that they were different and distinctive from within the wine itself. In other words, you could taste that some vineyards had performed far better than others, and to some extent this led to a lack of harmony. Picking out the better areas and bottling them seperately in such a brilliant vintage as 1978 would most certainly have led to some ageless, effortless brilliant wines, whereas now, we simply have a very nice gracefully growing old wine. I didn’t expect the Brezzas to have overheard my conversation to the group, but from their smiles and general attitude towards me, one could tell they agreed!!

Finally something fully mature!!!
 The busiest winemaking team I’ve seen…
Our next stop was at one of the most famous wineries that the region has to offer. In fact they are so famous and family run, it almost feels like we were lucky to get in, and they were trying to get rid of us very quickly. Despite what seemed like rudeness, the wines from this 15 hectare (12 under vine), super traditional producer (90 day skin macerations) were superb, and they allowed us to purchase the odd bottle, which is something they never do. Mascarello, Giuseppe e Figli of Barolo Monprivato fame, need no introduction.
The wines.
2006 Barbera d’Alba “Scudetto”; deep, cherry, chocolate, sweet, plum, dark cherries, wood spice, elegant, herby, coffee, mint, iron, minerals, lovely freshness, well balanced. Lovely length. *****++ or [4+4+5+4=17/20]
2009 Dolcetto d’Alba “Bricco di Castiglione Falletto”; funk, earth, stones, minerals, powerful, dusty, plum, powerful, nice length, chocolate, coffee. A really lovely wine. ****(*+) or [3.5+4+4.5+4.5=16.5/20]
2005 Langhe Freisa “Toetto di Castiglione Falletto”; earth, tar, fresh, soft, delicate, Nebbiolo-esque, length and power. Herbs, pepper, spice, very very long. ****(*+) or [4+4+4+4=16/20]

A small selection of treats!

2001 Status; [a blend of 75% Nebbiolo, 20% Barbera and 5% Freisa, which sees plenty of battonage, spending 4 years in large wood, and 1 year in stainless steel tanks: it is very much an experimental wine]; perfumed, fresh, bell pepper, well rounded and delicate, interesting and very much in the house style. A fascinating mix, lift and zip, with chocolate from the Barbera, but lots of red fruit and minerals as well. Very good balance. ***(***) or [4+4.5+4.5+4.5=17.5/20]

2004 Barolo “Villero”; [from vineyards of 40% sandy, 60% clay]; perfumed, fresh, round, roses, strawberry, delicate and understated. Almost perfect structure, earth, truffle, powerful, wonderful nose. Soft tannins, and this will need a lot of time to really come out of its shell, perfectly beautiful and long. ***(***+) or [4.5+5+5+4.5=19/20]

2006 Barolo “Monprivato”; [for me, the Romanee-Conti of Barolo, to the La Tache of Giacomo Conterno’s Monfortino, with 100% clay soils, it was bottled just six months before our arrival]; roses, tar, plum, sandstone, round, regal, powerful, wild strawberry and wild raspberry, hugely poised and precise, structured with huge depth, wonderful length. Soft tannins, truffle, broad, a long long finish. This will be absolutely amazing in 20+ years time. Fantastic. ****(***+) or [4.5+5+5+5=19.5+?/20]

So that is 5 palates of Monprivato for you, and 10 Villero for you. 😛

Clearly there isn’t much to say about Mascarellos wines, other than they are superb. Although one may balk at the price of their top Barolos, one has to remember that these are the equivalent of Lafite or Latour in Bordeaux, or DRC in Bugundy. They are the very best of what can be found in Piemonte, and when you consider release prices for the quality peers, one can only drool at the value for money that Piemonte provides… Outstanding!!

“The Lot Numbers are a Myth; But we sold lots of wine because of it!”

Our next stop, was the one that I was probably most looking forward to, even more so than visiting Giuseppe Mascarello, but more so because I knew this topic would come up and I really want to try a wine, of which I have 24 bottles and 3 Magnums!! You’ve guessed it… our next stop was at Produttori del Barbaresco, and all that was on our mind was what happened to the 2006 Barbaresco!?!? To start with, let me go into a few details about arguably the best co-operative/negociant winery in the world.

Firstly, the winery was set up by Domizio Cavatsa in order to break with the old style of Negociant who payed for their grapes in bulk/by weight and thus didn’t produce great wine, at a time when there were very few families who bottled their own wines. He also wanted to move to drier wines, and this led to a change in style generally across the region. The winery was completed in 1913, and the rules of purchase and production stated in 1958 are still in place today. Produttori only accept grapes that lie within the boundaries of the Barbaresco DOCG, and they will pay extra for better quality grapes, thus allowing for grape growers to try and produce better quality grapes as oppose to lots of grapes. One can see from the wines they produce that this is very much a good thing.

The famous tower... please excuse the metal bit now sticking out!!

The Wines…

2009 Langhe Nebbiolo; [you are allowed 15% of other grapes in Langhe Nebbiolo… this is 100% Nebbiolo it spends 6 months in wood, and 6 months in bottle before release, and all the grapes are from Barbaresco. In other words this could be a Barbaresco Reserva if they wanted it to, but being quality conscious, all sub 15 year old vine produce is declassified and goes into this. ], very perfumed, dainty, pritzy plum, strawberry, mineral nose, a touch of truffle, zippy, fresh, a touch green and herby, tobacco, clay, a bit of sandiness, sweet, delicate, cherry, elegant, soft and approachable if not a touch short despite an appealing finish. Classic and tasty. ****(**) or [4.5+4+4+4=16.5+/20]

2007 Barbaresco; [the vintage was hot and 20 days earlier than average for this wine]; more depth and structure, warm, round and approachable, sweet, perfumed, silky, opulent and ready to go, poised, broad with lovely balance. Strawberry, coffee, earth, roses, leaves, tar. Balanced and classy… *****(*+) or [4.5+4.5+4.5+4=17.5/20]

2006 Barbaresco; [Mr. Vejrum, asked what lot number we were drinking. We were told a later one, i.e. the wine with seemingly more “cru” wines in them. We were told however that the lot number story was a myth. That it happens often, and you will get cru wine in later bottlings with all vintages as some casks are discarded later on because they don’t age as expected. In 2006, the crus didn’t show the distinctive charactars of their terroirs with extended barrel age, and thus no “crus” were produced, as they also had to discard one of the vintages from 2004 to 2009! There is perhaps a little bit of difference, because later bottlings (usually for the local market) will have spent more time in barrel, whether they were destined for cru status or simply Barbaresco, allowing for more depth and development which should even out in bottle. So if you bought too early, then don’t worry!! Produttori threw away 1m euros with this decision, but they carry on at good prices… chapeau! ], more reduced and restrained, less perfume. more concentration, tar and roses, wonderfully poised structure, breathe, length, truffle, decaying rose leaves, complex, forest floor, deep, powerful but elegant and effeminite, smoke, flint, more pebble stones, ashy minerality. Soft tannins. ***(***+) or [3.5+4.5+4.5+4.5~=17++/20 potentially 18.5-19/20]

2005 Barbaresco Riserva “La Pora”; [the vineyard is close to the river and thus there is a lot of fog and humidity and the soil is made up of blue clay, cascium and a touch of sandy soil. as for all Barbaresco Riservas, this sees three years of botti and 1 year in bottle before release], perfume, varnish, a touch of wood spice, truffle, roses, strawberries, delicate, fresh, perfumed and round. Poised, precise, dusty, sandy, soft but structured, with grainy tannins and a long finish. Tobacco leaf, wonderfully elegant but with depth and concentration. Rosemary, thyme, basil and eucalyptus. Super. ****(**+) or [4+4.5+4.5+4.5=17.5+/20]

2005 Barbaresco Riserva “Rio Sordo”; [“you don’t need masculinity in wine for it to age a long time”], very similar but more spice and sandy notes, more crisp, linear, poised, focused, precise palate, dusty tannins, lovely freshness, strawberry, raspberry and more rounded acidity, more power and perfume, dusty mineral notes but with elegance, spice, pepper, peppermint, herbs and a nice linear length. ****(***+) or [3.5+5+5+4.5=18/20]

Some of the delightful wines.

The wines here, are to put it simply superb. You can see the quality and effort that goes into all the wines at each level, and for what you pay they are superb in terms of quality versus price. In fact, it it wasn’t a co-operative, they would probably be mentioned in the same breathe as the great estates of the region…

They certainly know how to make wine, and their philosophy of encouraging grape growers to make better quality grapes as oppose to simply making lots of grapes, can only be commended. A must visit for anyone who is in Barbaresco, at anytime of the year.

All Natural Philosphy= Highly polished, produced wine??

Our next stop involved heading back into Barolo country to taste the wines of the controversial Roberto Veorzio. Why controversial? Surely he is a modernist? Well, yes that he is a modernist, is not in doubt, but what is is that at this winery, they seem to believe that they are letting the grapes and terroir do the talking, and for me they are simply too worked, too polished and lacking any real life and pazzazz that makes one want to come back for more. What is more worrying is that they have toned right down on a lot of new wood and barriques… using less and less, but you simply can’t feel that in the wines. So what is the problem?

For me there is natural winemaking, the type that Pontet-Canet uses in Bordeaux, whereby they don’t manipulate anything and let mother nature take its course. That is a philosophy I rather like, whether you like the style or not, the wine speaks of its terroir. Here, they call it natural but it is anything but… Firstly, green harvest is taken to an extreme. They cut the nearly 70% of each bunch off, leaving just half to one kilo of grapes per vine. ranging from 80 to 150 grams per bunch, with a very high density of vines. They cut away 2/3rds of their produce, cutting away higher bunches, leaving only the smaller lower bunches, before removing grapes from the bunch whilst still green. Now an old vine could do this naturally and give you the required results and maintain a sense of terroir. Which brings me to my second point. None of their planted vines are more than 12 years old, and considering they started in 1987, that means that they replant regularly, which will also have an affect on roots and how deep into the sub-soil the vines can pick up water in drought years! They use a lot of pumping over and air pumping of the wines. They also claim that the barriques and tonneau only have a light toast, and the botti have none… well fair enough, but then why do the wines taste of huge amounts of new wood? If this is NATURAL, can someone explain to me how my definition is wrong?

Discussing how Natural a Green Harvest is...

The Wines…

2008 Barbera d’Alba “Cerreto”; [this spends one year in Tonneau of which 10% are new], chocolate, plum, poised, closed, wood spice, vanilla, very sweet, well made with lots of ripeness, good freshness, round, powerful, concentrated and big, damsons, cassis, coffee, blackcurrants, broad and well made. ****+ or [3.5+4+4+3.5=15/20]

2008 Langhe Nebbiolo “San Francesco Fontanazza”; [1 year in tonneau of which 10% are new], fresh, cranberries, strawberry, poised, powerful, concentrated, braod, plum, herby, minty finish, less sweetness and more structure but grainy with wood spice, decent freshness but a drying finish. Will the fruit last?? ****(*+) or [4+4+3.5+3.5=15/20]

2007 Langhe Rosso, Merlot; [2001 was the first vintage and this spends 14-15 months in barrique of which 50% are new], vanilla, plum, round and warm, poised, precise with sweetness, vanilla, woodspice. The alcohol isn’t held in check, it isn’t fresh and t is very boring! Why bother? Earth, soil with some freshness. Drinkable at best. Tobacco. ***(*++) or [3+3+4.5+3=13.5/20]

2005 Barolo “Cerequio”; [from 1995 until 2007 only barrique is used, and in this cuvee 30% is new for the vintage], spice, herbs and freshness, round and poised with strawberries and plum, much better acidity levels, very concentrated and shut down, wood spice, pepper, more red fruits. Elegant and fresh, but at the same time dark and unexciting just now. Age may help it. Mint, eucalyptus. ***(**+) or [4.5+4+4+4=16.5+?/20]

2006 Barolo “Cerequio”; closed, deep, dark nose, cassis, scorched earth, lots of tannins and structure. A touch of red fruit, very drying and this will need a lot of time, but one wanders if the fruit will last. Wood spice, lots of tannin. Would be great with a steak, powerful, balanced, well made but I can get the same minty enjoyment from Western Australian wines at a fraction of the price. Tar and roses on the finish, wild plum and herbs. The finish is more promising. ***(***+?) or [3+4.5+4.5+4=16++/20]

2007 Barolo “Rocche dell’Annunziata Torriglione”; funky, mineral, earthy nose, ripe fruit, tightly knit, fresh, delicate, nice crystalline fruit, lots of soft tannin, herbs, mint, eucalyptus, fresh, a touch of perfume, cassis, chocolate, This winemaker probably needs really hot vintages! Something to combat the wood and then leave a nice fruit filled tobacco leaf finish. *****(**) or [4+4.5+4.5+4.5=17.5/20]

2005 Barbera d’Alba “Ponzo dell’Annunziata” Riserva en Magnum; lots of sweet spice, vanilla, big and fruity, very tasty, plum, chocolate. Very nice but lacking in real je ne sais quoi. ****(**) or [4+4.5+4.5+4=17/20]

Manipulated wines in a very modern winery...

There is no doubting that the wines of Roberto Veorzio are very well made and high quality, but they simply seem over done, don’t speak of their terroir and leave you cold and wanting of more razzmatazz and star quality to keep you glued to the wines. They do fit a hole in the market, but that for me is not what Barolo, or Nebbiolo is all about. To be fair, the 2007 Barolo here do look excellent and speak more of the great wine that the reputation of this producer should look to, but clearly too much is done here, and perhaps pulling back, using the hand-break and taking a bit of time wouldn’t go a miss when it comes to making wines here, because there is just a bit too much of everything here and it isn’t always a good thing.

Barbaresco a Tavola

Our final stop of the day, was to head off into Treiso to a Restaurant of high quality, and an amazing cellar full of top wines called Tornavento to taste a selection of the 2008 Barbaresco vintage blind. It was to some extent be an eye-opener, and in many senses also be a dissappointment in comparison to 2005, 2006 and 2007, which are all superlative but very different. Whilst, 2008 is a very good vintage, I think one has to be more selective in who you buy from as one doesn’t see the consistency of previous vintages. This year, I tasted everything blind, but before I go into the wines, just a note to say that the food at Tornavento is superb and whilst it may not be the very best that I have tried in the region, it is of a high quality and certainly a restaurant that one should always think about eating at if in the area.

All 21 blind wines to be tasted.

Wine 1 (Fratelli Molino; Treiso); perfumed, delicate, soft plum, but with a grainy finish, tar, roses, very elegant with a touch of sweetness, herby, eucalyptus finish. ****(**) or [4.5+4+4.5+4.5=17.5/20]

Wine 2 (Boffa; Barbaresco); bit more green, vegetal, bell pepper, a bit of plum, chocolate, herbs, round and decent finish, but just too green. **(***+) or [3+3+4+4=14/20]

Wine 3 (Nada Giuseppe, Treiso); deep, powerful nose, with depth and concentration, earth, funk and minerals. Perhaps an acquired taste? ***(*+) or [4+4+3.5+3.5=15/20]

Wine 4 (La Ca’Nova; Barbaresco); creamy, stone fruit, oranges, very lifted, plum, crisp, but orangey and citrus fresh, gooseberry, really fascinating and atypical. ****(*+) or [3.5+3+4.5+4.5=15.5/20]

Wine 5 (La Licenziana; Barbaresco); well made, elegant and with a nice perfume, but it doesn’t WOW! ***(*+) or [3.5+4+4.5+4=16/20]

Wine 6 (Francone; Neive); plum and ripenesss, but a bit boring. ***(+) or [3+3+4+3=13/20]

Wine 7 (Montaribaldi; Barbaresco); a touch of funk and melon, a bit funny, passable. **(**+) or [3+4+3+3=13/20]

Wine 8 (Busso Piero; Neive); fruit and definition, well made, but again a bit dull. ***(*) or [3+3+4+3=13/20]

Wine 9 (Negro Giuseppe; Neive); banana skin, crisp, very boring, short and unimpressive. **+? or [2+2.5+3+3=10.5/20]

Wine 10 (Laura Giordano; Barbaresco); herby, lifted nose, nothing special, again nice but passable. ***+ or [3+3+4+4=14/20]

Wine 11 (Sarotto; Neive); sweet, modern, extracted hot and verging on caramelised, short and very difficult. **(*+) or [3+3+2+2=10/20]

Wine 12 (Cascina Morassino; Barbaresco); lifted, perfume, poside, elegant, a touch sweet but balanced if not a touch warming. Focused. ****(*++) or [4+3.5+4+3.5=15/20]

Wine 13 (Taliano; San Rocco Seno d’Elvio); banana, short, un-appealling with nothing exciting or bringing you back to the glass. **(*+) or [2+2+2+3=9/20]

Wine 14 (Oddero Luigi; Treiso); funk, earth, sous bois, roses and leaves, more rustic and interesting but not a great wine. ***(**+) or [3+3+3+2=11/20]

Wine 15 (Rizzi, Treiso); sweet, plum, strawberry but stewed, just about balanced but otherwise completely disjointed in terms of flavours. **(**+) or [3+3+3+3=12/20]

Wine 16 (Meinardi; Treiso); banana, melon and plum, even some lychees, green, under-ripe, it shouldn’t smell like a new world Chardonnay. *(**+) or [2+2+2+2=8/20]

Wine 17 (Prunotto; Treiso); earth, perfume, tobacco leaf, elegant, focused, poised, broad and with a touch of star quality. Elegant, restrained finish that is long and herby. *****(**) or [4+3+4.5+4.5=16+/20]

Wine 18 (Moccagatta; Barbaresco); plum, strawberry, a touch of underripeness lets this wine down. Fresh, crisp and really appealling, a lovely elegant understated finish. ****(*++) or [4+3+4+4.5=15.5/20]

Wine 19 (Baracco; Neive); rich, sweet, plum, elegance but with freshness and length, something hinting on melon but it isn’t overpowering. Very nice. ***(**+) or [4+4+4+4=16/20]

Wine 20 (Ressis; Neive); herbs, funk, depth, power, length, plum, cherry, strawberry with fantastic length and wonderful balance. Roses, tar, sweetness, rosebusg, rosemary, mint, eucalyptus, poised, precise and complex. SUPER. *****(**+) or [4.5+4.5+4.5+4.5=18/20]

Wine 21 (Abrigo Orlando; Treiso); sweet and round, elegant and with length but without real excitement. Very nice and very well made. ****(**) or [4+4+4+4.5=16.5/20]

One of the most amazing cellars you will ever find... and this is about 1% of it.

From just reading through my notes, you can see that 2008 Barbaresco seems like it is a mixed bag with some excellent wines, and plenty not-so. My one gripe is that I felt that melony note in even the best wines. It wasn’t as pronounced  in the better wines which had more complexity, but in some wines it simply overpowered the wine. I really think there is some under-ripeness and uneven ripening throughout the region in this vintage and I hope these wines age well and overpower that note, but I think it is a vintage to be very specific with your choices. Clearly those with better soils and better exposures have done better than others. 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 are no brainer vintages, as you can pretty much buy anything. In 2008 I don’t think this is the case.

I will leave you here for now, as this was the end of our day, and we still had two more to go! So until next time…

Happy Drinking!


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