Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Barolo Boys Visits Bartolo Mascarello, Giacomo Conterno & Ceretto

The Barolo Boys are home again from another fantastic trip to Piedmont. 12 wine grower visits, 117 wines tasted of which 65 were Baroli.
Great restaurant visits with the company of Maria Terese Mascarello, Giacomo Conterno, Elisa Scavino, the Marengo´s and the Pira´s - notes to follow.

But I start with the three first visits.

Bartolo Mascarello
On the day of our arrival we drove to Barolo and parked ouside the cantina of Bartolo Mascarello. Maria Teresa met up with us and guided us up to her fathers office where we talked for an hour or so (time just evaporates in the Langhe air...) and tasted these wines.

2015 Barbera d´Alba
This was bottled just three months ago. A pure, racy, herbal nose with notes of violets, licorice, blueberries and fertile soil. A lovely nose.
The taste is cool, round and inviting with notes of ripe cherries, licorice and warm gravel. A juicy acidity goes through the long, lingering finish. I could drink this every day of the week.
91p   (tasted 2017/10)

2013 Barolo
A refined, gorgeous, uplifting nose with notes of wild strawberries, roses en masse, dry licorice, paint and a high perfumed note. This is a stunning piece of work.
The taste is tight yet expressive and penetrating with notes of ripe linfonberries, dried strawberries, mushrooms and violets. The finish goes on for minutes in a restrained kind of way. Just lovely.
96p   (tasted 2017/10)

Giacomo Conterno
Next stop this day - Giacomo Conterno. It is always nice to visit Roberto and his assistent Stephanie. We were given the mandatory (but oh so nice) visit of the cellar which is so clean that you could eat of the floor.

2015 Barbera d´Alba Vigna Francia
A deep, dark, spicy nose with notes of ripe blueberries, fir wood, old balsamico and licorice. Very concentrated. Just gorgeous.
The taste is young, fresh and with a fine intensity, with notes of ripe black cherries, licorice, fried herbs and ink. A very long finish with a cleansing acidity. Great.
93p   (tasted 2017/10)

2013 Barolo Cerretta
A very deep, concentrated nose with notes of ripe black cherries, licorice, violets, roses and a fine dark perfumed scent. Distinguished. Very, very deep.
The taste is pure as a mountain river yet with tannins and stuffing built for the ages. Notes of hard cherry candy, gravel, dried rose petals and dry licorice. Chewable tannins. Great wine. 10+ years.
94p   (tasted 2017/10)


2013 Barolo Monfortino
From cask. No Francia in 2013, just Monfortino, the equivalence of 28.000 bottles (the max is 30.000 bottles according to Roberto). A perfect wine. The nose is breathtakingly beautiful with deep, stunning notes of perfectly ripe red cherries, rose petals, wild strawberries, a tiny whiff of white pepper and a hint of dried up chocolate biscuits. Sooo fine.
The taste is the poster child of purity, class and finesse with notes of chrushed rocks, hard cherry candy, iron, violets, paint and dried wild strawberries. The finish goes on forever. Perfection. Too bad the price for Monfortino have gone through the roof, the recently released 2010 goes for 1000+ Euros...
100p   (tasted 2017/10)

We visited Ceretto in May this year, and Selena was kind enough to receive us on the 1th of November, which is an Italian holiday (we were in Alba later in the day and all, I mean all, inhabitants of Langhe was in Alba...). We got to taste pretty much the same vintages as in May, but this is learning, how the current vintage change (or noy) with some additional months in bottle.

2015 Nebbiolo d´Alba
This one we didn´t taste in May. The nose is open and very spicy with notes of lingonberry bushes, undergrowth, dark berries and some nutty aromas. A tad linear.
The taste is tight and a bit foursquare with notes of ripe cherries, warm sand, dried flowers and gravel. Good.
86p   (tasted 2017/11)

2014 Barbaresco Asili
Interesting enough, with the two 14 Barbaresco, I had the opposite view when we tasted them in May. Then I had the Asili as the superior wine. Not this time.
The Asili sports a spicy, young, focused nose with notes of ripe red cherries, forest floor, tobacco and a hint of toothpaste. Very, very good.
The taste is cool, balanced and fine with notes of spices, cherry pips, licorice and gravel. Very long and fine with sandy tannins. 5+ years.
91p   (tasted 2017/11)

2014 Barbaresco Bernadot
The Bernadot is a shoulder higher than the Asili on this occasion, with a nose filled with sweet/sour cherries, earth, dark flowers and warm gravel. Very high and pure. Really fine.
The taste is tight and seedy with notes of sand, ripe flowers, raspberry licorice and a hibt of tobacco. A very long, intense finish. Lovely. 6+ years.
93p   (tasted 2017/11)

2013 Barolo Brunate
As opposed to the Barbaresco´s above, the Brunate performed identical as in May. A splendid wine that will go on for 10+ years to come.
93p   (tasted 2017/11)

2013 Barolo Bricco Rocche
The Bricco Rocche is impressive with its mix of high, floral notes alongside ripe, sweet cherry fruit and a long, long, lingering taste that ends with a fine acidity and tannins that are polished with the finest cloth. Impressive in May, equally impressive now. One for the cellar - 12+ years.
95p   (tasted 2017/11)

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

2001 & 2004 Barolo Riserva Rocche Di Gastiglione, Sordo

These were bought at the estate when I visited Sordo this summer.

2001 Barolo Riserva Rocche di Gastiglione, Sordo
After two hours in a decanter fine notes of mushrooms, rosehips, wet dog, clay, autumn leaves and paint flows up from the glass. Some maturity. Deep and fine.
The taste is somewhat mature, rich and dry with notes of beet roots, red currants, mushrooms, earth and some balsamic notes. A fine warmth in the long finish. Starting to mature, drink this from now and the coming 6+ years.
91p   (tasted 2017/11)

2004 Barolo Riserva Rocche di Gastiglione, Sordo
The 04 is deeper, more complex and a tighter wine than the 01. The nose reminds me of a perfect autumn walk in a moist forest with some mushrooms and truffle aromas popping up from time to time. Additional notes of tar, candle grease and dried cherries adds to the complexity. Very fine.
The taste is tight and multi layered with a lovely cherry fruit and notes of leather, dried strawberries, licorice and gravel. Very long with silky tannins. Great wine. Drink now and the coming 10+ years.
95p   (tasted 2017/11)

Saturday, 11 November 2017

A Grand Cru In All But The Name - Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques

If there is one Premier Cru that should be elevated to Grand Cru level it would be Clos Saint-Jacques. And that view was demonstrated the other day when I got the chance to taste this stunning Pinot from all producers, and one negociant bottling.

Clos Saint-Jacques is 6,7 ha and the current ownership is divided like this:
Armand Rousseau / 2,21 ha
Sylvie Esmonin / 1,6 ha
Louis Jadot / 1,0 ha
Bruno Clair / 1,0 ha
Fourrier / 0,89 ha

All wines tasted double blind.

2007 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques, Louis Jadot
A deep, dark, warm nose with notes of earth, root vegetables and ripe raspberries. A very fine warmth. Deep and fine.
The taste is round, generous and flirty with notes of cherries, raspberries, forest floor and a  hint of tobacco. A long finish with a fine warmth. Drinking fine on this day. Would not keep this for much longer than 5+ years.
90p   (tasted 2017/11)

2005 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques, Sylvie Esmonin
A lovely, complex, sweet nose with some maturity and notes of red cherries, plums, dog fur and dried strawberries. A very fine depth. Lovely.
The taste is charming and velvety yet with a fine concentration and notes of plums, raspberries, undergrowth and a hint of milk chocolate. Really fine. Very long and satisfying. 8+ years.
93p   (tasted 2017/11)

2006 Chambertin, Louis Trapet
H throwed in a "real" Grand Cru just for comparison. Double blind, I had it as the best wine... The nose is beautiful with notes of red flowers, forest floor, smoke, violets and a touch of menthol. Very deep and focused. Stunning.
The taste is energetic, somewhat mature and just lovely with notes of dry raspberries, wood smoke, root vegetables, tobacco and hay. Multi layered and very complex. Long, long, long. A very fine acidity. Very drinkable but will go on for 7+ years.
96p   (tasted 2017/11)

2008 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St-Jacques, Bruno Clair
The Bruno Clair shows of a tight, still young nose with notes of a lukewarm lingonberry- and blueberry pie, matchbox, tobacco and undergrowth. A fine, restrained nose.
The taste is tight and seedy with notes of ripe lingonberries, violets, sandelwood and dry tobacco. A long, warm, focused finish. Very, very good. 10 years.
92p   (tasted 2017/11)

2008 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St Jacques, Dominique Laurent
This is a negociant wine, since Laurent doesn´t own any land in Clos Saint-Jacques, but the label doesn´t give any info where the grapes come from. This is gooood.
The nose is high strung and intense, with notes of ripe raspberries, fire smoke, moist forest floor, dark flowers and plums. Very deep and fine.
The taste is deep, dark and verging on inky with great notes of violets, ripe raspberries, smoke, plums, gravel and clay. A very long, intense finish with a great acidity and mouthfeel. Will go on for 10+ years.
94p   (tasted 2017/11)

2008 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St Jacques V. V., Domaine Fourrier
This one was weird. Alongside the fine notes of ripe red fruits, herbs, smoke, licorice and forest floor there was a underlying note of herb scented pickled herring. A very nice, smooth taste with a fine acidity, but still, there is the herring touch. Judgement referred.
??   (tasted 2017/11)

2008 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St-Jacques, Armand Rousseau
Aaaah. This started out - one hour decanter time - somewhat restrained but it kept on evolving all night long. The nose is deep, concentrated and lovely with notes of beet root, nutmeg, raspberry licorice and forest floor. Very deep, very fine and very intoxicating.
The taste is refined, seedy and complex with notes of dried raspberries, bakelite, root vegetables, fir and herbs. The finish is over a minute long and sports a stunning, cleansing acidity. A great wine that will continue to evolve for 8+ years.
96p   (tasted 2017/11)

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

2013 Barolo Monfalletto, Cordero di Montezemolo

What do you drink when you come after five days in Piedmont?

Barolo of course!

2013 Barolo Monfalletto, Cordero di Montezemolo
The Monfalletto gets an upbringing in both French and Slovenian wood of different sizes. The nose is young and lively with notes of ripe red cherries, roses, gravel and lots of dry licorice. Very classical with a hint of mint inthe background. Has that 2013 energy. Lovely.
The taste is focused and fine with a mix of cherries and raspberries with seamless notes of fir wood, licorice, dried flowers and a hint of tobacco. A fine, medium long, balanced finish with finely polished tannins. Really, really good. Not for the really long haul I suspect but there is lot of enjoyment to have from this wine the coming 10 years. Info about Monfalletto here.
92p   (tasted 2017/11)

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Short Impressions From Barolo Boys First Day In Piedmot

Yesteday was a long, fun filled day for the Barolo Boys.
Up at 5, to the airport, a flight to Milan, a car drive to the hallowed land of Nebbiolo, a visit to Bartolo Mascarello, a visit to Giacomo Conterno, a quick visit to Alba for some wine buying and then a long dinner at La Coccinella with Maria Teresa Mascarello. All during a crisp, beautiful autumn day.

Life is good.

Tasting notes to follow.

Monday, 30 October 2017

A Faithful Old Servant - 2015 Periquita, José Maria Da Fonseca

When did I first drink a bottle of Periquita? 1984? 1986? 1989? I don´t recall but it was a looong time ago. Since then I have drunk many vintages. It has had its ups and downs, mostly ups from my recollection though. I still have some magnums from the 90´s tucked away.
A every day drinker and a real bargain at 7 Euro.
A tasting sample from The Wine Agency.

2015 Periquita, José Maria da Fonseca
A cool, petite, peppery nose with notes of bluberries, gravel and herbs. Light, open and very nice.
The taste is medium bodied and fresh with notes of crowberries, dry tapenade, gravel and some low keyed but still rugged tannins. A very good food wine - was drunk with a roasted chicken, garlic sauce and root vegetables - and it worked great. First wine drunk after almost a week long cold. Tomorrow I head to Langhe with the Barolo Boys!
86p   (tasted 2017/10)

Saturday, 28 October 2017

1997 Shiraz, Ingleburne Estate

This McLaren Shiraz was drunk with some juicy burgers a couple of weeks ago.

1997 Shiraz, Ingleburne Estate
An open, warm but not overly so, nose with yummy notes of plums, asphalt, sugared coffee, star anise and licorice. A fine depth with some maturity. Bonfire scents and meat stock with some time in the glass. Very good.
The taste is structured and rich with notes of Finnish licorice, ripe blueberries, warm gravel and some dark mint. A long, warm, round finish with still a nice bite to it. Mature, yes, but this could be kept for another 5+ years. Went perfectly with the grilled burgers.
88p   (tasted 2017/10)

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

A Hideous Wine - 2011 Limited Edition Syrah 1865, San Pedro

I have said it before, I am lucky. For the most of the time I taste and drink good, great & gorgeous wines. Sometimes "interesting" wines.
But every now and again....something really nasty appears.
This was such a bottle. I had read good things about it and ordered a bottle (25 Euro). I wish I hadn´t, most of it was poured down the drain.

2011 Limited Edition Syrah 1865, San Pedro
The nose is a in-your-face kind of style with over the top notes of VA, melted asphalt, burning table tennis balls (trust me, I have first hand knowledge of that smell), violets drenched in bad hard liquor, rotting flowers, burning rubber and lots of ink. Unbalanced. Lots of VA.
The taste is big and foursquare with lots of grain alcohol and notes of burning tar, violet liquor, old rosemary and lots of wood. A very long, fiery finish which, and that is the only redemming part of this wine, ends with a nice dryness. Don´t know what will become of this with age, but I´m not going to find out. Saved for two days and it didn´t change at all.
60p   (tasted 2017/10)

Monday, 23 October 2017

1922 Boal Reserva, d´Olivieras (?)

My mother in law turned 95 a couple of days ago and when the family celebrated her this weekend I opened this bottle (among others). Bought at auction some years ago with the information - "believed to be

1922 Boal Reserva, d´Olivieras (?)
A very, very deep, intense and complex nose with stunning notes of pan fried nuts, nail polish, dried figs, old leather, cranberries, mature banana peel, old flower water, red tea - the scents are just oozing up from the glass, one more sublime and interesting than the previous one. A poster child for a multi layered nose. Breathtaking,
The taste is thick as motor oil, while at the same time light as a feather and with an intensity that is of the charts. The finish goes on for minutes. Old wrinkled red apples, furniture oil, assorted nuts, dry caramel and dark dusty chocolate are just some of the notes that caresses the palate. The acidity is searing through everything, leaving the taste buds wanting more, and more. Magic in a bottle.
98p   (tasted 2017/10)

Saturday, 21 October 2017

A Half Bottle Of 1952 Rioja Gran Reserva, Bodegas Berberana

Sometimes a half bottle is just right...

1952 Rioja Gran Reserva, Bodegas Berberana
A whiff of some funk when its poured, but it only needs 15 minutes breathing time before it displays a round, mature nose with a fine dried up sweetness and aromas of autumn leaves, dried strawberries, old leather, matchbox and root vegetables. A very fine warmth. For a 65 year old wine, and from a half bottle, it is in really good health.
The taste is velvety, soft and mature with notes of warm rocks, dried strawberries, smoke and dry minty notes. A medium long, elegant finish that ends with a fine dryness. Really, really good.
89p   (tasted 2017/10)

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Two Days In Piedmont - Enoteca Regionale Del Barolo

View of part of Bussia from our hotel
Bussia grapes

Before my visit to Marchesi di Barolo I had an hour to spare. I went to the regional Enoteca in Barolo and tasted through some more 13 Baroli.

2013 Barolo Bricco Luciana, Cascina del Monastero
A fine, earthy note with notes of strawberries, dried flowers, herbs and with a fine warmth.
The taste is young, tight and fresh with notes of red cherries, licorice and earth. Very good in a old school way.
90p   (tasted 2017/08)

2013 Barolo, Oddero
A dark, deep nose with notes of forest floor, ripe strawberries and a touch of chocolate.
The taste is big and broad with notes of dark undergrowth, candle grease, cherry jam and minerals. Long and very good.
88p   (tasted 2017/08)

2013 Barolo Ravera, Elvio Cogno
A finely tuned, multi layered nose with notes of dark earth, licorice, black currants and rosehips.
The taste is concentrated and fine with notes of ripe cherry fruit, tobacco and a tiny touch of stables. Very long and very promising.
92p   (tasted 2017/08)

2013 Barolo Panerole, Franco Conterno
A large scaled, warm nose with notes of cranberries, fried herbs, rosehips and forest floor.
The taste is big and brawny with notes of ripe lingonberries, red cherries, warm roses and licorice. A good earthy note. Not as high and energetic as many of 13´s but very, very good.
88p   (tasted 2017/08)

2013 Barolo Sarmassa, Brezza
A fresh, open, light nose with notes of strawberries, potatoe water, earth and rosehips. Very fine.
The taste is tight and good with cool red berry fruit, licorice, saw dust and tobacco. Long and fine.
88p   (tasted 2017/08)

2013 Barolo Castellero, Fratelli Barale
I have tried some nice, old school Barale´s in my days, but this isn´t one of them. The nose is a tad murky with notes of (over)ripe raspberries, moist earth and some dog fur.
The taste is steady and four squared with notes of dry tannins and red cherries in alcohol with some dry licorice and some alcohol in the finish. A tad unbalanced. From an almost full bottle, so it hadn´t been standing there for long.
79p   (tasted 2017/08)

2013 Barolo Castelletto, Mauro Veglio
A lovely, fruity, balanced nose with notes of ripe cherries, licorice, moccha and dark flowers. Very deep and fine.
The taste is long, multi layered and concentratd with notes of raspberries, tobacco, dried flowers and violets. Long and lingering. Lovely.
92p   (tasted 2017/08)