Barbaresco Wine Festival 14-15 October 2006
I've also included the names of the wines we didn't taste (The brains of the operation wasn't feeling great, so we had to cut short the tasting). Had we known beforehand, we'd have skipped this and headed over to the mature wines tasting over in the towns enoteca (It was €8, whilst the Wine festival tasting was €20 - I'm pretty sure we made the wrong choice
). The other wines are included to give you an idea of what else was there (in case you fancy heading over to this event in the future)
I'm conscious that I've not put much in the way of like/dislike in the text. Certainly no points. Sorry about this - I wrote what I wrote and if gassing to winemaker/rep, then it wasn't a lot
Very strong fruit and still firm tannin. Great balance.
Rich expressive nose including more than a hint of cough sweets. Softer tannins and good acidity.
"Borgese" 2003 Not tasted
"San Stefanetto" 2003 Not tasted
"Asili" 2003 Not tasted
"Valgrande" 2003 Not tasted
"Marcarini" 2003 Not tasted
"Pian Cavallo" 2001 Not tasted
"Pian Cavallo" 2003 Not tasted
"Gallina" 2003 Not tasted
Cantina del Glicine
"Marcorino" 2003 Not tasted
"Cura" 2001 Not tasted
Cantina del Pino
"Ovello" 2003 Not tasted
"Canova" 2003 Not tasted
Cascina delle Rose
"Rio Sordo" 2001
Subtle Nose with a nicely balanced palate. Not overly complex
"Rio Sordo" 2002
Slightly odd musty nose. Finish is short. Poor
"Rio Sordo" 2003
Quite stinky nose, with much richer fruit
"Bricco Libero" 2003
(Barrique aged) Aromatically closer to the La Gemma. Quite fruit-sweet for Barbaresco, with some mintiness and distinctive pencil shavings. Bit new-worldy?
"Sori Loreto" 2003
(Tonneaux aged) Very Floral nose, more of a flow to the palate than the other two. Firm tannins, but somewhat soft acidity.
"La Gemma" 2003
Warming rich menthol nose and a good depth of colour. Good length though this seems more in “steps” than a smooth progression.
Castello di Verduno
"Rabaja" 2001 Not tasted
“Rabaja" 2002 Not tasted
"Faset" 2001 Not tasted
"Bricco Asili Bernardot" 1998
Farmyardy nose, but with sweet fruit. Quite complex with firm acidity. Good length finish, but fruit slightly hidden.
"Bricco Asili Bernardot" 2003
Smoky nose, light but sweet cherry fruit and relatively light tannin. Perhaps a little simple but drinking well.
"Asij" 2001 Not tasted
"Vigne Erte" 2002 Not tasted
"Vigne Erte" 2003 Not tasted
"Serraboella" 2003 Not tasted
Not ageing well. Not enough complexity or structure
More expressive and richer colour. Not great though.
Simple cherry fruit. Also disappointing
"Bric Balin" 2001 Not tasted
"Bric Balin" 2003 Not tasted
"Sori Burdin" 2001 Not tasted
Sori Burdin" 2003 Not tasted
Classic nose, but had developed strong farmyard character in the decanter. Slightly disappointing and seems to be going nowhere fast.
High toned and very (? I think fierce) acidity and tannins. Not sure of the balance in this one.
"Bric Turot" 1999
Wonderful nose and quite open, albeit with great structure. Love this.
"Bric Turot" 2000
Classy nose (no other comments noted)
"Bric Turot" 2003
Rich nose, especially for such a young wine. Very open with some vanilla.
Giordano, Luigi None tasted
"Asili" 2003 Not tasted
"Cavanna" 2003 Not tasted
“Montestefano" 2003 Not tasted
"Ausario" 2003 Not tasted
"Teorema" 2003 Not tasted
"Sori Montaribaldi" 2003 Not tasted
"Palazzina" 2003 Not tasted
Barbaresco 2001 Not tasted
Barbaresco 2003 Not tasted
Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Gresy
Lifted nose, firm grapefruity acidity. Light tannin
"Camp Gros" 2001
Minty menthol nose, high toned with softish tannins good acidity and balance
Seems to be opening up now, with a high-toned nose and a very long finish
Produttori del Barbaresco
A fruity nose but very raw and very “mouth-puckering”. Not good.
"Riserva Paje" 2000
Great nose. Rich with supporting tannins and acidity. Liked this.
"Riserva Rio Sordo" 2000
Again a rich nose, with drying tannins, but despite this quite open. Classy but perhaps one to drink young.
Rabajà di Rocca Bruno
"Caparossa" 2003 Not tasted
"Rabaja" 2003 Not tasted
"Loreto" 2003 Not tasted
"Bric Ronchi" 2003 Not tasted
"Curra" 2003 Not tasted
"Cotta" 2003 Not tasted
"Ovello" 2001 Not tasted
Ovello" 2003 Not tasted
"Morassino" 2003 Not tasted
"Nubiola" 2003 Not tasted
"Tulin" 2003 Not tasted
Surprisingly good structure, but there were some disturbing pineapple notes. Good despite this.
Good rich nose, with the richness following through on the palate. Very much up-front flavours. Tannins fierce, though acidity was softer.
Again a good nose and this had more of a warm-fruited complexity. Tannin was drying and the acidity nicely balanced.
• Tasting across different vineyards in the same year was instructive, but would need more focus (and tasting) than we gave it. Interesting nonetheless.
• Tasting different vintages of the same wine didn’t throw up too many surprises. In general the 03’s seemed very variable and I felt balance is an issue. By contrast 02’s were light and simple but often in balance (albeit with some suspicion of unhealthy grapes). Perhaps 02’s are a safer bet for drinking now. For 03’s I’d strongly recommend trying before buying. Of the older vintages, 2001 seems good and 2000 was right up there in quality terms (but that's not a common view). 1999 does seem a wonderful year, whilst 98’s (two others were tasted outside of this tasting) seem locked up very tight. 97’s also seem variable and not necessarily to my tastes.
Other Tasting Vibes
• 1999 Cantina del Pino Barbaresco and 1999 Prunotto Barbera D’Asti Costamiole were both excellent, the former with good structure, but also starting to open out to a classical barbaresco; the latter with great depth and complexity. 1999 seems to be my sort of vintage.
• A 2001 Valtellina Sforzato (no producer noted, bought from a di per di supermarket) was in general impressive and well balanced, with excellent rich (but not cloying) fruit and the 14.5% alcohol was very nicely hidden. However there was a very odd finish, like musty hay/straw, which was tolerable for us, but others might not agree.
• A Bramaterra (I think from the Lessona co-operative) was pleasant but lacking depth or structure to get excited about. More of a simple quaffer than (say) a Spanna.
• An oak-aged grappa which was palateable (not a favourite drink of mine normally).
• A Tocai Fruiliano from Schiopetto was a great aperitif and worth seeking out again (though the doc name is being forcibly changed IIRC)
• 2003 Patrizi Barbaresco which was cheap as anything, but really a very lean wine – though at least it did show some typicity. Cheap quaffing Barbaresco is a strange concept though.
• 1998 Radikon Merlot was shockingly expensive (€10 a glass, €40-50 a bottle) for a wine with so little character. IMO one of those bizarrely ambitious instances of pricing you see in Italy at times. A dull wine at a daft price.
• A 2001 Col D’Orcia Rosso di Montalcino was satisfyingly reliable and priced very fairly.
• Barolo Chinato (forget the producer) was very much to my tastes, with a good rich complex palate and a very dry bitter finish that is pretty similar in the soft drink “Chinotto” (which I also like). Paid over the odds for a half-litre bottle (Cocchi) from the duty-free shop (no bargains there, often ~30-40% above shop price)
As a result of leaving the tasting at lunchtime, we ended up having time to walk through the vineyards and covered a fair few KM's including Rio Sordo and Rabaja vineyards. Well worth setting time aside to do this if you make it over there.
Turin is IMO a great Italian city. This was my third trip there and it's interesting to see the changes. On the 1st trip ~ 10 years ago, there were very few tourists - a local seemed shocked that we'd come to (in his words) the Italian version of Coventry (perhaps Detroit, but without Motown, is the US equivalent). They're much more tourist aware now, but it's nowhere near as neutered as the more famous Italian tourist destinations. Aperitivo hour is a great institution where for the price of a glass of wine or beer, you get to graze on a great finger buffet (in loads of bars). If you want to head over there, think about attending the Salone del Gusto festival of food and wine (running again in two years time). If you do, book well in advance! I've jotted some Turin travel notes on a previous thread if you're interested.
Alba and the Roero/Langhe wine growing regions is as beautiful as any other picturesque wine region. However what impressed me greatly was the very high standard of food (being noticeably better than the average in Italy is no mean achievement). The market had food of stunning quality, as did the truffle market (which includes other artisanal products). I'm not a great one for eating pizza in Italy (the rest of the food is usually more appealing), but the quality of the pizza in a local trattoria/pizzeria in Corneliano D'Alba was stunning. This was just a simple place, serving locals (tourists don't usually venture too far into the Roero) supposedly everyday food. Their pizza was possibly the best I've tasted in Italy.
We're planning to head back to the wine regions one springtime. Autumn is 'peak' season because of the truffles (and nice they are too), but spring is always a great time to visit Italy and the Roero produces Alpine strawberries during spring, so it seems like it might be a good time to hire a car and travel around, visiting the wineries.