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Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:07 pm


Helsinki, Finland

WTN: Borgogno Barolo 1943-1990

by Otto » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:27 pm

All of these wines had a red capsule - so they were NOT the late release versions!


1943 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva Antichi Vigneti Propri
Amazingly seductive aromas of tobacco and flowers. Nice brightness of fruit; good structure with tangy acidity and mature but not at all too old fruit. This is just a heartbreakingly beautiful wine. It still has such nerve and energy that it cannot be mistaken for anything else than Barolo, yet it still has all the goodies of "old wine". So perhaps this is the perfect time to drink this: It shows its geography and grape; and it shows its age. And it shows both these aspects in such a perfect Platonic harmony that I feel like I'm in the Ideal world. This '43 and the '47, '55, '58, '61, '64, '67 and '71 were all truly great wines. Was this tasting an embarrassment of riches? Perhaps, but I'm still happy that I got to try even such small samples of these wines.

1947 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva Antichi Vigneti Propri
A very dark colour for a Nebbiolo of this age: not orange but a clear red. Some yoghurt on the nose, but mostly tea and tar and a subdued red fruitiness. Sweet and very ripe, this has a great sweetness of fruit and relatively low acidity on the mid-palate; it is a very full bodied wine. The finish gladly shows a better freshness and acidity than the mid-palate so it is ultimately a very refreshing and even profound wine. Awesome.

1955 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva Antichi Vigneti Propri
A somewhat divisive wine in the tasting since a few people thought it was corked. I did get a bit of musty stink on the first couple sniffs, but since it cleared up in a couple minutes and because, despite its age, there was no shortage of fruit and most importantly because I fell in love with the wine and thought it was awesome I feel fairly confident that it wasn't corked. This was a very aromatic and peachy wine. The palate was electric and bracing but the sweet and peachy fruitiness provided a counterpoint to the structure. (There really was too much fruit for this to be corked IMO!) The finish was wonderfully clean and moreish. Apart from the couple first sniffs, I thought this was pretty awesome.

1958 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva Antichi Vigneti Propri
A fantastic aroma: bright but mature fruit, good amounts of tar. Lively acidity, incredible crunch, fantastic length. Brilliant wine.

1961 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva Antichi Vigneti Propri
This is a huge and concentrated wine. There is something lactic and sour (i.e. yoghurt) on the nose but it is obviously Nebbiolo and despite the lingonberry tartness it is obviously also very ripe. Very concentrated, even thick, but it has wonderful balance and acidity and the finish is - if I may quote a cliché usually reserved for great red Burgundy - a peacock's tail. Lovely.

1964 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva Antichi Vigneti Propri
Lovely tar, citrus and red fruit aromas. Ripe but wonderfully structured with both high acidity and still, despite the bottle age, quite a bit of tannin. Impeccable balance. Lovely. If a representative bottle, there's no hurry with this wine.

1966 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva Antichi Vigneti Propri
A very fresh, open, seductive and sweet(!) aroma - this wasn't the masculine, hard, brutish style I expected from the producer but was instead quite a delicate and pretty and aromatic wine. It has some sweetness to the fruit and lovely, highish acidity and is quite intense but as far as the producer's style goes this is a relatively "feminine" wine. And just like almost all the wines in this tasting, it is absolutely wonderful.

1967 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva Antichi Vigneti Propri
The first striking thing about is that after all those aged, orange coloured wines this was a clear red colour. There is some bottle stink that blows off quickly. It has lovely peachy and floral aromatics and some darker undertone to provide a nice, firm bass line (I hesitate to call it tar despite the jargon associated with the grape because it wasn't that assertive and pungent an aroma). Outstanding intensity and savoury, tangy fruit - it seems rather young, actually, and still has a fair bit of tannin! An outstanding wine and if this bottle is representative (no great old wines, etc.), there is no hurry with it.

1968 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva Antichi Vigneti Propri
This had a very strange smell of burnt sugar and black tea. It was relatively light in body but intense. This certainly was one of the weakest wines in the tasting but it still was attractive.

1969 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva Antichi Vigneti Propri
Smelling this I was sure this was a Norwegian Blue (beautiful plumage, innit?). The palate wasn't pushing up the daisies but was still lively and actually very attractive with resolved structure and mouthwatering acidity and even some savoury, mature fruit. It is a bit short and was completely eclipsed by most other wines this evening - but even so it still brought great pleasure (well...the palate did; I can't understand how the nose could be that of a dead wine but the palate is still so vigorous!).

1970 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva Antichi Vigneti Propri
Another beautifully aromatic wine but this was a little overshadowed by the 1971 next to it. But it was wonderfully perfumed with all the stereotypical Nebbiolo goodies and a sweet, peachy fruitiness. Sweet and relatively light and un-powerful, but it still had a lovely tangy and mature fruit. Very nice.

1971 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva
With the 1971 we got to what IMO was the youngest of the truly great wines of the tasting (not that there was anything wrong with the younger wines - they were very nice, but this one was a "fuck-me-this-is-good" -type of wine!). Classic mature Barolo aromas of a rather stern kind. The sternness continues on the palate: this is a powerful wine with still lots of structure and a wonderful combination of juicy and tangy sensations. Impeccable balance and an interminable finish. I wish I had a case or three of this.

1973 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva
This is another supposedly weak vintage but just like the 1983, the wine is lovely. There is a lovely mix of sweetness and slight volatility that brought Musar to my mind even though it smells of stereotypically of all the Nebbiolo lovelies like tar and flowers. It has a lovely freshness on the palate and wonderfully mouthwatering acidity and a finish that keeps on gaining in intensity. But despite all this, it wasn't as complex as many others in the tasting. But it was a lovely wine that is drinking really well now.

1974 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva
A dark, brooding wine that smelled of tar and tobacco and rye bread. This is powerful wine with still quite a bit of tannins, high acidity and great intensity and incredible tang on the interminable finish. Good wine but I did prefer the more aromatic vintages of Borgogno in this tasting - in this one the aroma seemed a bit lacking in all the excitement that old Barolo can have but the palate was great. But it still was a very nice wine even though I preferred others.

1983 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva
Though not considered a great year in Piemonte this was a beautiful wine. It had expressive aromatics and a surprising amount of sweetness to the fruit - it smelled of peaches! This was a relatively gentle wine for Borgogno and its structure was fully resolved but it had retained a good deal of intensity. Lovely.

1988 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo
Much better aroma than the 1990 but still some oxidative character, but also some nice tea aromas. Wonderfully lively and bright and still tannic. Nice!

1990 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo
An inauspicious start to a Borgogno tasting: it smelled too old; but the palate was very ripe with almost raisiny sensations to the fruit and still a huge amount of tannin. Probably just not a good bottle.
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.
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Anders Källberg


Wine guru




Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:48 am


Stockholm, Sweden

Re: WTN: Borgogno Barolo 1943-1990

by Anders Källberg » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:12 pm

Great tasting, Otto! From where had all these bottles been acquired? We had a tasting with a similar time span here in Stockholm last year, but with "only" 8 bottles. I need to look for my notes to compare with your impressions, but I do remember that the oldest vintages were the most impressive, and in many cases even still quite youthful! Had the '47 twice last year and it was great both times, although there were some issues with cork taint, in one case on a disastrous level.
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Tim York


Wine guru




Tue May 09, 2006 3:48 pm


near Lisieux, France

Re: WTN: Borgogno Barolo 1943-1990

by Tim York » Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:36 am

What a treat!!

I had a couple of Borgognos from the 80s which I thought excellent about 10 years ago. Who is making in this style nowadays?
Tim York

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