November Wine Focus: The wines of Piemonte

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November Wine Focus: The wines of Piemonte

Postby Robin Garr » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:25 pm

Bring out your Barolos and Barbarescos, and that's not all! We'll consider all the wines of Piemonte ("foothills"), the large, diverse region that makes up much of northwestern Italy's shoulder where it butts up against Alpine France and a bit of Switzerland.

Piemonte may be best known for those two powerful, ageworthy and often expensive "B" reds made from the great Nebbiolo grape; but there's much more here, and we're open to it all this month, from Barolo and Barbaresco through Spanna, Barbera, Dolcetto, even Freisa, and even the sweet and often fizzy whites, Moscato and more.

Whatever's your pleasure from Piemonte this month, bring it, and bring your comments and questions, and we'll hope for an active month filled with good conversation and TNs.
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2011 Langhe Nebbiolo

Postby Rahsaan » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:06 am

Have recently been enjoying the 2011 Produttori del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolo. Down here it is a bit over $20, but elsewhere it is under $20. Either way, it is worth every penny and fine QPR.

Definitely ripe and plenty of dark fruit, but so easy to drink. A friendly young nebbiolo that is easy to pour for crowds! With air the fine tannins emerge and the floral details peek out, so it has some interest, but for me the main value is its easy pleasure.
Last edited by Rahsaan on Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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2009 Vajra

Postby Rahsaan » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:15 am

On the other hand, the 2009 Vajra Barolo Albe is a lot tighter and benefits from a double decant. It has a plump core of delicious fruit and a much more focused and precise frame than the Produttori Langhe nebbiolo, all as one would expect. A nice wine that is very fun at the table, gets more integrated with air, and is probably more approachable than their other Barolo cuvees (I haven't had them in 09), but nonetheless has its own future ahead.
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Re: November Wine Focus: The wines of Piemonte

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:29 pm

Well, I just picked up two candidates for sacrifice on the altar of this month's wine gods:

* Rocca 2009 Barolo, a $13.99 special at Trader Joe's. I do not bring high expectations to this wine, and a mixed bag of reports on CellarTracker suggests that I'm probably wise not to save it for a special occasion.
http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=1584849
Still, it ought to be drinkable. I've found that TJ's crazier-sounding bargains are usually at least "good enough for dinner."

* Cascina Ca' Rossa 2010 Langhe Nebbiolo, $19.99 at Whole Foods. I hope I'm happy. Couple of nice reports from CellarTracker on the 2009.

Any of you have thoughts on these wines? Do any of you have thoughts based on actual tasting? :mrgreen:
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08 Verduno Barbaresco

Postby Rahsaan » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:31 am

Tonight we had the 2008 Castello di Verduno Barbaresco with dinner and it was absolutely delicious. Tight upon opening but it blossomed fairly quickly and was a divine match with a somewhat un-Piedmontesque dinner of stewed chickpeas, sauteed eggplant, roasted butternut squash and barley all brought together with a sauce of tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and olives. Delicious times delicious times. The wine is structured and nicely framed with more than enough fruit and floral detail to keep my mouth and mind engaged. By no means a blockbuster, but a fun fun time. Buy more.
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2006 Conterno d"Alba Cascina Francia Barbera

Postby Clint Hall » Sat Nov 02, 2013 2:20 am

When will our case of 2006 Cascina Francia Barbera come into its best drinking window? I asked winemaker Roberto Conterno when he dropped into town four years ago. Wait a year or so, Roberto suggested. I did, and his advice paid off. A year later, the wine had lost some of its pleasant flowers and blackfruits but gained complexity. At dinner tonight, three years after that, it was now in a tar-leather-earthy stage, with hints of bacon, and just enough acid to companion our juicy pork chops. A perfect match. We love the wine in its current stage but may hang onto our final bottle for a couple of years more to see what happens, but that's a gamble, as my luck with aging Barberas, including some of the better Piemonte ones, has genrally been terrible. Yet there are exceptions, at least for mid-term aging, as this delicious Conterno proved tonight.
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Re: November Wine Focus: The wines of Piemonte

Postby Drew Hall » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:06 am

2003 Parusso Barbera d'Alba Superiore

My original post on 12/12:
A truly wonderful wine for the money paid. Purchased from Last Bottle at $17 per it drinks like a much higher priced wine. Dark in the glass, flavors of dark cherry, blackberry, tar, dark chocolate, mineral and a tad of funk. Really nice medium to full body, well balanced, smooth and lush with good acid and just a touch of oak.
14.5% Alc/vol

Opened another yesterday. Drop dead delicious! Everything above with the addition of an expansive nose of flowers which continued into this evening with the 2nd half of the bottle. Very rich in the mouth with expressive tar/licorice notes and enough acidity to force another sip. Glad to have 6 more.

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Re: November Wine Focus: The wines of Piemonte

Postby Clint Hall » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:45 am

Drew, your long-lived 2003 Parusso Barbera is obviously a great bargain. I'll keep an eye out for the current release, 2011, although I don't expect to buy it for anything like $17. Still the 2011 Parusso is a relative bargain, somewhere in the neighborhood of ten bucks cheaper than the 2011 Conterno.

But I hope the discussion Drew and I are having doesn't cause anyone to rush down to Trader Joe's and buy seventeen buck Barberas with the expectation of drinking them happily a decade from now.
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Re: November Wine Focus: The wines of Piemonte

Postby win_fried » Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:33 am

No proper tasting notes, but I think I should report on last weeks Saturday night dinner, although it still was in October.

A friend of ours, a couple of years ago, had been given a bottle of 1997 Sandiliano Barolo which had been sitting in his cellar, which he was afraid might be improper. Since 1997 was a very good year we decided to have a Nebbiolo dinner. I complemented this not very prominent Barolo with a 1999 Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo Collis Breclemae, Ghemme and a 2004 Elio Grasso Gavarini Vigna Chiniera Barolo.

For dinner we had Risotto ai funghi porcini and then slowly roasted haunch of venison with root vegetables and mashed potatoes with root celery.

The Sandiliano was in perfect shape, in color the lightest of the trio by far, and actually ended the winner with the risotto. It clearly was better than expected and had all these nice tertiary notes you hope for from an aged Barolo. With the venison I preferred the Ghemme, which was a lot darker and still quite rustic. The Elio Grasso may have been too young. The oak was a bit dominant, and we liked it best on its own.

All in all a very nice experience.

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Re: November Wine Focus: The wines of Piemonte

Postby Jenise » Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:27 pm

Clint Hall wrote:Drew, your long-lived 2003 Parusso Barbera is obviously a great bargain. I'll keep an eye out for the current release, 2011, although I don't expect to buy it for anything like $17. Still the 2011 Parusso is a relative bargain, somewhere in the neighborhood of ten bucks cheaper than the 2011 Conterno.

But I hope the discussion Drew and I are having doesn't cause anyone to rush down to Trader Joe's and buy seventeen buck Barberas with the expectation of drinking them happily a decade from now.


We enjoyed a 2006 Parusso Barbera about 8 or 9 months back and were similarly impressed.
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Re: November Wine Focus: The wines of Piemonte

Postby Dave Erickson » Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:36 pm

How about a rosé of nebbiolo?
2011 Caves de Donnas "Larmes du Paradis" Valle d'Aosta DOC Rosé: On the nose, citrus, strawberry, and a bit of yellow fruit. In the mouth, red fruit, apple, and lots of tannins. If you like your rosé very dry, you'll like this a lot. A pink wine for manly men. The Caves Coopératives de Donnas, a co-op in operation since 1971, is in the southeastern corner of the Aosta appellation, just above the border with Piemonte. They produce a mere 12,500 cases a year of reds, whites, and rosés. The town of Donnas was settled by the Romans--it has a stone arch carved out during the First Century--and is known for a climate mild enough to allow the cultivation of lemon trees as well as grapevines. It once had it's own tiny DOC, but has since been absorbed into the larger Valle d'Aosta DOC.
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Re: November Wine Focus: The wines of Piemonte

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:02 am

WTN: 2009 Matteo Correggia Barbera d`Asti.

Had a glass at downtown winebar before a Port tasting. This medium ruby red wine had tar, cherry and red fruits with some pepper and mineral. Medium bodied but it is rich in flavors and fruits, little bit of spiciness and good balance with medium length, spicy finish, nice acidity. "Think it might use some more time to knit together" from across the table. Good QPR, $18 on the shelf at DeVines.
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2010 Sopra Berruti Barbera d'Asti L'Armangia

Postby JC (NC) » Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:26 pm

14% abv. Very darkly colored and opaque. Dark plum or black currant notes along with a lifted note (more so the first evening), herbal notes of dried leaves. Some fine sediment. Quite mellow and easy drinking the second evening open. I ordered several bottles after enjoying this at a tasting of Italian wines. I don't have enough experience with Barbera or Nebbiolo grape in general to know if this is typical in its varietal character.
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WTN: 2006 Wind Gap Wines Nebbiolo

Postby David M. Bueker » Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:56 pm

Not quite Piemonte, but a fine effort with Nebbiolo in the new world:

2006 Wind Gap Wines Nebbiolo Luna Matta & Glen Rose Vineyards - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (11/9/2013)
The new vintage of Wind Gap Nebbiolo has shipped, so why not open my one and only bottle of the 2006. It's certainly got those Nebbiolo tannins, as well as bright, fresh berry fruit. Some floral and road tar elements come through with a bit of air, and overall it's very true to the variety. A little straightforward right now, but I'm drinking it too soon. There is plenty of fruit and tannin to allow it to age for a few years. I'll just have to be patient with the newest vintage. Well done Pax!
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Re: WTN: 2006 Wind Gap Wines Nebbiolo

Postby Rahsaan » Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:42 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Not quite Piemonte, but a fine effort with Nebbiolo in the new world:

2006 Wind Gap Wines Nebbiolo Luna Matta & Glen Rose Vineyards - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (11/9/2013)
The new vintage of Wind Gap Nebbiolo has shipped, so why not open my one and only bottle of the 2006. It's certainly got those Nebbiolo tannins, as well as bright, fresh berry fruit. Some floral and road tar elements come through with a bit of air, and overall it's very true to the variety. A little straightforward right now, but I'm drinking it too soon. There is plenty of fruit and tannin to allow it to age for a few years. I'll just have to be patient with the newest vintage. Well done Pax!


Nice. For some reason I'm skeptical about nebbiolo in California as it just sounds out of place. But those are probably ill-founded prejudices and I trust you that this is worth drinking.
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Re: November Wine Focus: The wines of Piemonte

Postby Clint Hall » Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:20 am

Rahasaan, David's California Nebbiolo reminds me of a 2003 Cavatappi Nebbiolo from Washington State I poured as a ringer at a blind tasting of Barolos and Barbarescos for my wine club a few years ago. The Cavatappi turned out to be the wine of the night, rated number one by five of the club's eight members, and I gave it a number two, even though I knew what it was. As I recall, the other five wines were not bad Barolos and Barbarescos.
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2007 Produttori

Postby Rahsaan » Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:32 am

This weekend I had the 2007 Produttori del Barbaresco Rio Sordo and the 2007 Produttori del Barbaresco Pora. I was curious to see how this 'accessible' vintage would show, and they were both delicious, although I will probably wait a while before opening any more bottles. Of course they were great at the table, the Rio Sordo going well with a risotto accompanied by carrots and cauliflower finished with saba and the Pora being a nice match with oyster mushroom and taleggio pizza. And, of course with extended airing the tannins clamped down.

The Rio Sordo was darker and had a more seductive firm almost-silky texture. The Pora was broader, brighter, and more floral. Not sure if that is a typical difference as I'm sure these things shape shift? So am looking forward to future bottles and getting a better handle.
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Re: November Wine Focus: The wines of Piemonte

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:25 am

Rahsaan,

I have been working my way through single bottles of the 2007 Produttori Riservas (with additonal bottles cellared), and results for all of them have been similar to yours. They start very alluring, and eventually the tannins come in and shut them down. Pora is actually in the docket for today. Montestefano and Rabaja have been my favorites so far. Rio Sordo was the most immediately drinkable (silky as you say). Asili was very hard to get a handle on. The '07 Normale was so open that I blew through the few bottles I purchased, preferring to cellar the '06 and '08 for the long term, alngside the Riservas.
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Re: November Wine Focus: The wines of Piemonte

Postby Rahsaan » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:06 pm

I'll be interested to see what you think. My bottles did need a bit of air to start showing well (especially compared to the 11 Langhe Nebbiolo that I've been drinking and which is perfect for easy entertaining of crowds) but I suppose that is to be expected. The trick is getting that right window when they've opened enough but haven't started the tannin clamp down.
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Re: November Wine Focus: The wines of Piemonte

Postby Clint Hall » Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:06 am

The Rahsaan-David exchange above inspired me this afternoon to tromp down to my cellar and check on what I have in the way of Produttori. It turned out all my Asilis, Ovellos, and Rabajas are still juveniles, but hiding among them were three entry level 2003s, an iffy year for Barbaresco, so I wondered if I should have drunk them earlier. But I gave a bottle an hour in decanter and it turned out just fine. My notes say that years ago the wine got a 91 in the Wine Advocate (from Galloni, maybe), and that sounds about right, although the pleasure tonight was in it being at a perfect point in its life. It makes me think of Nerello Mascallese, but then most modern entry level Barbarescos these days remind me of that.
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2003 Luigi Ferrando Carema "Etichetta Nera"

Postby Joy Lindholm » Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:43 pm

I was lucky enough to share a bottle of this with friends this Wednesday at a little early birthday celebration dinner. This beauty is made in the only best vintages, and only 100 of the 300 cases produced make it to the US market. So lithe and elegant - a much different expression of Nebbiolo than Barolo and Barberesco. Like the wines from Gattinara, wines from Carema tend to be softer and more approachable than those from the southern Piedmont. This wine was absolutely perfect right out of the bottle. I didn't take any notes, as we were too busy savoring it with Lamb Crépinette with beluga lentils, carrots and bok choy and Wagyu Steak with red wine braised salsify and confit shallots - a perfect match for both. It had the classic rosy and earthy aromas of Nebbiolo with bright acidity but the tannins were much softer than I usually find in Nebbiolo. This confirms my need to hunt out more "mountain Nebbiolo", especially with some age. What a delight!
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Re: 2003 Luigi Ferrando Carema "Etichetta Nera"

Postby Rahsaan » Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:49 pm

Joy Lindholm wrote:..only 100 of the 300 cases produced make it to the US market.


Sounds like a pretty good proportion for us!

And nice note, sounds fun.
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Re: November Wine Focus: The wines of Piemonte

Postby Tim York » Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:27 am

Barbaresco Gaiun Martinenga 1990 - Marchesi di Grésy - Alc.14%.

Opened with our first pheasant dish of the season, it took me a little time to come to terms with this but, unlike most "modern" wines, it got better and revealed more facets as the bottle emptied. Indeed, in spite of the advertised but unobtrusive 14% alcohol, I felt that we could have consumed another bottle if it hadn't been the last :( .

Colour was quite deep for Nebbiolo with little bricking at the rim. The nose was quite shy at first and never bloomed strongly but showed delicately spicy aromas. The palate was medium bodied at most, linear in shape and quite dark in tone. There was little primary fruit but an ample and complex expression of spices and forest floor showing marked anise and tar components with a floral glow like the scent of rose petals behind them. There was decent acidity and length with enough support from resolving tannins. I think that this wine was beginning to dry out but in its present state was elegant and fascinating. Very good/excellent.
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Re: November Wine Focus: The wines of Piemonte

Postby JC (NC) » Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:35 pm

Takeout dinner tonight from the "World's Largest Spaghetti Dinner." I will go around 6:15 PM to pick up spaghetti dinner at Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Fayetteville. Takeout goes from noon to 8:00 PM today and serves about 12,000 dinners! Greek pastries are also available. Many Greeks arrived in Fayetteville in the 50's and started restaurants here. They and the next generation oversee this massive fundraiser which supports charitable causes around town. I opened a Barbera last night which I will have with the spaghetti and report back about the wine later tonight or maybe tomorrow.
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