13 wine grower visits. 134 wines tasted and drunk. 81 Baroli. Lots of Arneis, Dolcetto, Barbera. Carne Cruda, Tajarin, Plin, Coniglio, Pannacotta...
That is the result of The Barolo Boys last visit to the sacred land of Piedmont. Four full days and two, almost, half days. This report will start with the beginning and the end.
I land in Milano on Wednesday afternoon and getting picked up by one of the Barolo Boys. Too late in the day for a winery visit but why not make a visit to one of the best restaurants in Langhe?
Trattoria La Coccinella is already a favourite of ours and we visited it twice on this journey. They have all the traditional dishes that makes Piedmont great but they also have impressing fish dishes, even a whole tasting menu dedicated to fish and seafood. I usually pick and choose from the two menus.
We started of with the go-to white grape of Langhe, Arneis. They were out of Bruno Giacosa´s version (our favourite!) so we ordered a bottle of
2016 Blangè Arneis, Ceretto
A fine, open, spicy nose with notes of fresh flowers, melon and gravel. Very nice.
The taste is dry and fine with notes of passionfruit, almond paste and minerals. A fine acidity. Medium long and good.
87p (tasted 2017/05)
I drank it to raw pieces of the freshest fish imaginable.
But the Ceretto was not enough for us so we ordered in another bottle of Arneis, the
2016 Bricco delle Ciliegie Arneis, Giovanni Almondo
A different creature compared to the Ceretto, much stonier and gravelly with notes of green apples, grass and minerals. Racy and fine.
The taste is dry and tight with a refreshing acidity and notes of apples, dried peach and lots of minerals. Very, very good.
90p (tasted 2017/05)
By the way, 2016 seems to be a great vintage for the whites of Langhe, we tastes a bunch of different grapes from different producers and all them were crisp, pure and juicy. Notes to follow.
After the fresh starter I opted for plin di coniglio as primi and then a succulent veal dish - so good that I had it on our second visit!
By this time I had been in Langhe for a couple of hours hours and I needed a Nebbiolo! After browsing through the wine list (which is solid and very good) we agreed upon a bottle of
2007 Barolo Bric dël Fiasc, Paolo Scavino
Oooh boy, this is good! A wonderful open, a bit matured and rich nose with notes of dark cherries, licorice, sunwarm rocks and worn leather. A fine depth. This is really fine.
The taste is still rather tight but with some time in the glass it opens up with beautiful fruit, a very fine warmth and still some sappy tannins. Violets, cherries, rosehips en masse! Drinking great but has structure for further aging.
95p (tasted 2017/05)
Jumping five days ahead - its Monday morning and we only have time for one winery visit and a early lunch before going to the airport. 9.30 sharp we rang the doorbell at the Sandrone estate. We were shown the new, extended cellar before we headed to the tasting room.
2015 Nebbiolo d´Alba Valmaggiore
The Valmaggiore is always a favourite of mine. The 15 shows cool, ripe cherries, autumn leaves, tobacco and warm gravel on the nose. A fine depth. Very nice.
The taste is juicy and fresh with notes of red and black cherries, licorice, undergrowth and a bit of leather. Silky tannins. Could be drunk now with pleasure but wait 3-5 years for more complexity.
91p (tasted 2017/05)
2013 Barolo Le Vigne
A handsome, polished nose with notes of sour/sweet cherries, licorice, forest floor and a hint of wood. A deep, perfumed nose. Very, very fine.
The taste is young, tight and seedy with notes of dried cherries, violets, mushrooms and roses. A long, spicy finish. Lovely.
93p (tasted 2017/05)
2013 Barolo Aleste
The Cannubi Boschis with a new name, Luciano´s dedication to his grandchildren Alessia and Stefano. The nose is very deep, concentrated and a tad withdrawn with fine notes of ripe red cherries, ceps, moist earth, raspberry licorice and sweet minerals. This is truly fine.
The taste is tight and focused with notes of tobacco, red and black cherries, dried strawberries and undergrowth. A long, long finish with perky tannins. This will need at least 6+ years.
95p (tasted 2017/05)
After this, our last visit, we headed up towards Milano but stayed on the way for lunch. A new place for me - Ristorante del Belbo da Bardon. Old style, Piedmontes cooking with no fuss and great, deep flavours. And a great wine list!
I had my favourite starter, the Carne Crudo and this was the best one of the whole trip. Pure veal meat on the plate and then olive oil, salt and pepper, that you decide how much you want. The meat melts on the tongue. For main dish (no primi this time, we had to catch a plane...) - Coniglio! The juicy meat fell from the bone when I touched it - a great dish.
To go along we thought it would be suitable to end our trip with one more bottle from Sandrone, which we just left.
2010 Barolo Le Vigne, Sandrone
What a way to end this trip! The nose of this seven year old Le Vigne is a dream, with notes of crushed cherries, dark roses, forest floor, cigarr smoke and Oriental spices. A touch of maturity. Very deep. This is truly fine.
The nose is tight and balanced with notes of dried raspberries, tobacco, ceps and licorice. The finish goes on for over a minute and ends with a fine grip, yet it invites you to take sip after sip. This is lip smacking good. Great wine!
96p (tasted 2017/05)
Then we were of to the airport. We will be back soon!
The Barolo Boys In Piedmont - October 2016: