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.
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)
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)
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 not) 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 hint 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)