Sunday, 15 September 2019

2017 Dolcetto d´Alba Coste & Fossati, G. D. Vajra


2017 Dolcetto d´Alba Coste & Fossati, G. D. Vajra
A juicy, upfront Dolcetto with fine notes of ripe bluberries, black olives, iron and lots of violets. A fine depth and concentration. Very, very good.
The taste is tight and fine with silky tannins and notes of blueberry pie, iron, crisp tobacco and fine saline notes. Very long and fine. A great drink today but I venture that it will be even better in 3+ years time.
91p   (tasted 2019/08)

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

A Couple Of Days In Piedmont - Visits To Palladino & Ettore Germano


I spent the first day solely in Serralunga, with five estate visits and lunch at Centro Storico. A report from the three first visits can be found here.

Centro Storico
You must always visit Ciccio, that is the law! Compared to ten years ago, you now have to book in advance in order to get a table, especially in the busy seasons. I had done that so a table was ready and Ciccio poured me a glass of bubbly to get lunch started!


A new producer for me - yummy!



2016 Langhe Nebbiolo from Giovanni Rosso - great juice!



The heresy! :-) While having lunch, Giacomo Conterno showed up with a friend. They generously offered me a glass of this Burgundy - very young, with a kiss of oak on the nose, on the palate rich, ripe Pinot fruit 


Palladino
Piero Palladino bought this estate in 1974 and entrusted its managent to his cousin Maurilio. 45 years later I met up with Maurilio´s granddaughter Veronica who showed me the cellar and poured these fine wines.


2016 Barbera d´Alba Superiore Bricco delle Olive
A deep, upfront, juicy nose with notes of ripe raspberries, Finnish licorice, warm earth and fir wood. An elegant warmth. Very fine.
The taste is tight and concentrated with notes of moist earth, some blackberries, tobacco and tiles. Long. A very fine structure. I would venture that the 2017 could be something else.
91p   (tasted 2019/08)


2017 Nebbiolo d´Alba
A fine, warm, spicy nose with notes of iron, ripe cherries, rosehips and black olives, Very, very good.
The taste is tight and fairly concentrated with notes of bakelite, black cherries and salt licorice. Backward, needs time. Long. Very fine.
90p   (tasted 2019/08)

2015 Barolo del Comune di Serralunga
A very fine, classic nose with notes of rosehips, hard cherry candy, licorice and forest floor. Even elegant. Deep. Lovely.
The taste is taut and fine with notes of sweet/sour cherries, licorice, mushrooms and minerals. Silky tannins. Long and fine. 6+ years.
92p   (tasted 2019/08)


2015 Barolo Parafada
The Parafada showcases a deep, beautiful nose with notes of Christmas spices, rose petals, ripe red cherries and a flowery perfumed scent. Really fine.
The taste is tight and structured with notes of red cherries, chrushed rocks, spices and rosehip. Handsome tannins. Very long. 8+ years.
94p   (tasted 2019/08)


2015 Barolo Ornato
The Ornato displays a deep, tight, structured nose with notes of asphalt, rowan berries, beet root and herbs. Backward. Some furniture polish after a while. Very deep.
The taste is rich and concentrated with notes of dry licorice, dried cherries, tobacco and herbs. Chewable tannins. Very long. Very fine caged fruit. 10+ years.
93p   (tasted 2019/08)

2013 Barolo Riserva San Bernardo
Another stunner from the great vintage of 2013. The nose soars up from the glass with notes of dried up strawberry jam, dried flowers, ceps and spices. Refined and lovely.
The taste is solid and multi layered with notes of dried strawberries, spices, rose water and mushrooms. Very long and intense. Great wine. 6+ years.
94p   (tasted 2019/08)



Ettore Germano
The last visit on my first day. I thought I should have plenty of time when finishing this visit before I had to drive up to La Coccinella for dinner.
Well, 21 wines later, straight up to Serravalle!
This is and old family owned estate, started in 1856. For years and years the family sold the grapes and made wine for their own consumption. Sergio convinced this father to start bottling wines, the first Barolo vintage in 1987, and since 1993 they no longer sell any grapes but produce a range of very fine wines.
Sergio spent over two hours with me, pouring delicate wines, explaining his visions and eager to find out what I thought - in all a memorable visit!


I offered to take this with me to make some space in the cellar...


2016 Rosanna Rosé Extra Brut
This 100% Nebbiolo bubbly offers up fresh, lively nose with notes of wild strawberries, birch leaves and almonds.
The taste is dry and fine with notes of dried strawberries, gravel and hints of lavender soap. Very good. 3 gr.
87p   (tasted 2019/08)


2015 Alta Langha Extra Brut
This high altitude Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend has a pure, chalky nose with notes of lemon peel, white currants and gravel. Very fine.
The taste is energetic and fresh with notes of chalk, red currants and smoke. A very fine acidity. A low key intensity. This is really fine. 1 gr.
91p   (tasted 2019/08)

2018 Langhe Chardonnay
A nice, open nose with notes of butter cookies, yellow apples and hints of coconut. Very good.
The taste is stony and clean with notes of lemon cream, dry fudge and wet stones. A good acidity.
87p   (tasted 2019/08)


2016 Binel
A blend of 95% Chardonnay and 5% Riesling, and when I ask Sergio what he wants from the Riesling in the blend, the obvious answer is - acidity. The nose is medium deep with fine notes of fried nuts, butter cookies and hints of ripe pears. Very, very good.
The taste is tight and finely textured with notes of candied lemons, sage, chrushed rocks and smoke. Long. A very good acidity.
89p   (tasted 2019/08)

2008 Binel
Sergio then fetched a magnum of 08 Binel that had been opened three days ago. The nose displays more mature features but is still very fresh, with notes of apricots, orange peel and earth. Very fine.
The taste is deep and multi layered with notes of lemon cream, assorted nuts and smoke. A very fine structure. Long and lovely.
91p   (tasted 2019/08)


2018 Langhe Nascetta
With the tell tale nose of Nascetta, Sergio´s version offers up grass, white pepper and spices on the nose. Very, very good.
The taste is fresh and spicy with notes of white pepper, summer flowers and grass. A fine acidity. Crisp.
88p   (tasted 2019/08)

2017 Hérzu
Sergio has made this Langhe Riesling since 2005. The 17 has a fine, low key nose with notes of rubber, ripening pears and minerals. A hint of a petrol station in a distance.
The taste is young, tight and racy with notes of grey pears, slate and fine soap. A long finish with a fine acidity.
88p   (tasted 2019/08)


2016 Hérzu
The 16 Hérzu is even better with a high, lemony nose with additional notes of tangerines, diesel and smoke. Very fine.
The taste is pure and delicate with notes of lemon peel, slate, dried summer flowers and sweet minerals. Very long and fine.
91p   (tasted 2019/08)

2018 Hérzu
The youngest of the Hérzu´s has a young, fresh nose with notes of grass, birch leaves and gremolata. Very, very good.
The taste is high and refined with notes of grass, minerals, birch sap and lime peel. A very fine acidity. Needs a couple of years in the cellar
89p   (tasted 2019/08)

2018 Barbera d´Alba
A upfront and juicy nose with a fine mix of raspberries and blueberries alongside notes of licorice and warm herbs.
The taste is fruity and direct with notes of blueberry pie, licorice, fir and undergrowth. A fine finish with a very good acidity.
88p   (tasted 2019/08)


2016 Barbera d´Alba Superiore Della Madre
From 45 year old vines, this a serious Barbera, with a deep, extrovert nose with notes of Finnish licorice, wild raspberries, forest floor and veal stock. Very deep and fine.
The taste is rich and concentrated with notes of licore, ripe raspberries, violets and a hint of mint. Very long and finely structured. 6+ years.
92p   (tasted 2019/08)

2018 Langhe Nebbiolo
Light and fresh with notes of herbs, rhubarb, red currants and gravel. Very good.
The taste is fresh and light peppery with notes of rosehips, cranberries and gravel. Easy drinking and very nice.
86p   (tasted 2019/08)



2015 Barolo del Comune di Serralunga
The blend of this Normale is 60% Cerretta, 30% Prapó and 10% Lazzarito. The nose is deep and spicy with notes of hard cherry candy, herbs, paint and rosehips. Firm and fine.
The taste is spicy and fine with notes of ripe cherries, violets and asphalt. A fine structure. 4+ years.
90p   (tasted 2019/08)

2014 Barolo Prapó
A refined, light nose with fine notes of dried strawberries, earth and fine balsamic aromas. A fine dryness.
The taste is medium bodied and balanced with notes of balsamic marinated strawberries, earth and dried flowers. For drinking now and the coming 5+ years.
91p   (tasted 2019/08)


2014 Barolo Cerretta
A deep, old school nose with notes of damp earth, dog fur, Christmas spices and red cherries. Very fine in a restrained way.
The taste is tight and concentrated with notes of earth, dried cherries, candle-grease and herbs. Very long and with a fine intensity. 4+ years.
92p   (tasted 2019/08)

2015 Barolo Prapó
A cool, tight, energetic nose with notes of ripe lingonberries, warm tiles, earth and rosehips. Very, very good. A fine laid back warmth.
The taste is multi layered and seedy with notes of violets, hard cherry candy and minerals. Very long and structured. Really fine. 6+ years.
93p   (tasted 2019/08)


2015 Barolo Cerretta
The 15 Cerretta is a gem. The nose is laid back, concentrated and high with notes of ripe cherries, furniture polish, violets and asphalt. Very pure and fine.
The taste is handsome, pure and vigorous with notes of perfect cherries, some tobacco, tiles and rosehips. Sweet tannins. Long and lovely. 8+ years.
95p   (tasted 2019/08)

2015 Barolo Vignarionda
Atto A Dare - Not Really Ready. From 4 years old vines, this shows lots of promise for vintages ahead. The nose is deep and tight with notes of red plums, cool tobacco and a hint of mint. Very fine.
The taste is seedy and fine with notes of red currants, bakelite, tobacco and ripe flowers. A very fine balance. Very long. 5+ years.
93p   (tasted 2019/08)



2014 Langhe Nebbiolo VR
Not really a Vignarionda, but the VR on the label gives away the origin of the grapes. The nose is medium deep, finely focused with notes of red currants, dry tobacco, a hint of mint and gravel.
The taste is dry and tight with notes of red currants, almond paste, herbs and bakelite. Long and fine. For drinking now and the coming 4+ years.
90p   (tasted 2019/08)

2012 Barolo Riserva Lazzarito
From 1 ha, the Lazzarito in 2012 is a stunner. The nose is very deep, spicy and beautiful with notes of ripe, sweet black fruit, old tobacco, model clay and fried herbs. A lovely laid back sweetness. Very fine.
The taste is refined and racy with notes of sour/sweet cherries, autumn leaves, tobacco and dried up balsamic vinegar. Very long, rich and refined.
95p   (tasted 2019/08)


2013 Barolo Riserva Lazzarito
The 13 Riserva is more restrained and locked in, compared to the 2012. The nose is racy and refined with notes of black cherries, cool tobacco, earth and fresh herbs. Low keyed and lovely.
The taste is elegant and fine with notes of ripening cherries, asphalt, rosehips and bay leaves. A long, structured finish. Needs plenty of time, 8+ years.
93p   (tasted 2019/08)


Monday, 9 September 2019

1985 & 1993 Barbaresco Riserva Rabajá, Fratelli & Sergio Barale

1985 Barbaresco Riserva Rabajá, Fratelli Barale
This 34 year old Barbaresco opens a bit murky but after 30 minutes it starts to display fine notes of autumn leaves, dried up strawberry jam, lots of violets and balsamico fried mushrooms. Actually gets better and better in the glass all night long. Really fine.
The taste is taut and fine, silky with a firm backbone, with notes of dried flowers, cranberries, shoe polish and dry licorice. Long. Small, still nibbling tannins.Very, very good. Bottles like this will go on for 5+ years. And, Fratelli Barale and Sergio Barale is the same estate.
92p   (tasted 2019/09)


1993 Barbaresco Riserva Rabajá, Sergio Barale
I drank a bottle of this 93 four years ago that performed nicely. Unfortunately this bottle didn´t. It had a perfect level and the cork was sound, but the fruit had dried out. Ok on the nose but hollow and dry on the palate.
73p   (tasted 2019/09)

Saturday, 7 September 2019

1978 Château Citran


1978 Château Citran
A bit funky when popped and poured - as older Bordeaux usually are - but after 20 minutes it displays classic notes of dry cassis, cold coffee, autumn leaves and that beautiful scent of old, worn Chesterfield armchairs. Not heaps of finesse but very good.
The taste is medium bodied and dry with notes of dried up black currant jam, dusty earth, old chocolate biscuits and a hint of bonfire smoke. The nose is fresher and more alive. Went perfectly with a veal chop.
87p   (tasted 2019/09)

Other vintages tasted:
1990 Château Citran

1995 & 2005 Château Citran

1996 Château Citran

2000 Château Citran


Friday, 6 September 2019

A Couple Of Days In Piedmont - Visits To Paolo Manzone, Sukula & Schiavenza


A couple of days in Piedmont. A stunning experience as always. First of to Serralunga and three visits (and then two more that will come in the next report).

Paolo Manzone
Paolo and his wife Luiselle runs this estate which has belonged to Luisella´s family for generations. Paolo has worked as a wine-consult before launching the wines from the estate with his name on the label in 1999. The estate produces 80.000 bottles a year from 14 hectars.
The jewel is the 5 ha Meriame cru which was planted in 1948. The Dolcetto and Barbera grapes comes from land in Sinio where they have an additional cellar. The cellar in Serralunga contains barriques, tonneaux and 1 and 3 hl Slavoniak oak casks which are used sensitively.
I met up with the charming Elisa for the tasting and Paolo joined in from time to time.


Paolo himself with Castiglione Falletto in the background
2018 Arneis Reysú
A ten year anniversary for the Arneis, being bottled for the first time in 2008. The nose is fresh and pure with notes of lemons, grass and herbs.
The taste is light and crisp with a fine acidity and notes of grass, wet stones and lemon peel.
87p   (tasted 2019/08)


2018 Dolcetto d´Alba Magna
The Dolcetto sports a juicy, earthy nose with notes of blueberries, bakelite and dry violets.
The taste is tight and good with notes of balsa wood, dried blueberries and some rosemary notes. Veru good.
86p   (tasted 2019/08)


2017 Barbera Superiore Fiorenzai
An open, fruity nose with notes of jammy strawberries, Finnish licorice and scorched earth.
The taste is juicy and fine with notes of dried up strawberry jam, fried herbs and sweet violets. Ripe and fine, holds it together nicely. 20% new tonneaux, 80% used.
87p   (tasted 2019/08)

2017 Nebbiolo d´Alba Miriné
A fine, earthy nose with notes of rosehips, dried cherries and crushed rocks. Deep with a fine backbone.
The taste is tight and balanced with a fine dry character and notes of red cherries, dried flowers and some mushrooms. Very, very good. 16 Euro at the estate, if only I had brought a car...
90p   (tasted 2019/08)


2016 Langhe Rosso Luvi
This blend consists of 80% Nebbiolo, 15% Barbera and 5% Dolcetto. The nose is medium deep with notes of mixed dark berries, fried herbs and a hint of bonfire smoke.
The taste is tight and seedy with notes of dark raspberries, salt licorice and earth. Long and fine. More expressive on the palate. 4+ years.
88p   (tasted 2019/08)


2017 Langhe Rosso Luvi
Same wine, different vintage, and although the basic characteristics are the same, the 2017 is riper, more refined and with better tannin/acidity balance. The blend is 70% Nebbiolo, 20% Barbera and 10% Dolcetto. Really fine. Yet again, 16 Euro...
91p   (tasted 2019/08)

2015 Barolo del Comune di Serralunga
This comes from the young vines in Meriame. Aged in 3 hl Slavonian casks, it displays a deep, classic Serralunga notes with damsons, chrushed rocks, sour/sweet cherries and a fine, backwards, sturdy character.
The taste is young, tight and fine with notes of dark cherries, chrushed rocks, undergrowth and dried mushrooms. Long and fine. 6+ years
91p   (tasted 2019/08)


2015 Barolo Meriame
From vines planted in 1948. It has rested in 1 hl Slavonian oaks during its upbringing. The nose is very deep and old viney with notes of dark earth, undergrowth, dried dark plums and a hint of tobacco. Rich in a low key way. Very fine.
The taste is tight and concentrated with notes of a mushrooms forest, very sweet, dried tomatoes, dried herbs and balsamic notes. Old school. 8+ years. Lovely. Who said that great Barolo is expensive? 35 Euros.
93p   (tasted 2019/08)

2013 Barolo Riserva
From my favourite vintage, this Riserva sports a deep, tight nose with notes of mushrooms, dried cherries, rosehips and old leather. Very deep and fine.
The taste is tight and expressive with notes of dried cherries, forest floor, dried dark flowers and fir wood. All Meriame, 80% from old vines and 20% from new. 2 years in Slavonian oak, 1 year in amphora and 2 years in bottle before release.
92p   (tasted 2019/08)



The Meriame vineyard

Sukula
A Finn, making wine in Serralunga? I just had to visit my Scandinavian friend in Serralunga. Google maps didn´t help me....but eventually I drove into the estate belonging to Riikka and her husband.
They bought the 1,5 ha estate in 2005, located in the Meriame cru. Riikka produces three wines, a Barbera, a Langhe Nebbiolo and a Barolo, and makes about 5.000 bottles.

Riikka looking out over her vineyards

2015 Barbera d´Alba Meriame
The Barbera is open and fine with nots of ripe black cherries, Finnish (what a give away!) licorice, bonfire smoke and warm tiles. Very, very good.
The taste is tight and inky with notes of chocolate covered cherries, scorched earth and a some asphalt notes. A very fine acidity. Long and fine.
89p   (tasted 2019/08)

2014 Langhe Nebbiolo Meriame
A very fine 2014. It has a low keyed intensity on the nose with notes of mushrooms, dried flowers, rosehips and chrushed rocks. Very fine.
The taste is sandy and fine with notes of dried red cherries, forest floor, minerals and herbs. Medium long. A very fine 2014 to drink now while waiting for the 13 and 15`s.
91p   (tasted 2019/08)



2009 Barolo Meriame
The 2009 Barolo is made before Riikka started to replant the vineayrd in sections. This wine is made from 70 year old vines in the Meriame vineyard. The nose is very deep and really old-viney with notes of earth, mushrooms, old tobacco and dried up cherry jam. Very fine. A lovely dried up sweetness to the fruit.
The taste is tight and concentrated with notes of dried figs, tobacco leaves, mushrooms and fir wood. Very, very long. Not all marked by the hot vintage of 2009. Lovely. For drinking now and the coming 8+ years.
93p   (tasted 2019/08)


Schiavenza
Behind the church in Serralunga (if you come from the parking lot beneath the castle) you will find the Schiavenza estate. They began bottling their Barolo in 1956 (and a bottle of 1957 stands on a shelf in the tasting room).
Walter welcomed me and showed me the cellar and then we had a fabolous tasting - great wines here - both the present and mature bottles, which I have tasted earlier, see below.
The have 8,5 ha in Serralunga nd 2,5 ha in Perno and produce about 47.000 bottles/year. They aquired land in Prapó in 1996, in Broglio in 2000 and the piece in Cerretta was bought in 2001.


2018 Dolcetto d´Alba
The Dolcetto grapes comes from Serralunga. The nose is racy and spicy with fine notes of ripe raspberries, dry licorice and earthy aromas. Deep, rich and fine.
The taste is juicy and pure with lovely raspberry and blueberry fruit alongside notes of tiles, iron and spices. Very fine.
91p   (tasted 2019/08)



2017 Barbera d´Alba
70% Perno and 30% Serralunga fruit. A deep, sweet, ripe nose with notes of sour/sweet raspberries, fried herbs, flower water and some tobacco aromas. Very, very good.
The taste is structured and broad shouldered with notes of warm herbs, ripe raspberries and scorched earth. Very long and fine.
90p   (tasted 2019/08)

2017 Langhe Nebbiolo
The Nebbiolo grapes for this wine comes from Perno. The nose is deep and refined with notes of roses, warm tiles, cranberries and old tobacco. Laid back and really fine.
The taste is tight and sandy with notes of salmiak, dried cherries, undergrowth and some balsamic notes of. Very, very good.
92p   (tasted 2019/08)



2015 Barolo del Comune di Serralunga
A fine-limbed nose with notes of rosehips, undergrowth, red cherries and a hint of cinnamon. Very, very good.
The taste is young, tight and fine with notes of dark almonds, cherries, violets and chrushed rocks. A salivating acidity, as in all the wines. Long. Very fine. 4+ years.
92p   (tasted 2019/08)


2015 Barolo Broglio
The Broglio is more open on the nose, with notes of red apples, warm tiles, smoke and a hint of tobacco. Deep and fine.
The taste is tighter than the lead on, with notes of pomegranate, smoke, rosehips and sandy tannins in the long, fine finish. 4+ years.
92p   (tasted 2019/08)

2015 Barolo Cerretta
The Cerretta is a masterpiece. The nose is high and energetic with notes of sweet/sour cherries, chrushed rocks, violets and fresh mushrooms. Very refined.
The taste is pure and concentrated with notes of ripe cherries, violets, asphalt and thyme. Very, very long and aristocratic. A must have. 8+ years.
96p   (tasted 2019/08)


2015 Barolo Prapó
The Prapó is the darkest and most structured in the line up, with fine notes of tar, cocoa, dark cherries and salt licorice. Very deep and rich.
The taste is tight and sturdy with notes of ripe black cherries, asphalt, dark roses and a hint of smoke. A long, long finish with broad tannins. 10+ years.
93p   (tasted 2019/08)

2012 Barolo Riserva Prapó
A deep, ripe, sweet nose with notes of dried up cherry jam, warm aspahlt, rosehips and a old oaky aroma, Very deep and fine.
The taste is big and mouth filling with notes of Christmas spices, cherry jam, rose water and scorched earth. Very long. A real mouthful of Barolo. 5+ years.
94p   (tasted 2019/08)


1964 Barolo

1998 Barolo

2003 Barolo Broglio

2010 Barolo Broglio