Wednesday 20 June 2012

Barolo Boys Does 1996 Barolo

I am member of an illustrious group, known as the Barolo Boys - and I have the shirt to prove it! :-)

We get together and drink Barolo - talk about a great concept! Sadly, it has been a while since we last got together but a few days ago S had summoned us with the promise that he would open some 1996 Barolo. Thanks all for a great night!
All wines tasted double blind.

We started with some antipasti and a bottle of
2002 Gantenbein Riesling Spätlese
A very fine, elegant, maturing nose with notes of slate, yellow apples, lemon cream, melon, buttercup flowers and petrol. Very deep and fine. A lovely maturity. Great purity.
The taste is pure, arostocratic and wonderful with notes of sweet yellow apples, sugar candy, minerals and a touch of banan peel. The finish goes on for over a minute. The acidity has a great presence in the finish. Power and lightness in a glass. Great wine!
This was a dead give away - a maturing, about 15 year old Mosel Auslese! What! A ten year old Switzerland Riesling?? I have tasted a Chardonnay from Gantenbein many years ago that was, I recall,  a clear as a bell Burgundy...
94p   (tasted 2012/06)

We were then served the 1996 Barolis in two flights. With the first flight we got a Barolo risotto with mushrooms. And with the other flight a leg of deer with a fresh sallad. Great food!

1996 Barolo Bussia, Prunotto
A deep, tight and concentrated nose with notes of rosehips, red cherries, freshly grounded coffee, warm earth, dry licorice and meath broth. After a while there is a touch of a metallic note. Good but a tad monolithic.
The taste is very tight and uncompromising with notes of dry red cherries, lingonberry bushes, rosehips, dried mushrooms and moist teabags. The tannins are big and rather mean. It has a good structure but a foursquare personality. I don´t know if I ever have come across a Prunotto that I really have loved?
87p   (tasted 2012/06)

1996 Barolo San Giovanni, Gianfranco Alessandria
A perennial favourite of mine! The nose is big, sweet and seductive with notes of sweet licorice, black cherries, vanilla pod, pipe tobacco and forest floor aromas. With air a fine meaty scent emerges. A lovely sweetness to the fruit.
The taste is big, strappy and sweet with lots and lots of juicy black fruit paired with a hefty tannin structure. The finish is long and ends with a dry twist. Notes of black cherries, pipe tobacco, dried mushrooms and rosehips. Very, very fine. And the 2001 is equally great!
93p   (tasted 2012/06)

1996 Barolo Rocche Marcenasco, Renato Ratti
A cool, elegant nose with a lovely red cherry nose intermingled with notes of licorice, rosehips, herbs and undergrowth. A touch or smokiness, almost like a Islay whisky. Very, very fine.
The taste is tight, fresh and concentrated with a fine red and black cherry fruit and notes of dark chocolate, licorice, dried mushrooms and herbs. The tannis are of the bigger size but the fruit stands up to them nicely. Very, very good.
91p   (tasted 2012/06)

1996 Barolo Rüncot, Elio Grasso
This nose is just gorgeous - lovely scents of crushed rose petals, red cherries, dried mushrooms and a touch of pipe tobacco. Deep and fine, and with the most mature nose in the line up.
The taste feels younger though, with notes of black cherries, rosehips, almond paste and forest floor. The tannins are medium sized and still very present. A long, cool, fine finish. Very elegant and poised. This is drinking perfectly now.
92p   (tasted 2012/06)

1996 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina, La Spinetta
The wine that almost got me ostracized from Barolo Boys... I had this - a Barbaresco! - as the best wine in the line up...:-)
The nose is very deep and captivating with notes of marinated black cherries, moist forest floor, sandel wood, heeps of rose bushes, a touch of leather and sweet licorice. There is lot of concentration here, and the fruit to work with. A lovely sweetness. A hint of mint. Just great!
The taste is intense, powerful and pure with a fantastic structure and sweet, sweet fruit. Notes of black cherry fruit, dark fudge, pan fried mushrooms, forest floor and dark chocolate. Layers upon layers of sweet, decadent fruit. A stunning mouthful of wine!
95p   (tasted 2012/06)

1996 Barolo Bricco delle Viole, G. D. Vajra
I don´t know if this was a representative bottle, since I haven´t tasted this vintage of Bricco delle Viole before. If it is, too bad. It has a foursquare, sparse nose with notes of smoke, red currants, dry leather and warm earth. Nothing really wrong but nothing right either, just dull.
The taste is a masochist dream with high grape fruit acidity, tight tannins and not nearly enough fruit to balance the acidity and tannins. There is some red currants, rosehips and forest floor notes here and there but this is plain boring.
72p   (tasted 2012/06)

There was a corked 1996 Barolo from Michael Chiarlo, so S was kind enough to pour this as a subsitute.

2001 Barolo Marenca, Luigi Pira
A deep, fine, upfront fruity nose with notes of red and black cherries, a whole rose garden, red licorice, tobacco and dried mushrooms. A lovely purity. Very deep and fine.
The taste is tight, focused and lovely with notes of sweet black cherries, licorice, dark chocolate mousse, wet undergrowth and lots of dried ceps. A long, impressive finish. Still very young. Great wine.
I didn´t think that this was another 1996 and managed to get the vintage right. Another winner from the 2001 vintage.
93p   (tasted 2012/06)

Then it was time for dessert, that is - liquid dessert!

1993 Vouvray Cuvée Constance, Huet
Only the second vintage of Cuvée Constance, the 1989 being the first (and that is one stunning bottle of wine!).  The 1993 was initially released as Cuvée Constance but was later withdrawn and relabelled as the Le Haut Lieu Moelleux 1ere Trie, so the possibility to taste this bottle was fascinating. And a great wine at that!
The nose is magnificent with a stunning depth and intensity with lovely notes of dried apricots, cap gun smoke, hay, blood orange peel, oil cloth and wet wool. Very elegant and poised. Just lovely.
The taste follows the nose with an awesome swetness paired with a laser like acidity and great length. Notes of blood orange, grapefruit, hay, cap gun smoke and almonds coate the palate. This is a stunning Vouvray.
94p   (tasted 2012/06)

1996 Monbazillac Cuvée Madame, Château Tirecul La Graviére
How about the best for last? A bottomless deep, hauntingly beautiful nose that explodes from the glass with notes of mashed apricots, blood orange peel, sugared water, cap gun smoke, orange ice cream and a gorgeous note of glue! :-) Really fantastic and perfectly mature. This is the real thing!
The taste is all about intensity and concentration with enormous levels of sweet, decadent fruit and matching acidity. The finish is counted in minutes. Notes of tangerines, vanilla cooked apricots, lemon cream and cap gun smoke. A fabolous piece of work!
96p   (tasted 2012/06)


  1. I'm too am a member! Should I bet upset not getting an invite? Hell yeah!

    1. :-) Do you really have a shirt to prove that...? Then we´ll see...;-)

  2. How do I qualify ? I have twelve jerseys and caps to boot.......

    1. :-) the Barolo Boys shirt is just the beginning - then there lots of freemason handshakes and stuff you need to know...just watch - ;-)