Monday 5 December 2016

The Barolo Boys In Piedmont - Part One

The Barolo Boys landed in Piedmont last week for four days tasting, drinking and eating! After some interesting...detours through Europe due to the fact that Lufthansa were on strike for the fifteen time this year (note to self - never book a trip with Lufthansa again!) we settled in at our rented apartment in La Morra.
After a couple of hours sleep we woke up to a glorious day. The sun was shining from a clear blue sky and the air was high, refreshing och full of Langhe aromas. After a quick breakfast it was time to drive to our first visit.

A barking dog greats us on the parking place just beside the estate. We started with some pictures of the beautiful landscape in the crisp sun, before Giuseppe Cavallotto comes out and greats us. Last time I visited Cavallotto 8 years ago it was also Giuseppe that took care of us. His brother Alfi were out travelling, promoting the great wines of Cavallotto. It was again a great visit with a charming, dedicated and  a bit shy (he refused any pictures to be taken of him :-)) Giuseppe that showed us these wines.

2015 Pinner
A made up name since the rules doesn´t allow Pinot Noir on the label. It is fermented without the skins, hence becoming a white (!), interesting wine. It comes out of 1 ha vineyard and the production is only 5.000 bottles each vintage.
The nose is big, earthy and gravelly with notes of almond paste, dry vanilla ice cream and white peaches. Very good. It kept changing in the glass over the minutes we had it. Would be very interesting to get more time with this.
The taste is broad and velvety with notes of dried flowers, almond paste, herbs and orange blossom water. A long, warm finish with a very good, dry ending. A bit odd but very, very good.
88p   (tasted 2016/12)

2013 Barbera d´Alba Superiore Vigna del Cuculo
This excellent Barbera comes from a 2,13 ha big vineyard. The nose is open, fruity and fantastic with notes of black cherries, raspberry liquorice, cigarr smoke and warm earthy aromas. This is really fine. Super fruit with depth and class.
The taste is young, tight and focused with a lovely mix of raspberries and cherries, with some sweet minerals, wood smoke and liquorice tossed in. A long finish with a fine acidity. Very, very fine. Drink now and the coming 8+ years.
92p   (tasted 2016/12)

2014 Langhe Nebbiolo
We got very mixed signals from the winegrowers (those we visited grow wines, they don´t "make" wines, consequently I don´t use the term winemakers, but more on that philosophical distinction on an other occasion) about the 2014 vintage.
A very cold summer and lots of rain ruined, for the most part, the Dolcetto´s and Barbera´s, but a Indian summer rescued the Nebbiolo. Some said it is going to turn out as a very good vintage, some said average and one - Roberto Conterno (more on that later) said it was going to one of the greatest vintages ever...
But there were also hail which destroyed the vintage for some, and Cavallotto was one of those. No Barolo´s in 2014. All the wine from the young vines is going to be sold to a negociant and only the grapes from the old vines will appear under a Cavallotto label, as Langhe Nebbiolo. But I for one wish they hadn´t done that either, since the Cavallotto name on the label garanties a fine bottle of wine. This isn´t.
The nose is dusty and linear with notes of wrinkly, dry red cherries, damsons, dry earth and a hint of rosehips. A bit hollow in the middle.
The taste is medium bodied, foursquare and herbal with some dusty tannins, lingonberries and dried mushrooms. Medium long and dry. Too bad.
78p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo Bricco Boschis
Well, the next bottle made up for the 2014 Langhe. We got to taste a whole bunch of 12 Barolo on this trip and got a fairly good picture of the vintage, but those impressions will come in another post.
The nose is deep, handsome and nicely put together with notes of ripe wild strawberries, sweet earth, asphalt and the scent of rose bushes when you pass them. Very fine. Some autumn aromas. Beautiful.
The taste is young, tight and refreshing with salivating tannins and notes of red cherries, raspberry liquorice, rose petals and autumn leaves. A long, finely tuned finish that leaves the mouth dry and ready for the next sip. Lovely. Give this beauty 6 years in the cellar. We left Giuseppe in high spirit after a, yet again, delightful visit.
93p   (tasted 2016/12)

Already time for lunch? Well ok then, we head for Serralunga and Centro Storico, where owner Alessio reigns over a fantastic, small Vinoteca with an amazing Champagne list - six pages long! And the wine list doesn´t come far behind.
We shared a plate of salami and then a airy tajarin and sumptuous raviolo with butter and sage. Great food, wine and ambience. We went back there for lunch on our last day, before we had to go to the airport. I will be back!

We had another lunch party right behind us and mid lunch an gentleman came over to us with a bottle of wine and asked if we wanted to taste it. Since we have no capability to say no to wine (and why should we?!) we of course gladly accepted. It turned out to be the winegrower himself and he poured us his 2009 Barolo Meriame Riserva, Paolo Manzone who showed a big, open, fruity nose with notes of tobacco, strawberries and dusty earth and had a large structured taste with some rustic tannins and lots of ripe cherries and tobacco. Long and good (87p). We talked a bit and then we fetches another bottle and pours it. It turns out to be his 2012 Barolo Meriame and it is a beauty! The nose is delicate and tight with notes of sweet red cherries, herbs, undergrowth and a hint of pepper. The taste is young and focused with notes of ripe red cherries, forest floor, mushrooms and with an airy feeling, yet it shows some firm tannins. This I would love to taste again (92p). A winegrower to seek out.

But there is more to do than eat and drink well (or is there?), so we headed for Castiglione Falletto and our next visit.

My third visit to Vietti and this time we was greated by Elena Currado. I still vividly remember our first visit when Alfredo Currado was still alive and helped to pour the wines we tasted and telling us great stories from the past. He was a pioneer in bottling single vineyards wines with his 1961 Rocche (I have the 1967 Rocche and 1970 Zunino in the cellar, when I will open them I will remember that great man).
We were asked it we wanted to taste the whole range of 12 Barolo´s. What to answer...

2015 Roero Arneis
But first, the ever so fine Roero Arneis. Imho, the finest in Piedmont, alongside the one from Bruno Giacosa (which we had later).
The nose is cool and seedy with notes of grey pears, dry almond, grapefruit and a fine perfumed scent. Salivating. Very, very good.
The taste is dry and cool with notes of white currants, grey pears and lots of gravel. A fine finish with good acidity and dryness. Drinking very fine.
88p   (tasted 2016/12)

2013 Barbera La Crena
Another fine 13 Barbera. This one has a big, open nose with notes of blackberries, salt liquorice, damp earth and dark perfume. Very, very good. Darker and broader than Cavallotto´s version.
The taste is big, tight and focused with notes of black cherries, undergrowth and raspberry liquorice. A long, warm finish with a good acidity. This will be drinking fine for 6+ years.
90p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo Castiglione
The Vietti´s Normale displays fine, open nose with notes of dark lingonberries, dried strawberries and a touch of smoke. Very good although a bit light.
The taste is tight and medium concentrated with notes of dried cherries, black earth and some coffe notes. A medium long, dry finish. Very good. Drinkable now and the coming 5+ years.
87p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo Brunate
The Brunate is several steps up on the quality ladder, with its deep, intriguing nose with notes of sweet/sour cherries, ripe flowers, liquorice and an ever so slight scent of coconut. This is good. Very fine fruit.
The taste is ripe and intense with notes of ripe red cherries, flowers, mushrooms and sweet minerals. Very polished tannins maked up the long, distinct finish. Wait 5 years to do the deed. Really fine.
92p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo Ravera
This is much more restrained and refined on the nose with a nice perfume of dried flowers and additional aromas of red cherries, lingonberries and rosehips. A hint of chocolate in the background. Very, very good.
The taste is tight and seedy with notes of lingonberries, red currants and some discrete forest notes. Cool, salivating tannins. A finely tuned wine that gives a ascetic impression. I would wait at least 5 years until opening a bottle.
90p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo Rocche
The Rocche gets under my skin every time, in a very positive way. The nose flows up from the glass with lovely notes of ripe black cherries, dried strawberries, tobacco and sweet minerals. A fine depth, concentration and a sturdy backbone. Great.
The taste is tight and intense with a gorgeous balance and notes of sweet/sour dark cherries, forest floor, hard cherry candy and wood smoke. A very long finish with some rough and ready tannins that are polished velvety. A great wine that will be drinking perfectly in 6+ years.
94p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo Lazzarito
The Lazzarito is even denser and darker than the Rocche with a smoky, deep nose with notes of ripe blackberries, cigarr smoke, raspberry liquorice and ceps. Very deep and just lovely.
The taste is young, tight and seedy with notes of charcoal, red plums, dark fudge and dried flowers. Massive tannins in the finish. Very, very long. Give this brute 8+ years. Maybe a tad big for some Nebbiolo afficionados, but I love it!
93p   (tasted 2016/12)

2015 Moscato d´Asti
What a great way to end this tasting. Light, refreshing and yummy with notes of elderberries, yellow plums and tangerines. Some spicy notes. Very good.
The taste is elegant and cool with a fine acidity and notes of passion fruit, ripe lemons and a hint of nuts. Very gulpable.
86p   (tasted 2016/12)

No rest for the wicked! After saying our goodbyes we rolled down the hill to our next visit.

Paolo Scavino
This is the beauty with these kind of visits, besides tasting great wines we get too meet these passionate and fascinating people behind the labels. We sat with Enrica Scavino for two hours, tasting the wines below and discussing wine, life and everything in between.

2012 Barolo Bricco Ambrogia
The Scavino´s bought this vineyard in 2001 and interesting enough the only Barolo label they released in the tough vintage of 2002. The nose is deep with lovely sweet cherry fruit and additional notes of dark flowers, crushed rocks, liquorice and some wood smoke. Very, very good.
The taste is pure and sturdy with notes of dark cherries, chocolate biscuits and liquorice. A long, distinct finish with nicely polished tannins. Really good. This will be drinkable in 3+ years time.
92p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo Monviglerio
The Monviglieri sports a deep, wonderful nose with notes of dark cherries, tobacco smoke, ceps and a dark earthy aroma. A lovely perfumed aroma. Very deep. This is great.
The taste appears at first as rather velvety and accessible until the cool, focused tannins strike in the finish. Lots of ripe black cherries, tobacco and rose water. This is a fine bottle of Barolo. Drink in 4+ years time.
94p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo Bric dël Fiasc
I love Bric dël Fiasc. A couple of years ago I arranged a tasting with 12 vintages, and besides two corked bottles every wine was great. How abour the 2012 then?
The nose flows up from the glass with lovely ripe cherry fruit and notes of salt liquorice, fresh ceps, fir and a gorgeously perfumed scent. Very pure and seamless.
The taste is young, ripe yet finely focused with notes of ripe black cherries, tobacco, hard cherry candy and a hint of dark chocolate. The finish is over a minute long and the tannins are impressive. Built for the ages. Wait 6+ years.
95p   (tasted 2016/12)

2010 Barolo Rocche dell´Annunziata
What is the definition of true greatness? In my case, when in comes to wine, is that I am left speechless and can´t get a word down in my notebook and have a hard time describing the wine verbally. I just sit there and are one with the wine. I have jotted down lots of adjectives, all positive, one larger than the other, but I won´t repeat them here. They can´t do justice to this wine. You just have to drink it for yourself. I will.
100p   (tasted 2016/12)

In time for dinner one lost Barolo Boys brother joined us and we went to Il Centro for dinner. Very good food and a fine bottle of Barolo ended our first day in heaven.

2010 Barolo Cinestra Casa Maté
A deep, spicy, pure nose with notes of concentrated red cherries, Christmas spices, red currants and fresh mushrooms. After some time in the glass lots of rose petals. Almost vibrating in the glass. This is a serious wine. Great.
The taste is tight and concentrated with notes of red and black cherries, sweet flowers, rosehips, forest floor and a touch of asphalt. Very, very long with finely polished tannins. This will need another 5+ years before reaching its full potential but it is irresistible today. Just lovely.
95p   (tasted 2016/12)

Carne cruda - my go to starter when in Piedmonte

Barolo & tajarin with white truffle!

An old, traditional dish with mixed intestines - great flavours!


  1. Hi Joakim, what a great write up on your visit, now i will read part 2 tomorrow evening, and it really gives me lust for buying more Barolo´s :-)

    1. Thanks Flemming, just leave some bottles for me...:-)

  2. ha ha , Joakim i think you will be the one who has to leave bottles for me. With all those gorgeous tasting you have :-)
    Just having a bottle of Keller, Limestone Riesling 2015 in Zalto White glass, its such a good enjoyable wine especially for the price. Sweetness combined with acidity and that white pepper on the nose .
    Completely different from Barolo although. And i think i will try out an 2010 Barolo Sordo cabutti here at christmas .
    Oh and of course i wish you and your family a Merry Christmas if we dont type each other before the 24. :-)