Saturday 10 December 2016

The Barolo Boys In Piedmont - Part Two

Aldo Conterno
The Barolo Boys arrived at 9.30 in the morning at the estate that in a distance looks like a the small village on the hillside. Ciacomo Conterno greated us and invited us in. He had said beforehand that he had an early appointment elsewhere, so we had prepared for a quick visit with a an ever quicker tasting.

We left four hours later. And we had experienced what would become the greatest visit on our Piedmont tour. Giacomo is rather low keyed in his expressions but his intensity, emotions and passion for the wines of his (and his brothers) eatate and the wines of Piedmont shines through everything he says.

Some may have read Gallonis notes of the wines below and wonder what have happened to this great estate and its wines. We also pondered that question. At least until the wines were poured.
The question after tasting the wines (same vintages as Galloni tasted) is instead - what is wrong with Galloni?! 87p for the most of the wines with a whopping 89p for the Romirasco! I don´t know if he suffered a heavy flue or had a massive hangover when he tasted these wines. Something along those lines or else - to paraphrase - "something is rotten in the state of Denmark"...

2013 Bussiador
This Langhe Chardonnay displays a creamy, structured nose with notes of candied lemons, summer flowers, white peaches and hazelnut cream. Very, very good. Ciacomo told us to leave the glass with some wine in it while we tasted the reds. Two hours later, in room temperature, the wine had taken on a deeper nose with pears and sweet minerals as the dominating scents. Really fine.
The taste is young and tight with a mineral driven yellow fruit and notes of sun warm rocks, white peach and a hit of smoke. A long finish with a fine acidity. As with the nose, the wine had taken on a deeper character with time in the glass. A fine bottle of Chardonnay.
91p   (tasted 2016/12)

2013 Il Favot
The Il Favot has a lovely perfume that flows out of the glass, with notes of sweet violets, rose petals, ripening red cherries and warm tiles. Very, very good. A youngish, outgoing character.
The taste is cool and pure with notes of crushed cherries, liquorice, fir and forest floor. A medium bodied finish with a fine mix of acidity and tannins that cleanse the palate.
91p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo Colonnello
When I first put my nose in the glass I thought - "oh dear, did Galloni made a correct call"? The wine had a bit murky, somewhat dusty nose. Meanwhile we talked a bit and a few minutes later I put my nose in the glass again. What?! Cristal clear, with gorgeous cherry fruit, liquorice, mushrroms and a hint of tobacco. Very fine. And so it went on for the hours I tasted it, sometimes murky, sometimes lovely.
The taste is more linear and pure with notes of hard cherry candy, dark gravel, Christmas spices and a touch of asphalt. Long and distinct, with polished tannins. Will drink beautifully for many years to come.
93p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo Cicala
The Cicala is a gorgeous creature. The nose is deep and profound with notes of dark cherries, sweet tobacco, undergrowth and a some wood smoke. Very refined. This is just lovely. Warm sand.
The taste is big, intense and multi layered with notes of ripe black cherries, cigarr smoke, mushrooms, fir and violets. A very, very long finish with some ripe, sturdy tannins. Needs time but all the parts are there for something really great to emerge in 8+ years time.
96p   (tasted 2016/12)

2012 Barolo Romirasco
A magnificent, deep and hauntingly beautiful nose with notes of the purest cherries imaginable, forest floor, raspberry liquorice and the aroma of a perfect late summer night in Italy. A high nose with a stunning purity. Some tobacco noires after a while. Almost perfect.
The taste is concentrated, focused and just brilliant with notes of ripe red and black cherries, forest floor, rosehips, asphalt and hard cherry candy. The finish goes on for minutes. A perfect wine in the making, just give it 6+ years. Magic. A wine that Galloni scored 89p - what a mistake.
98p   (tasted 2016/12)

2008 Barolo Granbussia Riserva
Supposedly the worst Granbussia ever produced, if Galloni is to be trusted (but as we have seen above, he isn´t). The 08 Granbussia displays a deep, refined and beautiful nose with notes of damp forest, spicy cherries, raspberry liquorice and chocolate wafers. A very handsome wine. Just great.
The taste is young, tight and concentrated with notes of sweet/sour cherries, forest floor, Christmas spices and an ever so tiny note of mint. The finish is two minute long with structured, polished tannins. Great now but will be even greater in 8+ years.
96p   (tasted 2016/12)

2006 Barolo Granbussia Riserva
The 06 is a masterpiece. The nose is truly wonderful with its ethereal yet focused and intense nose, with stunning notes of ripe cherries, black truffle, melted asphalt and liquorice. Lots of rose petals rise from the glass after a while. Very, very deep. Amazing.
The taste is the proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove, with notes of ripe red cherries, warm gravel, rosehips and cigarr tobacco. The finish is counted in minutes. Beautiful sandy tannins cleanse the palate. As the Romirasco, a perfect specimen in the making. Give this beauty 6+ years. As good as the 1990 tasted a couple of weeks ago (with the 1982, 1996 and 2001)
98p   (tasted 2016/12)

The afternoon was spent in Alba, raiding the wine shops, but unfortunately, the prices have gone up radically the last couple of years. The wines that costed 50 Euros a couple of years ago, cost 100 Euro now. And it doesn´t seem that the winegrowers are making the money, we heard more than once that the wine that cost 30 Euro at the cellar door, cost between 90-120 Euro in the shops. Why?

In the evening we went to Trattoria Marsupino, ate and drank well and visited their cellar and took some inventory. :-)

2006 Gattinara, Nervi
A warm, spicy nose with notes of dark flowers, gravel, cooked fruit and some leathary aromas. Old style. Good.
The taste is big and warm with notes of scorched earth, Christmas spices, veal stock and road dust. Long and warm. A bit rustic.
86p   (tasted 2016/12)

2010 Barolo Sarmassa, Brezza
A young, finely tuned nose with notes of fresh roses, red cherries, paint and asphalt. Very, very good. Pure and fine.
The taste is exact and complex with notes of ripe red cherries, liquorice, dried flowers and wood smoke. A very fine, long finish with salivating tannins. Really good.
92p   (tasted 2016/12)

2011 Barolo Brunate, Giuseppe Rinaldi
A big, ripe nose with notes of cooked cherries, moist undergrowth, raspberry liquorice and smoke. A bit dense. Good though.
The taste is big and spicy with notes of cherry jam, smoke, dark liquorice and hot earth. Long and warm. Tasted blind and was surprised to see the label, would have thought it to better than this.
85p   (tasted 2016/12)


  1. Thank you very much for this fabulous report ....well done !
    You guys had a great time...did you visit Grandi Vini downtown Alba..?
    I am glad you point out the Galloni reviews on Aldo Conterno wines...and came up with the right judgment !
    Unfortunately Galloni wine review crash is non only going for PAC...for sure you know better than me...several other producers are involved, on his Barolo part 2....and many are asking what went wrong during tasting.
    I have noticed this awkward situation few years ago..and because I go to Italy every year and taste hundreds of wine ...I started to have some strong doubts..and today even more !

    1. Oh yes, we were in all the shops but Le Torri and Frachia spelling?) are my favourites.
      There are more than us that have been surprised big time over his scores when you have tasted the wines...