Sunday 26 November 2017

The Barolo Boys Visit Parusso, Vietti & Aldo Conterno

Here are some more accounts from The Barolo Boys latest trip to Piedmont. More will come...

We drove away from Parusso with a sense of bewilderment. Why do they do like that? Before the visit I have never heard of their wine making technique.
They dry the Nebbiolo grapes in plastic crated for up to six days before the let the fermention begin. According to them it is an ancient method in Piedmont.
Maybe so, but the result is big, concentrated wines with warmth and that dried grape feeling, akin to a sort of light Amarone style. It may have its followers, but its not for me, even though the Bussia was very good.

2013 Brut
Made by methode champenoise with Nebbiolo grapes. The nose is stony and red fruity with some dried strawberries and earth. Nice.
The taste is light and fresh with notes of raspberries, chalk and earth. Initially a tough mousse but it calmed down in the glass. Good.
85p   (tasted 2017/11)

2013 Langhe Sauvignon Blanc Rovella
I recently tasted the 2010 Rovella from magnum and was really impressed. The 2016 is almost as good. The nose is smoky and racy with notes of apricots, grass and a touch of bergamot. Very deep and fine.
The taste is tight and concentrated with notes of apricots, grilled lemons and hay. A very fine, creamy acidity. Parusso have cultivated Sauvignon Blanc since 1991. They make two different versions and the Rovella see some wood.
90p   (tasted 2017/11)

2016 Barbera d´Alba Ornati
A big, open, frutti di bosco nose with notes of dark flowers, iron, violets and sweet minerals. Very, very good.
The taste is juicy and direct with lots of blueberries and raspberries alongside notes of violets, undergrowth and licorice. A fine warmth. Long.
89p   (tasted 2017/11)

2013 Barolo
A deep, forest filled nose with notes of cooked cherries, warm gravel, dried flowers and some dark perfume. With more air a cherry liqueur scent appears.
The taste is dry and warm with notes of ripe cherry fruit, gravel and dry licorice. Some bitter tannins in the finish. Good enough but hasn´t got that 2013 energy.
84p   (tasted 2017/11)

2013 Barolo Mariondino
The Mariondino cru is 13,11 ha big and lies in Castiglione Falletto. This example shows of a deep, tight, warm nose with notes of pickled cherries, licorice, dark soap and a touch of wood.
The taste is tight and seedy with notes of ripe dark cherries, violets, dark orange peel and gravel. Long and intense. There is a hint of bitterness in the end of the finish. Very good though.
87p   (tasted 2017/11)

2013 Barolo Bussia
The Bussia has a deep, open, spicy nose with notes of raspberry licorice, violets, dark gravel and heaps of ripe red and black cherries. A lot of structure but this has managed the 6 days of drying with ease. Very fine.
The taste is dark and concentrated with notes of black cherries, dark flowers, sugared coffee and warm gravel. A long, intense finish with polished tannins. Has a fine potential, give it 6+ years.
91p   (tasted 2017/11)

It is always the charming Mauela that greats ut when we arrive. And Elena shows up a little later and steals the show :-). Always a treat to come here and taste these great wines.

2016 Arneis
A fresh, flowery nose with notes of dry honey, grass and red lemons. A hint of detergent, in a positive way. Snappy and very, very good.
The taste is dry and uplifting with notes of tangerines, grass, gravel and dried up honey. A very fresh mouthfeel. One of the greatest Arneis out there.
90p   (tasted 2017/11)

2015 Barbera d´Alba Scarrone
The Scarrone (and the Vigna Vecchia) are one of my favourite Barbera´s. And the 2015 is no exception. The nose oozes up from the glass with gorgeous aromas of peppered raspberries, licorice en masse, parsnips, smoke and ripe flowers. Very deep and fine.
The taste is young, tight and focused with notes of raspberry licorice, blackberries, smoke and warm gravel. Very long with a fine acidity. Could be cellared (as the 97 La Crena Elena opened later) but who could keep the corkscrew away?
92p   (tasted 2017/11)

2015 Barbera d´Asti La Crena
The La Crena is denser and more withdrawn than the Scarrone with notes of sweet/sour raspberries, nutmeg, tobacco and forest floor. Tight and fine.
The taste is juicy and rich with notes of blueberries, raspberries, undergrowth, dry licorice and a hint of tobacco. A tight acidity that goes through the finish. Some warmth. Very good.
89p   (tasted 2017/11)

2014 Langhe Nebbiolo Perbacco
A spicy, laid back nose with notes of star anise, red cherries, cranberries and dry licorice. Medium deep and fine.
The taste is tight and fresh with fine lingonberry fruit and notes of rosehips, gravel and dry tobacco. A fine, low keyed energy.
87p   (tasted 2017/11)

2013 Barolo Castiglione
We tasted the 13 Castiglione in May and was blown away by it then, the best Castiglione I have ever tasted. Now, 6 months later, it has tighten up, the fruit is more withdrawn and the tannins are more present. This needs time. A great wine in the making, give it 7+ years.
91p   (tasted 2017/11)

2011 Barolo Castiglione
Interesting to compare the 11 Castiglione to the 13. The 11 is much more open, with a fine warmth and a nose filled with spicy cherries, sage, earth and rosehips. A fine sweetness to the fruit.
The taste is fruity and fine with a nice tannin backbone and notes of sweet/sour cherries, forest floor, dried roses and fir. A very fine, warm finish. For the shorter term. Very, very good.
90p   (tasted 2017/11)

2012 Barolo Brunate
Then a bottle of 12 Brunate was opened - thanks! The nose is deep,warm and utterly gorgeous with notes of sweet licorice, ripe red and black cherries, asphalt and fried mushrooms. Very fine.
The taste is juicy, rich and velvety with notes of dried strawberries, cherry liquor, mushrooms and warm gravel. A long, rewarding finish ends this wine. Not for the lang haul but oooh soo good to drink now and the coming 6+ years.
92p   (tasted 2017/11)

1997 Barbera d´Asti La Crena
We came in on the subject of the longevity of the wines from Langhe, Nebbiolo is particular. Then Elena went down in the cellar and came back with this bottle.
It has a fine, mature, deep nose with notes of undergrowth, morelles, tobacco and lots of mushrooms. Very, very good. Mature, yes, but this could go on 5+ years to come.
The taste is velvety, round and warm with notes of dried black cherries, mushrooms, tobacco and a hint of asphalt. A very fine maturity. Lovely.
92p   (tasted 2017/11)

Aldo Conterno
A visit to Giacomo is always something extra to look forward too. You know that you are gonna have a great time in his company, hearing his forward opions on everything and, of course, taste some of the greatest Baroli out there.
As on our visit in May, we started in the vineyards of Cicala and Romirasco. Theres is something special walking around here and be able to ask Giacomo all you have ever wanted to know about grapes, soil, vintages etc. Truly awesome!

Giacomo in front of the Conterno estate

2015 Bussiador
The 14 Bussiador was more laid back and Burgundian like (and in all honestly, more to my liking) while the 15 is outgoing and rich, with a nose filled of ripe oranges and notes of coconut, mature flowers, matchbox and dry fudge. Big, yes, but it keeps everything in check, it is more a matter of preferences.
The taste is steady and mouth filling with notes of nuts, grilled lemons, fudge and cap gun smoke. There is a welcoming bright acidity in the finish. Very good, no question, but I prefer the 14. By the way, this is 14,6%, the 2014 is 12,5%
90p   (tasted 2017/11)

2015 Barbera Conca Tre Pile
A deep, dark, beautiful nose with notes of ripe blueberries, dark coffee, mature banana peel and moist earth. Just lovely.
The taste is earthy, wide and gorgeous with notes of sweet blueberries, clay, licorice and dark chocolate. Very long and very fine. This is for drinking day after day after day. Giacomo said - "I love this beast". Me too.
92p   (tasted 2017/11)

2014 Barolo
Now we got the chance to taste all the bottled 14´s - life is good. 2014 was a difficult vintage with a wet and cold summer but the late autumn - perfect for the Nebbiolo - came with warmth and a glowing sun. And those who waited, and picked thoroughly, got rewarded.
The nose of the 14 Normale is perfumed and fine with notes of hard cherry candy, dry licorice, rosehips and gravel. A fine energy.
The taste is elegant and fine with notes of sweet lingonberries, iron, bakelite and gravel. A fine, cool finish. Refined and cool.
90p   (tasted 2017/11)

2014 Barolo Colonnello
The Colonnello sports a refined, cool nose with notes red currants, roses en masse, earth and a hint of dark fudge. Very pure and fine.
The taste is tight, multi layered and seedy with notes of red cherries, gravel, rosehips and dry licorice. A long, intense finish. A special kind of wine in a light, cherry infused kind of way. Beautiful.
94p   (tasted 2017/11)

2014 Barolo Cicala
A lovely, pure, dark and refined nose with notes of ripe red and black cherries, cool licorice, roses and dry violets. An ever so slight touch of tobacco. Great.
The taste is "the wild thing" as Giacomo said, with stunning notes of ripe cherries, dark licorice, asphalt and undergrowth. A one minute finish with a great grip.
95p   (tasted 2017/11)

2014 Barolo Romirasco
The Romirasco is, as always, what dreams are made of, with a nose filled with dried raspberries, iron and blood, fir wood, roses and some rubbery notes. Intensly complex and multi layered.
The taste is beautifully concentrated and intense with notes of hard cherry candy, dry tobacco, chrushed rocks, violets and dried mushrooms. The finish goes on and on and on. As always, a masterpiece. A truly great wine.
97p   (tasted 2017/11)

2005 Barolo Riserva Granbussia
Always a treat do drink an aged Granbussia. The 05 has a nose that is deep, hedonistic and fine with notes of forest floor, dry asphalt, dried up cherry jam and a hint of dry chocolate. Very balanced and fine.
The taste is ripe, fresh and tight with notes of sweet/sour cherries, dry raspberry licorice, dusty earth and mushrooms. A long, dry, very fine finish. Medium mature and just a lovely drink now. Will go on for 10+ years.
95p   (tasted 2017/11)

The First Report - Visits to Bartolo Mascarello, Giacomo Conterno and Ceretto

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