Tuesday 13 February 2018

1997 - Mostly Piedmont Bottles But Also Some Ringers

1997 - scorned by and large by the Europeans (who favoured the 96 vintage), loved by the sweet tooth Americans...a preconception, I know but what do you say about these reviews (on Piedmont):

"A relatively small crop of overripe, low-acid, high alcohol, unctously textured Nebbiolos and Barberas that are off the charts in terms of the hedonistic pleasure they deliver (Robert Parker, Parker´s Wine Buyer´s Guide, 2002)


"Superripe, opulent, flamboyant wines. A benchmark vintage" (the vintage scoring 99p...) (The Wine Spectator, James Suckling, Dec 31 2000 - Jan 15 2001)

How have these hedonistic pleasure bombs evolved over the last 20 years?
12 bottles should provide a glimpse of the state of evolution of the 97´s. The Langhe wines didn´t show any of the heat that supposedly is the trademark of the vintage. Or being low-acidic.
That goes to show how reliable those kind of immediate verdicts on any given vintage are. Only time will tell.

Flight I
1997 Barbaresco Vigneto Brich Ronchi, Albino Rocca
A fine, velvety, mature nose with notes of sweet tobacco, dried cherries, undergrowth, rosemary and Christmas spices. A fine maturity. Very, very good.
The taste is medium bodied, dry and earthty with notes of tobacco, dried raspberries, dry licorice and gravel. A fine finish with soft tannins. Perfectly mature.
91p   (tasted 2017/12)

1997 Barolo Vigna Giachini, Corino
A fine, cool, dusty nose with notes of raspberry licorice, candle grease, roses, tobacco and warm earth. Dark and fine. Feels like it comes from a hot year but 20 year have melted that warmth nicely into the core of the wine. Really good.
The taste is seedy, warm and dry with notes of red currants, cherries, asphalt and tobacco. A long, rich finish with a fine balance and dryness at the end. A great mouthful of mature Nebbiolo.
93p   (tasted 2017/12)

1997 Langhe Arborina, Altare
A cool elegant nose with notes of dried raspberries, herbs, roses, minerals and dry tobacco. A very fine maturity. Deep and fine.
The taste is restrained and refined with notes of dry licorice, cherries, violets and some balsamic notes. Very long and nicely structured. This is really fine. Will hold on for 5+ years.
93p   (tasted 2017/12)

1997 5StelleSfursat, Nino Negri
This shows some warmth on the nose, with notes of cooked cherries, fir wood, veal stock and asphalt. A fine depth but a tad too warm.
The taste is warm and spicy with notes of dried raspberries, sugared coffe, dry licorice and herbs. Long, warm and dry. Very good in an open, warm, dry way.
87p   (tasted 2017/12)

1997 Syriacus, Feudi di San Gregorio
A big, open, warm nose with notes of tar, dried black cherries, wood smoke and undergrowth. A tad one dimensional, but a nice sweetness.
The taste is warm, dry and broad with notes of dark cherries, scorched earth, tobacco and gravel. Deep, dark and long.
88p   (tasted 2017/12)

1997 Pin, La Spinetta
This Barbera, Nebbiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon blend displays a fine, elegant, low keyed nose with notes of violets, licorice, dark cherries and a ever so slight touch of chocolate. Very fine.
The taste is concentrated and tight with some maturity and notes of hard cherry candy, violets, chocolate biscuits and licorice. A long, warm finish with a very nice mouthfeel. Very, very good. Fully mature.
91p   (tasted 2017/12)

Flight II
1997 Barolo Bricco delle Viole, G. D. Vajra
Vajra has produced a stunning Viole in 1997. 20 years on it sports a deep, barely mature nose with notes of dried mushrooms, paint, violets, roses, tobacco and Finnish licorice. Very handsome.
The taste is nicely concentrated with notes of sweet/sour cherries, dried flowers, warm sand and violets. The finish is long, dry and intense. Has matured in a splendid way, drink now and the coming 8+ years.
94p   (tasted 2017/12)

1997 Barolo, Altare
Altare withdrew the entire batch of the 97 Normale because of cork problems. Some escaped on to the market with Dolcetto corks. This is one of them, and it is a beauty. The nose is deep and focused with notes of raspberry licorice, dried meat, warm gravel and sweet flowers. With air there is a lot of forest floor aromas. Some maturity but this still has places to go.
The taste is tight, floral and mouthcoating with notes of dried cherries, raspberry licorice, mushrooms and gravel. Long and distinct with a fine dryness to the tannins. Drink now and 5+ years.
93p   (tasted 2017/12)

1997 Barolo Cannubi, Paolo Scavino
The Cannubi from Sandrone is a dream. Hauntingly beautiful scents of ripe lingonberries, sand, earth, bakelite, rosehips and dried strawberries flows up from the glass. Very elegant and with a great liveliness. Has entered its maturity plateau but will keep on going for many more years.
The taste follows the lovely nose with a sandy, concentrated taste with notes of ceps, dried strawberries, tobacco, licorice and rosehips. The finish goes on and on. Great structure. Great wine.
96p   (tasted 2017/12)

1997 Barolo Marenca, Luigi Pira
The Marenca shows a deep, dark, meaty nose with notes of black cherries, violets, tapenade, salmiak and moist earth. Very deep and fine. Barely mature. Lots of interest here. Rocky Serralunga fruit.
The taste is steady and warm with notes of smoky cherry fruit, licorice, fir wood and coffee. There still is a firm grip to the tannins. Long and structured. Very fine. Has 10+ years to go.
93p   (tasted 2017/12)

1997 Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra, Domenico Clerico
One of my favourite Baroli displays its virtous in this vintage. The nose is deep and inviting with gorgeous aromas of raspberry licorice, hard cherry candy, gravel, dried flowers and furniture oil. Complex and very fine. Just entering maturity.
The taste is tight and concentrated with notes of red currants, red cherries, dry licorice, mushrooms and rosehips. A long, balanced finish with a firm backbone. Drink now and the coming 8+ years. A stunning wine.
95p   (tasted 2017/12)

1997 Barolo Pajana, Domenico Clerico
Corked "%¤#/&!!!
Not rated   (tasted 2017/12)

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