Nebbiolo A-G

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Parts of 2 collections, which offer fine older bottles, and a chance to snag some very desireable more recent wines. All from proper storage, and all guaranteed.

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Conterno, Giacomo 2003 Barolo Cascina Francia

There's no '03 Monfortino, so all of the fruit went to the Cascina Francia — and it's a wine that transcends the vintage. When you have a wine that will age for 20+ years, who needs Monfortino? The wine is rich, dark, concentrated, but shows none of the aggressive tannin and tomato-y fruit that's so common in 2003. I think it's a classic in the making — but it needs a lot of time in your cellar. JW

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Boasso 2004 Barolo Serralunga

More restrained and focused than the weightier and more bombastic Gabutti, this bottling shows a reasonable amount of complexity for a wine in such a youthful state with notes of bitter cherry, dried cocoa, and menthol complemented by dusty stony flavors. The tannins are present but remain fresh and supple (a trait of the vintage?) and also there's a more than compelling floral quality in the finish which adds lift and generosity. CB

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Brovia 2009 Barolo Rocche dei Brovia

Very aromatic with beautiful fruit – raspberry, wild strawberry, and herbs, and mineral/clay; all of those on the palate and gorgeous ripe tannin – there is plenty of structure, and this looks like benchmark Rocche – chalky, a little austere now, with great depth and promise — presently a little somber in character, but with beautiful balance, and very elegant and fine. A great wine. JW

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Brovia 2010 Barolo

The Brovia single-vineyard wines are vivid demonstrations of their terroirs, and it’s always a treat to taste them together to see the differences between the vineyards. ‘Classico’ is a preferred term for Barolos / Barbarescos that are not single-vineyard wines, as no producer is very keen on calling their wine ‘base Barolo’ or ‘basic Barolo’. Brovia’s Barolo (classico) is a blend of 4 vineyards, with the biggest share coming from 25 year-old vines in Brea, which gives the wine a very mineral, chalky backbone. Classico bottlings are always less expensive than the single-vineyards, and there’s a strong tendency to diminish the importance of the classico wines in favor of our obsession with the single vineyards, but the best blended Barolos express the complexity that comes from combining fruit from different terroirs – think B. Mascarello, G. Rinaldi. We miss out on some great wine if we ignore a classico wine that’s as good as Brovia’s, which is altogether a serious wine, and something very fine. I can’t pretend that I think it will be ready to drink soon – in May the wine showed orange and herbal notes, quite savory with ripe, slightly grainy tannin; it’s really an infant, but it will repay some time to age, and other forms of tender care. Jamie Wolff  

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Brovia 2010 Barolo Brea Ca'Mia

In conformance with changes to labeling regulations that went into effect this year, Ca’Mia is now called Brea - Vigna Ca’Mia. This has no effect on what is one of the great wines of the region, and a transparent vehicle for old vines from limestone soil. And as usual it shows earthy and chalky, with dark fruit on the nose, all reflected on the palate. It’s quite full bodied – again a surprise in how it combines intense and dense structure that seems balanced and even elegant. Another Brovia for the cellar. Jamie Wolff

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Brovia 2010 Barolo Rocche dei Brovia

Rocche is not exactly what you might call feminine in character (and in that sense it’s probably silly to refer to any Barolo as Chambolle-esque), but all things being relative, Rocche reminds me more and more of Chambolle for finesse and balance. This is apparent in Brovia Rocche 2010, which is one example of the vintage that recalls 1989 – amazing purity, and plenty of power with beautiful balance. It’s an elegant wine, and I think a great wine, but tight and tough now. Let’s meet in 2025… Jamie Wolff

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Brovia 2011 Barolo

2011 Barolo is an amazingly elegant and – sorry, but I can’t think of a more accurate way to say it – classy wine. Deep, restrained, sophisticated (sorry, again!); it’s very savory and subtle, not showing a lot of fruit. There’s no heat, the tannins are beautifully ripe and velvety, and it has great length. Absolutely classic fine wine – amazing wine, actually. Jamie Wolff

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Burlotto 2007 Barolo Acclivi

A blend of fruit from 3 great Verduno vineyards — Monvigliero, Rocche del’Ormo, and Neirane — and some fairly high elevations, which may help maintain the fresh character of the wine. Darker and more structured than the Barolo classico, with the nose more on the mineral side, with rose and herbs; very fresh, deep, serious, somewhat tight now but evidently very good wine. JW

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Burlotto 2007 Barolo Cannubi

As a group the 2007s from Cannubi that we tasted in May (2011) were rich and fairly fat — as compared to fruit from Verduno, for example. So Burlotto’s is darker in the glass — and in character — than his other wines, full of fruit, savory and mineral, with great ripe tannin and good balanced acidity. A wine for the cellar, this shows better than most of the big 2007s. JW

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Burlotto 2007 Barolo Monvigliero

Amazing finesse for 2007, especially given the uncompromising vinification (see our note for Monvigliero 2006). A wine for the cellar, nonetheless this has a lovely open quality, especially on the palate where it tastes very clean with good freshness and vivacity, along with a lot of depth. Plenty of ripe tannin; cocoa, tea, rose, chalk, truffle — an aristocratic wine, and one of the very best of the 2007s tasted. Gold Medal! JW

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Burlotto 2008 Barolo Monvigliero

Very aromatic, showing cherry/red fruits, cinnamon/baking spices, truffle, stone and chalk. The fruit continues sweet on the palate, balanced by very fresh acidity, rich savory and herbal notes, and fine ripe tannin, carrying on to a very long finish. The wine is lovely and light in the mouth – kind of amazing considering the very old-school production, with whole clusters crushed by foot in open wood fermenters, and up to 60 days of fermentation and maceration, all of which still results in remarkable elegance and finesse – a powerful wine with a truly delicate presence. Burlotto Monvigliero is surely one of the great wines of Barolo. 

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Burlotto 2009 Barolo Monvigliero

A very aromatic and terroir-driven wine, with the chalk of Monvigliero showing bright and citrusy. There are fine truffle aromas too, and wild strawberry fruit; a long and vivid finish – terrific wine. Quite ripe but with cut and softer tannin – as with many 2009s not hard to drink now, and perhaps not a wine for the really long haul. Also a really fine value for the very high quality of the wine. JW

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Burlotto 2011 Barolo

Fabio Alessandria says that the component vineyards for this wine gave “fruit with perfect maturity.” Certainly the wine shows great balance, elegance, and depth, along with good freshness, lift, and energy that runs counter to many 2011s. In May it was quite approachable – a wine merchant’s dream, in fact. Jamie Wolff

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Burlotto 2011 Barolo Monvigliero

Another great, superb, over-the-top-good vintage for Monvigliero. As usual. And I’m prepared to dance, to steal from our friends and shout glorious, boldface adjectives of praise in all caps, to foam at the mouth, just to try to say: If you have admired this wine in the past, even a little, then you must have some of the 2011. Jamie Wolff

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Burlotto 2012 Barolo Monvigliero

Burlotto's Monvigliero is famous in part because of its very old-fashioned 90-day maceration in wood; what's interesting to the non-scientific mind is that it's much more elegant and silky than many other wines that see much shorter maceration - somehow the extended process yields a super-elegant wine. Aromatically savory and herbal (but not green), with distinct notes of quinine and orange peel, the wine is very fresh and long. As usual, a remarkable wine. Jamie Wolff

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Canonica, Giovanni 2010 Barolo Paiagallo

Some big news at Canonica: he’s added a parcel of vines in Grinzane Cavour and will have another 800 bottles of Barolo, thus increasing his production  by about 30%!

I tasted Canonica 2010 at the cellar twice this spring, and as always the wine calls to mind some of my favorites, showing great finesse and a bit of edgy rusticity that adds complexity – think B. Mascarello, G. Rinaldi. It’s very classic aromatically; medium body with great freshness and intensity; savory with a bit of balsalm, mint, liquorice, and beautiful, rich wild cherry fruit. Overall a great success, reflecting the fine balance in the vintage’s best wines. JW

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Canonica, Giovanni 2011 Barolo Paiagallo

Typically austere, and very classic, very much a Canonica wine, and actually quite delicious. Good cherry fruit, intense but ripe tannin; not at all hot, and light-medium bodied, which is not an easy trick to pull off in 2011. I am really happy with this wine! Jamie Wolff

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Canonica, Giovanni 2012 Barolo Grinzane Cavour

Barolo labeled Grinzane (or one of the 5 crus of the village) is rare, and we really know very little about the territory or what a Grinzane wine ‘should be’. Suffice it to say that Canonica has made an excellent wine from his recently inherited Grinzane vines (which are 50+ years old, with a high percentage of the now quite rare “Rose” clone of Nebbiolo). I thought it was one of the best 2012s of the many dozens we’ve tasted, with dramatic fruit aromas that follow all the way through to the finish with a flourish of kirsch-like fruit, though much modulated on the palate by savory notes. The wine was showing very open and energetic, with elegant ripe tannin; it was considerably more accessible than the Paiagallo, but clearly will age to its benefit.  Jamie Wolff

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Canonica, Giovanni 2012 Barolo Paiagallo

There may be new wine at Canonica, but nothing’s changed with the winemaking, which is still resolutely old-fashioned, and which yields a very old-school Paiagallo that needs real time in the cellar. The 2012 is no exception – it’s a firm, medium-weight wine, a touch austere now but with lovely aromas that are intense and floral with a lot of black cherry. The tannins are very fine and focused, and the wine has plenty of cut. Given the depth of the wine, it’s a good sign that it is showing elegant balance – a typically complex Canonica wine. Jamie Wolff

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