Private Collection: Italy

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Brovia 2003 Barolo Ca'Mia

As you might expect, the Ca’ Mia is the most structured of the Brovia 2003’s, with a lot of depth and richness. It’s quite savory, with some dark fruit and a lot of chalky mineral, making for a rich but still rather severe wine. I think this is an excellent wine – just leave it in your cellar for a few more years. 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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Cappellano 2004 Barolo Gabutti Rupestris

Classic Nebbiolo nose — earthy, mineral, wild red fruit — raspberry — strawberry, a little violet; this is actually delicate and refined; old fashioned wine but clean and pure; very fine tannins, medium bodied, plenty of fruit and LONG.

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Cappellano 2004 Barolo Gabutti Pie Franco

A true grand wine. Sweet fruit, stony mineral, earth on the nose with some dark tobacco/molasses notes; this is more solid and darker than the Rupestris. Very classic, tight, and long, with great balance between fruit and mineral. One for the cellar and for the record books. As you may know, the Pie Franco means pre-phylloxera root stock; in any case it's something magical. JW

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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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Conti 2004 Boca Il Rosso Delle Donne

The Conti sisters’ wines can show a bit hard and tannic when young, but at age 10 this wine is entering delicious, early maturity.  I opened a bottle early in the week and was immediately impressed by the combination of savory herbs and fine-grained tannins.  There was a bit of succulent, dusty, black-cherry fruit, but the wine’s formidable structure was the salient factor.  Eager to revisit the next day, I found a wine that still had Nebbiolo’s firm, tannic structure, but the fruit had developed more intensity and the wine finished with a delightful, alpine flavor.  At Conti, the blend is 70% Nebbiolo with 20% Vespolina, and the remainder Uva Rara – both native grapes prized for giving wine finesse.  With a bit of air, this wine drinks superbly now, and in the coming years will certainly become a classic example of a little-known region.  JR

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Oddero 2010 Barolo Rocche di Castiglione

It’s nice that we’re not forced to pick favorites, but if I did have to choose a preferred Barolo vineyard it would be Rocche, which often makes me think of great Burgundy along the lines of top Chambolle Musigny or top Vosne Romanee — tremendous finesse cloaking depth and power (for me tasting the best Chambolle or Vosne mostly consists of happy memories — these days Rocche is a lot more affordable!). Oddero Rocche carries the intense chalky minerality and lift that you’d expect, along with what can only be called sheer class — our British friends might say ‘breed’, or ‘pedigree’. That said, this is a structured wine that needs some time to unwind — 10 years, just to guess. Certainly all the components to age are there in beautiful balance. A very classic and truly excellent wine.  JW

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Rinaldi, Giuseppe 2006 Barolo Brunate - le Coste

The Brunate — Le Coste is, as usual, more brooding, darker, and more structured than the Cannubi -Ravera, but shows similar elegance and finesse. Clearly this will need a bit more time in the cellar. Jamie Wolff (2008)

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Rinaldi, Giuseppe 2006 Barolo Cannubi - Ravera

Sig. Rinaldi is a key figure in the renaissance and development of natural wine in Italy, acting as mentor and inspiration to other producers. He’s also one of the organizers of the great natural wine fair called ViniViniVini. Tasted there two weeks ago, the Cannubi-Ravera 2006 shows great potential — of course the wine is tight, but nonetheless it was very expressive and beautifully balanced, with gorgeous kirsch fruit and mineral aromas and flavors dominating; the finesse that’s typical of this wine — delicate and powerful at the same time — is already evident. Jamie Wolff (2008)

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Rinaldi, Giuseppe 2009 Barolo Brunate - Le Coste

We tasted this from barrel in May (barrel meaning really big old ‘botte’ – the barrel in question stands at least 15 feet high) and the wine was spectacular then. Very classic, very pure with great balance and everything desirable present. A wine to love, but a wine for the cellar. Jamie Wolff (2011)

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Rinaldi, Giuseppe 2011 Barolo Brunate

Tasted twice (once from barrel in 2014, and from bottle in March 2015), this shows the warmth of the vintage in terms of a solid dark core, ripe tannin and tons of black cherry fruit (reminiscent of Cascina Francia), but without losing the balance that Rinaldi always seems to achieve. Jamie Wolff

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Rinaldi, Giuseppe 2011 Barolo Tre Tine

Formerly labeled Cannubi San Lorenzo - Ravera, this is close to same blend / same wine. Early on (from barrel in 2014) the Tre Tine seemed closer in style to Brunate than usual, sharing a dark core of ripe fruit, and very ripe tannin. A year later there was more obvious difference, with the elegance of Cannubi beginning to shine. Out of about 120 Barolos, this is one of the very best 2011s we've tasted. Jamie Wolff

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Borgo del Tiglio 1995 Collio Tocai Friulano

From vines grown in Flysch di Cormons (mixed sandstone and marls), fermented and aged in barrel. Pale gold robe. A touch shy aromatically upon opening, but with a quick decant, the aromatic palette expands: scents of white flowers, golden delicious apple, orange oil,  and honey vie with notes of wet stone and iron for prominence. On the multi-layered palate it displays flavors of stone fruit, acacia, Mirabelle plum, with a steely mineral character and a fine zesty acidity on the long, detailed finish. As with other bottles of Borgo del Tiglio from this era, decanting the wine and following it over an afternoon reveals a surprising amount of aromatic detail and textural complexity. Decanted and served a bit cooler than cellar temperature, this pairs beautifully with the local Prosciutto San Danielle, sea food, and fresh cheeses. John McIlwain 

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Bruna 2013 Riviera Ligure di Ponente Pigato Majé

Francesca Bruna and her husband Roberto make this deliciously light Pigato from young vines grown on blue clay soil, 260 meters above sea level in Liguria. “Majé” in the Ligurian dialect actually refers to the traditional stone-walled terraces dotted around these steep slopes. Starting out crisp and clean, it develops in the glass to be savory and aromatic showing stone fruit and herbs. Enjoy with fresh fish and shellfish, roasted vegetables, or anything with pesto. Christine Manula

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Felsina 2004 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia

Rancia is a south-facing vineyard on quartz and sandstone rocky soil. It produces a full-bodied expression of Sangiovese. It has lush blackberry and black cherry fruit with cinnamon, tobacco and fig with long sweet tannins. TB

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Fornacina 2011 Brunello di Montalcino

Fornacina 2011 Brunello is a rich wine from a ripe vintage showing slightly roasted black cherry fruit and notes of tobacco, rosemary, and tar.  the palate is dense with plenty of tannin and mouthwatering acidity showing more overtly fruity than the nose with a slight ferrous touch on the finish. Drinking well now the wine will certainly continue to age for another 10 years.  The estate was certified organic in 2004 and only produces the Brunello from their own grapes in a traditional style: native yeast fermentation, raised in Slavonian botti for 3 years, and rested in bottle for 1 year. Try it with leg of lamb, grilled steak, or especially rich pork dishes. Andy Paynter

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