Private Collection: Nebbiolo

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Ar.Pe.Pe. 2001 Valtelina Riserva Grumello Buon Consiglio

Ready to drink — ‘a punto’, says an Italian taster nearby — this is reminiscent of an elegant and refined 1989 Barolo, like Cappellano, or Conterno Cascina Francia. All of the aromatic and palate components of mature Nebbiolo are present, with aromas of stone and limestone, strawberry, spices, tar; the tannins are ripe and soft; this is an absolutely gorgeous wine, a beauty. ‘Buon Consiglio’ translates as ‘good advice’… Pay attention!

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Ar.Pe.Pe. 2001 Valtelina Riserva Sassella Vigna Regina

*This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.* Ar.Pe.Pe works with longish fermentations (20-25 days) and 3 years in botte of oak and chestnut for the Riservas. The Valtellina doesn’t generally produce the intense tannin and high acid of Barolo and Barbaresco (sadly most winemakers there choose to use barriques to make up for the relatively delicate structure of Valtellina fruit), but Sassella tends to produce somewhat firmer wines. This shows a bit more structure than the Grumello, with lovely richness and velvety tannins, and a very Barolo-like presence – if your Barolo was about 25 years old. Kirsch/cherry, spices, a bit saline, with orange and iron on the finish. A real achievement and a great wine.

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Vallana 2010 Spanna cuvee Bernardo Vallana

A new bottling (with the very cool label used for the old Cantina del Camino) in honor of the founder of Vallana, this is a blend from Nebbiolo vines in Boca and Gattinara. We've been tasting a lot of wine from the region lately, and this really tastes like Vallana, with much more finesse than the competition. It's certainly drinking very young now and will repay some time in the cellar. 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 Garblet Sué

The embarrassing truth is that I barely wrote a note about this wine, beyond saying “v. good, intense, ripe tannin, a step more structured than Rocche”. Poetry in motion… I must have gone into a 1000 yard stare… this can happen when you taste a lot of wine after lunch. My apologies! Jamie Wolff

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Burlotto 2006 Barolo Monvigliero

Two elements of the production of this wine are both fascinating to the wine geek and make an important contribution to the character of the wine: 1) the grapes are crushed by foot, super old style; this avoids a potential problem of mechanical crushing, when bitter tannin can be extracted from broken stems and seeds. In turn this method supports 2) the fermented wine is left to macerate with the skins for 60 days. Even the die-hard trads hardly ever go past 40 days (Roagna being another exception, using a crazy-long maceration for some of their wines); in these skilled hands the result is not over-extraction but instead a sense of depth that’s profound. Looking back at 3 years of notes for Burlotto’s Monvigliero (2005, 2006, 2007), my impressions are very consistent, with my first note being “tartuffo!” (or truffle). Then, roses, chalk, cocoa, aromatic herbs, citrus — orange peel. These carry through on the palate, supported by very ripe tannin, excellent depth. The wine is subtle, elegant and fine. Certainly 10 years in the cellar will make it worth waiting. Really a beautiful wine. JW

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Burlotto 2012 Barolo

Really quite a lovely Barolo, not powerful but (for lack of a more original metaphor) quite feminine; "Barbaresco-like", says one of our group, and it makes sense. The tannins are very fine-grained and elegant, and the overall impression is of a wine that's beautifully balanced. This will probably be quite easy and pleasurable to drink young. Jamie Wolff

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Gea, Fabbio 2011 Barbaresco Notu Seguiva le Gocce d'Acqua

Barbaresco: “Notu” was Fabio’s grandfather, and the name of the wine means “Notu followed the drops of water.” Although it may not be intended, the reference to water makes sense when you taste the wine, which has a kind of crystalline freshness and clarity that reminds one of spring water. Fabio writes: “48 months fining barrel (the wood Fabio use are not really “toasted,” but vaporized with specific volcanic hot rocks (no any creation of toxic elements after this treatment) and after unique mass for 6 months in porcelain jars (Fabio is the designer and the ceramist of his own porcelain jars; very probably the first one winemaker in the world that uses “no breathing ceramics” for winemaking).  1175 bottles made.”The 2011 is an edgy, dynamic wine, showing ripe fruit balanced by great lift and transparency. It stands out in the vintage, and it’s exciting to drink.  Jamie Wolff

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Produttori del Barbaresco 1974 Barbaresco

1974 was a sleeper vintage for the Produttori, and it has definitely impressed on two separate occasions while tasting vertical flights of the cooperative's normale. Ripe red and black cherry fruit flavors mingle with secondary notes of balsamic, dark chocolate, and spaded earth. The medium body and robustness is supported by a quite lithe texture (1/17/17). Jonas Mendoza

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Rinaldi, Francesco 1974 Barolo

This bottle is drinking so well right now. If you can spare the money, please do your self a favor and grab one while you can. Poised on the brink of maturity, the wine offers savory, tertiary aromas of earth, roasting meat, and mushroom along with delicate, mouth-filling dried cherry flavors. Really, this is the kind of beautiful, masterfully wrought wine that defies description and lingers in one's memory for years. Make sure to give the wine ample time to decant; it will take several hours of air for it to show all it has to offer. -msb

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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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Sandri, Elio (Cascina Disa) 2007 Barolo

Coming from vines planted in 1937, 3700 vines a mix of 20% Michet and 80% Lampia clones, this is the source of greatness. These old vines are in tune with their wonderful mostly south facing position and yield fruit that is balanced, rich and deep with flavor and harmony. Fermented for 21-28 days, with natural yeasts and submerged caps, these wines are then aged for up to 7 years in bottle of Slavonia oak, and even though the minimum is some 60 months the average is most likely quite close to the full 7 years.

2007: A bit of caramel and bouillon cube on the nose, celery salt and mushroom as well. The texture is surprisingly lovely, light yet with a nice tannic bite, good acids, and marked complexity on the palate.  There’s great wild raspberry fruit on the mid-palate framed with nutty nuance and packed with rosehips and lingering rose petal inner mouth perfumes. The dusty tannins draw out the finish and while this is lovely the nose is notably more advanced than the palate.  Still, this is long, elegant, and soft in the house style. Gregory Dal Piaz
 

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