Taste v. Taste

5/31/12 - 

(Verduno – a very quiet small town with 3 very good restaurants, and 3 fine places to stay – seen from the vineyard called Rocche dell’Olmo. The vines are mostly western-facing; Rocche dell’Olmo has long been considered ideal for blending – as in the Burlotto Barolo Acclivi – to add good freshness and verve to the classic blend of vineyards. Climate change, and the accompanying increase in temperatures, means that the fruit quality here has improved a lot. )

As a Nebbiolo fanatic (and as a wine merchant) I’m very happy about 2008 in Barolo. The wines are beginning to arrive in the US, and we’ve just returned from a fairly marathon-like visit to the region, tasting ‘08s from dawn to bed.

For the most part we visited our old favorites, who seem to make good wines no matter the vintage; the winemakers unanimously expressed a distinct preference for 2008 v. 2007 (and mystification regarding the fuss over 2007 in the first place); coming from a cooler growing season, the 2008s are more ‘classic’, with lower alcohol levels, excellent balance, with ripe tannins and firm acidity supported by rich fruit. The good 2008s are wines that will age very well indeed; we have great wine to look forward to from Cappellano, Brovia, both Mascarellos, G. Rinaldi, Oddero, Canonica, Roagna, G. Conterno, etc.

The key name included in that ‘etc’ is Burlotto, who  (to conflate some highly technical terms) hit a bomb out of the park in 2008. Burlotto also did very well in 2007, dodging the common trap of over-ripe fruit and under-ripe tannins, but 2008 is much better suited to their strength of making elegant and subtly powerful wines.

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