Tag Archives: Scopri

A decade of Bartolo Mascarello Barolo: my take on the wines….

A decade of Bartolo Mascarello at Scopri
A decade of Bartolo Mascarello at Scopri

Over the last two years I have been lucky to have a fellow group of Italian wine lovers that wanted to drink the great wines of Italy and we have structured each dinner along a certain theme or producer. It is now at the stage where demand for a spot for these dinners is so great, that the limited spots available fill up in a matter of hours.

The wines either come from my cellar in Italy or cellars of individuals who attend the dinners. Last week we looked at a decade of Bartolo Mascarello Barolo, next month it is a decade of Giacomo Conterno Monfortino and in September, twenty vintages of Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco. Talk about educational.

There is nothing like sharing great bottles with friends over dinner and last week we shared many great bottles. Apart from the 1999 and 2011 which weren’t great bottles (but I would still happily drink them if on my own) the line up overall was of a very high standard. These are the best of the best. Rare collectors items and it is good to see them drunk rather than hung on to.

Below are some brief notes by myself on the wines. I have also listed Antonio Galloni as a comparison and sometimes with these wines, it is more about the bottle than the wine.


Reviews by Antonio Galloni to give you another perspective of the wines and  my comments in italic’s on the wines:

Bartolo Mascarello Dolectto 2012

The 2012 Dolcetto d’Alba is drop-dead gorgeous. Dark cherry, plum, violets and lavender all flesh out in a soft, supple Dolcetto laced with expressive dark red/purplish fruit. Mascarello’s Dolcetto can sometimes be a bit austere and compact, not the 2012. It is stunning, classic and utterly delicious. 2014 – 2019 91 points Antonio Galloni

Upfront and perfumed, lovely weight and structure. A wine to drink young and enjoy the yummy upfront fruits.

Bartolo Mascarello Langhe Nebbiolo 2010

Readers who want to get a sense of the quality of the 2010 vintage in Barolo should check out the estate’s 2010 Langhe Nebiolo, which is essentially one cask of declassified Nebbiolo entirely from Barolo-designated vineyards. Sweet, perfumed and utterly gracious, the 2010 is all about grace and finesse. Layers of expressive Nebbiolo fruit flow through to the effortless and hugely inviting finish. 2013 – 2020 89 points Antonio Galloni

Structured and intense, just starting to enter it’s drinking window with upfront typical Nebbiolo fruits and still with enough acidity to see it continue to improve in the short term.


Bartolo Mascarello Langhe Nebbiolo 2011

Mascarello’s 2011 Langhe Nebiolo is one of the great, hidden gems in Piedmont. Freshly cut flowers, rose petals, sweet red berries and mint are all woven together in a wine of impeccable balance and total class. The 2011 is at once delicate and perfumed, but also has an extra level of richness from the warm vintage. The Langhe Nebiolo (note the traditional spelling with one ‘B’) is made from pre-selection of fruit taken in the vineyard and destined for a shorter fermentation/cask aging regime in the cellar. 2014-2021 92 points Antonio Galloni

Riper in colour and more developed than the 2010. A bigger wine but not better than the 2010. I would drink this whilst waiting for the 2010 Langhe Nebbiolo to come round.


Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 1999

Medium red. Mascarello’s 1999 Barolo is a brilliant effort, offering a perfumed, elegant nose and lovely notes of red cherry fruit, menthol and minerals that flow onto the palate in a display of extraordinary purity. As it sits in the glass subtle notes of earthiness and tobacco appear, the fruit becomes more ethereal, and the wine changes from its initial impression of power to more understated, nuanced expression of Nebbiolo. Deceptively medium bodied, it also has the structure to age well, and will still be a compelling Barolo at age 30. As has been the case in recent vintages I find more bottle variation than I would like, but this was the finest of the three bottles I tasted. 2013+ 93 points Antonio Galloni

Not a great bottle of 99 and already showing signs of oxidation. Storage is not an issue (climate controlled since release) so obviously a cork issue when you compare to Antonio Galloni’s notes.


Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2000

After many years I have finally concluded that Bartolo Mascarello’s 2000 Barolo will always remain a mystery to me. From bottle, the 2000 Barolo has never been satisfying. I have gone through a number of bottles, mostly from my own cellar, and been consistently disapointed. As the wine has aged the ever present rustic bouquet has developed but not disappeared. Autumn leaves, mushrooms, dried cherries, tobacco and faded roses are some of the nuances that emerge from the glass. The unpolised qualities reappear on a finish marked by hard tannins. 2013-2020 86 points Antonio Galloni

Oddly enough, from magnum, the 2000 Barolo is magnificent, with none of the imperfections I have found in so many of my bottles. The wine shows considerable 2000 personality in its warm, radiant fruit, but the large format has maintained freshness and verve. Readers who can find the 2000 in magnum will want to consider the wine. 2013-2025 96 points Antonio Galloni

 A surprise packet and showing extremely well. In the first stages of it’s drinking window, it is complex and unforced with beautifully rounded fruit and the structure to hold this length for many years to come.



Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2001

Barolo remains one the most quirky and idiosyncratic wines on the market. Initially soft and delicate, it offers a lovely core of open-knit, expressive macerated cherries, raspberries, spices, tar, freshly ground coffee beans and earthiness, giving the impression of being fairly ready to drink. With air, multiple tastings reveal a wine that has put on considerable weight, completely changing its personality to a big, structured Barolo supported by plenty of acidity and tannins to age. Though it freshened up considerably over time, it never became completely clean. At once highly compelling yet frustratingly flawed, it will appeal to readers who can look past its funky notes. That said, several recent bottles have been outstanding so I have upgraded my score accordingly. 2013-2026 92 points Antonio Galloni

Like the 1999 this bottle was not a great example of the 2001 Mascarello Barolo. Hints of brett on the palate has stripped back some of that fruit leaving a wine that does not show it’s full potential.

Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2003

Sweet tobacco, dried flowers, mint, and dried herbs meld together in the 2003 Barolo. The aromas have just begin to develop hints of tertiary complexity and nuance, while there is more than enough depth to support another decade of very fine drinking. The 2003 doesn’t have the finesse or polish of the best vintages, but it has certainly held up well. Exceptionally well. 2013-2024 92 points Antonio Galloni

Probably the surprise packed of the night. Beautiful wine. For a vintage like 2003, which was one of the hottest on record in Barolo, this is a sensual, delicately poised wine that still has plenty left in the tank. A wine that shows you not to generalise vintages when you have masters like Mascarello in control.


Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2004

Her pure, finessed 2004 Barolo offers a compelling array of perfumed violets, dark cherries and baking spices with superb clarity and delineation. A weightless, ethereal Barolo, it reveals notable freshness and supple tannins on the long, finessed finish. Although I have tasted this wine many times from cask, I first encountered it from bottle at a blind tasting where it was immediately recognizable for its style, purity and class. This is the best young Barolo I have tasted here in many a year. Fans of traditional Barolo won’t want to miss this superb effort. The 2004 Barolo was fermented for 20-30 days in cement. The malos progressed at an unusually slow pace and weren’t finished until the following summer. The wine was aged in medium-sized casks. Readers can also look forward to promising wines in 2005, 2006 and 2007. I also had a chance to re-taste the 2003, which is a lovely Barolo for nearer-term consumption. 2014-2029 95 points Antonio Galloni

Close to perfection and the reason why Mascarello is held in such high esteem. Long, layered, unforced, complex and etheral. Still with decades in front of it, yet drinking so well from a young age.


Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2005

The 2005 Barolo is super-delicate and finessed. This is a decidedly restrained, feminine style of Barolo laced with roses, raspberries, jasmine and berries. It will be fascinating to see which direction the 2005 takes from here. At times the wine appears to be putting on additional weight, but it nevertheless retains an element of frailty that is actually quite attractive. I rate the 2005 just behind the 2004, 2006 and 2007, but it is a gorgeous wine, and easily one of the very finest wines of the vintage. 2013-2025 95 points Antonio Galloni

Another fantastic Mascarello, not in the same groove as 2004 but in terms of quality, this is a very fine Barolo. It is still a few years away from entering it’s drinking window, but once it does arrive, the future is bright for this wine.



Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2006 (Magnum)

Mascarello’s 2006 Barolo boasts great purity and density in a round, harmonious expression of fruit that emerges from a mid-weight frame. Silky tannins frame the intensely fragrant, dark red fruit as this exceptionally elegant, refined Barolo shows off its pedigree. The finish is long, clean and refreshing, suggesting the wine has many years of very fine drinking in store for readers who are lucky enough to own this bottle. Proprietor Maria-Theresa Mascarello describes 2006 as a hot year. The Nebbiolo harvest here began earlier than normal, on the 23rd of September, the same as 2005. That said, the 2006 Barolo has retained the classic, mid-weight style that readers have come to expect from Bartolo Mascarello. 2016-2031+ 96 points Antonio Galloni

Wow. Up there with the 2004 in that it is close to perfect for a young Barolo. This wine is going to have a very long future ahead of it and already the complexity and class of this wine is obvious. This wine also highlights the  quality Maria-Theresa Mascarello possesses and even with a generational change, the quality at Mascarello has never been higher.


Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2007

Mascarello’s 2007 Barolo flows from the glass with masses of round, enveloping fruit. This is an unusually soft, juicy Barolo from Mascarello that is remarkable for its textural richness and warm radiant fruit. The 2007 doesn’t have the aromatic complexity of the 2005 or 2006, but it makes up for that with its totally seductive personality. Crushed flowers, berries and sweet baking spices linger on a generous finish that evokes memories of the 1990. 2017-2032 96 points Antonio Galloni

This wine is a product of the year but like the 2003 Barolo, it has handled the extreme heat conditions far better than most other producers. This wine is already on the front foot, without the tannin structure of classic years. It is a wine for those that prefer to drink Mascarello sooner rather than later.


Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2008

All is forgotten once the audience tastes Maria-Theresa Mascarello’s 2008 Barolo. The room is totally silent. That is usually a good sign. A totally spellbinding wine, the 2008 is flat-out stunning from the moment it emerges from the glass. The fruit is sweet, layered and haunting in its beauty, while the tannins are remarkably polished. This is a perfect example of the new paradigm in Barolo; today’s wines just don’t need decades to come around anymore. I bought these bottles ex-cellar and brought them back to US myself. What a difference that makes. The 2008 Mascarello is simply dazzling. If you can find it, don’t hesitate. 2018-2048 98 points Antonio Galloni

Whilst not showing at this young wine as the 2004 and 2006, there is no denying that this will join these wines in Barolo greatness. So young but if you hold into your wine in the glass long enough, it slowly opens up to show the enormous potential that is possesses.  


Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2009

Bartolo Mascarello fans will want to stock up on the 2009 Barolo, a great choice for indulging in pure pleasure while vintages like 2006, 2008 and 2010 take their time to develop in bottle. Dried rose petals, fennel, anise, sweet tobacco and mint are all very much alive in the glass. The 2009 is ethereal, graceful and utterly beguiling from the very first taste. I expect the 2009 will mature relatively quickly by the estate’s standards, but there is more positive to that than negative. 2014-2029 94 points Antonio Galloni

A fantastic Mascarello but without hitting the high notes of the previous vintage. Slightly forward and a good example of vintage variation with a typical Mascarello house style.


Getting excited: Ten Vintages of Bartolo Mascarello Barolo tomorrow night.

I have had some great dinners with a group of Italian wine lovers over the past two years. Tomorrow nights dinner looking at Bartolo Mascarello over a decade will be one of the best yet.

After the dinner I will report back on the dozen or so wines we are going to drink on the night.


Monforte and its Crus @ Scopri Food & Wine last night…

Over the last few months, a group of Italian wine lovers have been working our way through the cru’s of Barolo. Last month it was La Morra, last night in was Monforte and buy did the wines look good.

The menu for our Monforte dinner last night.
The menu for our Monforte dinner last night.

The food as usual was a great match to the wines and whilst it has been a few months since my last visit to Scopri, and it reminded me just how good this restaurant is.

The line up of wines from Monforte.

The line up of wines from Monforte.


In the next few days I will post full notes on the wines, but it was definately a great experience looking at  sixteen wines from the different cru’s of Monforte from 1990 up to the current release 2010 vintage wines.

A dinner with Fatalone @ Scopri…


Well for those that have been lucky enough to book a spot via the Scopri mailing list, we have Pasquale in Melbourne for one night on Monday 10th of February for a special dinner. This dinner sold out in record time and there are 30-40 listed on the mailing list.

The wines of Fatalone at Radici del Sud 2012
The wines of Fatalone at Radici del Sud 2012

It should be a great night with a sneak peak of Pasquale’s new and unreleased 2006 Riserva (which will be released sometime this year) available to try on the night. The wines will be matched with typical Puglese dishes.

Wine needs time…


Last week, my regular wine group (we have been meeting roughly once a month for over ten years) got together at one of our favorite venues, Scopri for a dinner focused on Tuscan Sangiovese.
We looked at all styles (Brunello, Chianti Classico Riserva, Vino Nobile and Supertuscan). Whilst most of the wines I had drunk before, it again highlighted to me just how good this grape variety is and importantly how much times it needs to open up.

A perfect example was the Biondi Santi Brunello do Montalcino 2006z this wine was opened 8 hours before dinner and even after it was poured, it was only in the last glass or so did it really start to shine. In the last hour, it opened up to show complexity, structure and tannin. I would have loved to keep a glass to drink the next day.

So it shows that great wines need time. I love watching a wine evolve. However if your are drinking top line Italian varietals, they need any hours, if not a day to really open up if you decide to drink them before they enter their drinking windows.

The late Franco Biondi Santi always opened the bottle the night before with one glass always taken out to let the wine breathe. After drinking his 2006, I could not agree more with this great man.

Celebrate circa 1973

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note to say that posting on my blog will return to normal in the next week or so. It has been a crazy period with a move into food (mainly cheese and prosciutto) now done. Boy did it take a lot out of me personally and it meant that most of my time has been taken up with the process of getting it all through to our climate controlled warehouses.

In the meantime, did we celebrate in style yesterday with a 40th birthday of my good friend Mathew and his favorite restaurant Scopri. As you can see below, the wine was from Mathew’s birth year in 1973 and the music was Billboard’s Top 100 from 1973.

See pictures below….







Two brothers tale of Barbera & Barolo: Aldo and Giacomo Conterno @ Scopri Thursday 18th October

On Thursday the 18th of October at Scopri Food and Wine, I will be running the second of a series of dinners’ looking at the best winemakers and best wines of Italy. 

This dinner is a comparison of two great brothers who started off at their family winery together before Aldo went his own way. This dinner is sold out, but if you would like to get on the waiting list for this dinner or are interested in future dinners email me at anthdanna@gmail.com

Their father was the acclaimed Barolista Giacomo Conterno, one of the denomination’s twentieth century pioneers who in 1920 began bottling the family’s Barolo Riserva, so heralding the birth of Monfortino, arguably Barolo’s most iconic wine.

 In 1961, Conterno and his brother Giovanni inherited the Giacomo Conterno winery; the two brothers went their separate ways in 1969 and Aldo created his own estate, Poderi Aldo Conterno, in Bussia in Monforte d’Alba.

 ‘Aldo Conterno was really a great man. He made Barolo history over the last fifty years by continuing to take the reputation of this unique wine to its highest level,’ said Pietro Ratti, a Barolo producer and president of the Consorzio di Tutela Barolo Barbaresco Alba Langhe e Roero.

One of the secrets of Conterno’s success, besides owning prime vineyards, was his open-mindedness, a quality few other Barolo producers from his generation possessed, and a trait which perhaps originated when Conterno moved to California in the 1950s to help his uncle establish a winery.

 Soon after arriving however, Aldo opted to complete his mandatory Italian military service in the US Army and served during the Korean War. By the time he got out, his uncle had abandoned the winery venture and Conterno returned to Piedmont.

 Aldo became known for balancing tradition with new techniques. By the 1970s, in an effort to reduce Barolo’s massive tannins, he had reduced customary fermentation times and abandoned the submerged cap method in favor of pumping over – all radical decisions at the time.

 Although he allowed his sons Franco, Stefano and Giacomo to use barriques for the firm’s other wines, he insisted on large Slavonian casks for Barolo.

‘Vanilla, toast, spice and sweet tannins don’t belong in Barolo,’ he said. Aldo Conterno’s celebrated Barolos include Granbussia Riserva and single vineyard bottlings Romirasco, Cicala and Colonnello. Decanter

Aldo Conterno Conca Tre Pile Bussia 2009 Barbera Alba


VINEYARD: Conca Tre Pile in Bussia (Monforte d’Alba).

HARVEST: manual, with grapes selection in the vineyard.

TIME OF HARVEST: first week of October.

VINIFICATION: red, with skin soaking inside stainless steel vats.

VINIFICATION TIME: the must stays on contact with the skins for about 8 to 10 days and it is further drawn off wine ; finally, the alcoholic VINIFICATION gets complete. 
VINIFICATION TEMPERATURES: from 26 to 28 degrees centigrades.

CELLAR REFINING: the new wine spends a few months inside stainless steel vats, it is transferred several times, and, consequently, it is poured onto barrels (“barriques”) where it remains for 12 months; finally, it will be bottled.

NOTES: the “Conca Tre Pile” is a hilly area in Bussia Soprana whose main vines are Barbera’s with vineyards having a maximum age of 45 years. The barrels (“barriques”) are 100% made of new wood.

Giacomo Conterno Cascina Francia 2009 Barbera d’Alba

The 2009 Barbera d’Alba Cascina Francia is at first quite a bit more floral and ethereal than the Cerretta, but with time in the glass the wine finds its center. The Cascina Francia dazzles with its combination of expressive, generous fruit and insistent minerality. Sweet herbs, roses, spices, anise, licorice and leather add complexity to a core of radiant fruit. This is a regal, aristocratic Barbera of the highest level. The 2009 has the openness of vintages such as 2007, but with the medium-bodied structure and finesse of silkier vintages such as 2004, which is a very appealing combination. This is a very complete, harmonious wine from Roberto Conterno. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2029. 93 points Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate 197, October 2011

Giacomo Conterno Cascina Francia 2010 Barbera d’Alba –Monforte

The 2010 Barbera d’Alba Cascina Francia is bigger, richer and broader than the Cerretta. Rose petals, sweet herbs, plums and dark cherries wrap around the palate in this striking, intensely satisfying Barbera. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030 (92-94) points Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate 200, October 2012

The late and great Aldo Conterno

 Aldo Conterno Grand Bussia Barolo 1997

VINIFICATION: in wood with maceration of the skins in large Slavonia oak casks.

PECIES OF VINE: Nebbiolo, Michet and Lampia varieties.

VINEYARD: Romirasco, Cicala and Colonnelo vineyards (Bussia – Monforte d’Alba).

HARVEST: manual, with grapes selection in the vineyard.

TIME OF HARVEST: mid-October.

VINIFICATION TIME: the must remains in contact with the skins for 60 days, during which the alcoholic fermentation is fully completed.

VINIFICATION TEMPERATURES: variable with maximum peaks of 32 degrees centigrade.

CELLAR REFINING: once removed the new wine remains in large Slavonia oak casks where it ages and refines for 32 montha.

NOTES: the Barolo Reserve Granbussia is produced by blending grapes from the oldest vines, from the Romirasco, Cicala, and Colonnello, before fermentation starts, in the following percentages respectively: 70% – 15% – 15%. Naturally these optimal values may vary depending on the year.

The Granbussia remains in the cellar for at least 7 years before commercialization. It  is produced exclusively in the best years and in limited quantities.

Granbussia, the Barolo Riserva of the house, is made principally from the grapes of the Romirasco vineyard, the estate’s highest, and the altitude was obviously of real assistance in the unusually hot year of 1997. The 1997 Barolo Riserva Granbussia, quite fresh for the vintage, features a sweet, ripe, floral and tarry nose, fine cherry and plum fruit on the rich and full-bodied palate along with minerals, herbs, licorice, and asphalt. Though always a long-lived wine, it generally comes around earlier than Vigna Cicala, and I would choose to drink the wine between 2005 and 2020. 92 points, Daniel Thomases, Wine Advocate #149 Oct 2003

Giacomo Conterno Cascina Francia 1997 Barolo Monforte

1997 Barolo Cascina Francia—Dark ruby. Incredibly beautiful nose of dried flowers and sweet fruit. The 1997 is dense and lush on the palate, showing very ripe dark cherry fruit, with notable extract and glycerin. Another wine that is just singing today, the alluring and irresistible 1997 offers superb drinking now. 92+ points Antonio Galloni In the Cellar Jul 2005


Giacomo Conterno Cascina Francia 1998 Barolo Monforte

The 1998 Barolo Cascina Francia from Giacomo Conterno is delicate, layered and perfumed, showing gorgeous finesse and lovely inner tension in its fruit. Overall this is a soft, accessible Cascina Francia that is drinking beautifully today and should last for at least another decade. Both bottles I tasted from the property were truly sublime but I should point out that I, and others, have had decidedly different experiences with bottles purchased in the US, which have often come across as more austere for reasons that admittedly remain somewhat of a mystery. For those who are curious, I didn’t included a note on the 1998 Monfortino as it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that the wine is much too young to deliver any real pleasure at this stage, no matter how thrilling the wine might be to taste! Anticipated maturity: 2009-2019. 93 points Antonio Galloni In the Cellar Mar 2009

Giacomo Conterno Cascina Francia 1999 Barolo Monforte

1999 Barolo Cascina Francia—Dark lively red. The exceptional and outrageously decadent 1999 exemplifies the very best qualities of traditional Barolo. A wine of great length and persistence, it offers a multidimensional nose of sweet fruit, minerals and tar and a dense, layered personality bursting with flavors of dark ripe fruit, tar, roses and mint. Of these first four wines, the 1999 is clearly in a league of its own. 94 points/drink after 2009, tasted 05/05 Antonio Galloni In the Cellar Jul 2005

Conterno makes two Barolos both from the Cascina Francia vineyard, one of the great monopole sites in Piedmont. The vineyard was purchased by Giovanni Conterno in 1974 and measures six hectares. Cascina Francia is made in a traditional style, with natural yeasts and temperature-controlled fermentation and maceration lasting 3-4 weeks. The wines are aged in large Slavonian oak casks and are bottled in the summer of the fourth year following the harvest. In great vintages a special selection of the best fruit is made in the vineyard and that fruit becomes the Barolo Riserva Monfortino, perhaps the single most iconic wine in all of Piedmont. Monfortino is also made with natural yeasts, although fermentation/maceration time is longer, lasting 4-5 weeks, and is carried out without the aid of temperature control. Current vintages are aged seven years in cask, but past vintages have seen as much as 10 years of cask aging before being released. Monfortino is legendary for its extraordinary longevity, which is usually measured in decades. Antonio Galloni In the Cellar Jul 2005

Aldo Conterno Bussia Colonnello 2000 Barolo Monforte

SPECIES OF VINE: Nebbiolo, Michet and Lampia varieties.

VINEYARD: “Colonnello” vineyard, in Bussia (Monforte d’Alba).

HARVEST: manual, with grapes selection in the vineyard.

TIME OF HARVEST: mid-October.

VINIFICATION: red, with skin soaking inside stainless steel vats.

VINIFICATION TIME: the must stays on contact with the skins for 30 days: during this time the alcoholic VINIFICATION  gets fully complete, and the wine is then drawn off. VINIFICATION TEMPERATURES: changeable, with highest peaks of 32 degrees centigrades.

CELLAR REFINING: The new wine is racked several times before transfer to large Slavonia oak casks where it is aged and refined for 28 months.

NOTES: the vineyard “Colonnello” is about 40-45 years old and, to maintain it, its vines are replanted from time to time. The main variety of Nebbiolo is Michet and its rootstock is 420 A.

The 2000 Barolo Colonnello reveals a pretty bouquet with early stages of tertiary development. Tobacco, licorice and sweet spices emerge from the Burgundian bouquet. The Colonnello has aged evenly and gracefully. The tannins have melted away while the fruit is soft and expressive. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2018. 91 points, Antonio Galloni Wine Advocate #195 Jun 2011

Aldo Conterno Bussia Cicala 2000 Magnum 1,5 lt. Barolo Monforte

 SPECIES OF VINE: Nebbiolo, Michet and Lampia varieties.

VINEYARD: “Cicala” vineyard, in Bussia (Monforte d’Alba).

HARVEST: manual, with grapes selection in the vineyard.

TIME OF HARVEST: mid-October.

VINIFICATION: red, with skin soaking inside stainless steel vats.

VINIFICATION TIME: the must stays on contact with the skins for 30 days: during this time the alcoholic

VINIFICATION gets fully complete, and the wine is then drawn off.

VINIFICATION TEMPERATURES: changeable, with highest peaks of 32 degrees centigrades.

CELLAR REFINING: The new wine is racked several times before transfer to large Slavonia oak casks where it is aged and refined for 28 months.

NOTES: the vineyard “Cicala” [meaning: balm-cricket] is about 40-45 years old and its vines are replanted from time to time. The main variety of Nebbiolo is Lampia and its rootstock is Rupestris du Lot.

The 2000 Barolo Cicala opens with gorgeous notes of crushed berries. The 2000 is a relatively small-scaled, lithe Cicala that shows excellent freshness all the way through to the long finish. The wine gains energy and focus in the glass, with suggestions of menthol and pine that add lift. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020. 93 points, Antonio Galloni Wine Advocate #195 Jun 2011


The two greats of Barbaresco: Gaia & Bruno Giacosa Dinner @scopri Thursday 20th of September

Last Thursday a group of Italian wine lovers headed to Scopri to indulge in the wines of Angelo Gaja and Bruno Giacosa. The aim was to present wines that illustrated the amazing heights both Angelo Gaja and Bruno Giacosa could hit at their peak with Nebbiolo, and mainly Nebbiolo grown in the Barbaresco region of the Langhe. Today both men have plots in both Barbaresco and Barolo so there was a couple of Barolo’s thrown in for good measure to show that both men are equally adept to both Barbaresco and Barolo.

Apart from three wines (two Giacosa’a and one Gaja) being corked on the night (more on that on my next post) the night was a big success and showed that these wines are truly world class and when on song, as good as any wine produced in the world today.

Below are notes from Antonio Galloni and Robert Parker from the Wine Advocate just to give you some background information plus my brief notes (in italic) on each wine as well.

Strikingly profound and built to live for decades, Gaja’s wines display opulence and elegance unmatched elsewhere in Italy. These wines, while harnessing modern technology, have a long-established track record, ensuring they will perform well both in the glass and on the auction block. For any collector considering Italian wines, Gaja should be the first name on the list.

Bruno Giacosa, a man of few words but eloquent talent, practices an extremely simple philosophy based on the respect of traditions both in the vineyard and in the cellar. Giacosa brings out a richness of flavor and an intensity of character to produce wines of meditation. In addition to Bartolo Mascarello, and Giacomo Conterno, the Giacosa estate is the most respected producer of traditional style Barolo.

Bruno Giacosa Santo Stefano Barbaresco Riserva 1988

The 1988 is the most advanced of these Santo Stefanos.  It is fully mature, with notes of leather, tobacco, beef bouillon, prunes and spices on a medium-bodied frame with soft tannins and excellent length.   There appears to be little upside in cellaring bottles any further and I would choose to drink my remaining bottles within the next few years.  Antonio Galloni In the Cellar Apr 2007

Rich and robust with fantastic length and breadth. It is slowly on the downhill slide and would have been a truly amazing wine six or seven years ago. 

Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco 1989

Bruno Giacosa’s wines are well represented in my personal cellar, which was the source for the vast majority of these bottles. I have had the good fortune to taste all of Giacosa’s 1989s and 1990s from multiple sources over the last year, and therefore can report that these notes are representative of what readers can expect from well-stored bottles. I consider 1989 and 1990 – along with 1978, 1982, 1996, 2001, 2004 and 2007 – to be among Giacosa’s finest vintages. Antonio Galloni Wine Advocate #187 Feb 2010

Mildly corked and if this was a Friday night at home, I doubt the bottle would have gone down the sink. However, underneath the taint, there was some absolutely amazing fruit and tannins. If this bottle was sound, I would think it would have gone close to wine of the night.

Bruno Giacosa Gallina di Neive Barbaresco 1990

The 1990 Barbareso Gallina is simply awesome. The wine boasts a seamless core of rich red fruits in a soft, generous style. This opulent Barbaresco possesses impeccable balance and tons of class. Floral notes intermingled with bright red fruits provide lift on the finish, adding lovely balance to the dense fruit. This is the most approachable of Giacosa’s 1990s but has plenty of stuffing to last another twenty years. The 1978 is still going strong. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2025. 94 points Antonio Galloni Wine Advocate #187 Feb 2010

Corked. Again enough taint to mask the sheer quality of the wine.

Angelo Gaja Cerequio Conteisa Barolo 1990 (notes below courtesy of The Iron Chevsky Wine Blog)

In a recent Gaja and Burgers post, I talked about Gaja Gromis Barolo 2000, and raised a question about the connection of Gaja Gromis and Gaja Dagromis. For the wine geeks such as myself this connection needed to be explored. And since there was little-to-nothing on the internet regarding this topic, I emailed Gaia Gaja, the daughter of Angelo Gaja. She and I had recently met at a dinner at Donato Enoteca.

Dear Gaia,

I need a clarification. From my research on the internet, it is not clear what is the relationship between the Gromis Barolo, the Gromis Conteisa Cerequio Barolo, Conteisa Langhe and the Dagromis Barolo, and when some of the labels changed.

Dutifully Gaia responded. Here is the fascinating Gaja trivia that I learned.

In 1995 Gaja bought a propriety in La Morra. The property is 10 hectares, almost all included in the Cerequio vineyard. The winery (an obsolete building which they do not use) had a stock of older vintages. It took them a bit of time to understand what they had.

The propriety was named Gromis. The stock that was in the cellar was inspected, some vintages have not been sold because they did not like the quality, but some other vintages were very good (1970, 1982, 1989, etc) so Gaja released them with the label Barolo Gromis.

CONTESIA CEREQUIO BAROLO was the label Gaja devoted for the best Cerequio parcells (some vintages were already in the barrels at the moment of the acquisition, for example 1991 or 1993). So for those wines they took care of the last part of the ageing.

In 1996 Gaja decided to devote 4 hectars in the heart of Cerequio cru for the production of Gaja Conteisa Langhe Nebbiolo DOC which (like all of Gaja’s single vineyards …Costa Russi, Sori San Lorenzo, Sori Tildin and Sperss) is a blend of Nebbiolo and Barbera, in this case 92% Nebbiolo and 8% Barbera.

Stunning, ripe fruit that is perfectly balanced and with at least another decade in front of it. Fantastic effort.

Angelo Gaja Barbaresco 1995

1995 tends to be a good rather than great vintage in Piedmont, but Gaja’s sensational 1995s are among the stars of the vintage. This wine possesses extremely saturated dark ruby/purple colors, almost atypical for Nebbiolo. The 1995 Barbaresco offers a superb nose of licorice, cherry fruit, strawberries, flowers, and toasty scents. Ripe, dense, and lush, with an alluring, sexy personality, it is one of the more forward, generic Barbarescos Gaja has produced. Anticipated maturity: now-2011. Importer: Vinifera Imports, Ronkonkoma, NY; tel. (516) 467-5907 90 points Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #124 Aug 1999

Would you believe it, corked!!

Angelo Gaja Barbaresco 1996

The 1996 Barbaresco exhibits a dense ruby color as well as a forward nose of cherry liqueur, earth, truffle, mineral, and spicy scents. Rich, full-bodied, and seductive, with its moderate tannin largely concealed by the wine’s wealth of fruit and extract, this gorgeously pure offering gets my nod as the finest Barbaresco produced by Gaja since 1990. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2016. As I reported in issue #124 (8-27-99), 1996 is a spectacular vintage for Angelo Gaja. 90 points Robert Parker Wine Advocate #130 Aug 2000

Looking amazing, great length and depth of fruit. This is Angelo Gaja on top of his game. Only criticism is that the oak still sticks out a touch on the front palate, but I expect this to disappear with another decade of age.

Angelo Gaja Barbaresco 1997

Gaja’s 1997 Barbaresco is undoubtedly the finest he has yet made. An exquisite effort, it boasts a dense ruby/purple color in addition to an extraordinary nose of black cherry liqueur, smoke, licorice, mineral, and floral aromas. The wine is full-bodied, opulent, and loaded with fruit. Despite its precocious nature, there is abundant tannin, and thus 3-4 years of cellaring is required. It should age effortlessly for 25 years.

A genius for sure, Angelo Gaja can not be faulted for what he puts in the bottle. This work of art is worth every cent it will fetch. Robert Parker 94 points, Wine Advocate #135 Jun 2001

Balanced, lovely wine: in the groove and looking good. More complete wine than the 96 Gaja but it will be interesting to see which is better in the long run.

Angelo Gaja Sori San Lorenzo 2004

The 2004 Sori San Lorenzo is a drop-dead gorgeous wine. It presents awesome balance, especially in the way it marries power with elegance. This is a remarkably refined and understated Sori San Lorenzo, with never-ending layers of dark raspberries, licorice, grilled herbs and tar that flow from its sumptuous frame. A dark, brooding beauty, it will require several additional years of bottle at a minimum, but those with the patience to wait will be amply rewarded. In most vintages I prefer the Sori Tildin, but in 2004 Sori San Lorenzo has a very slight edge over its sibling. It may very well be the finest Sori San Lorenzo since the legendary 1971. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029.  98 points Antonio Galloni Wine Advocate #173 Oct 2007

The Barbera component is really sticking out in this wine. Darker in colour and more sweeter palate. An awesome wine and maybe an indication why Barbera has traditionally been added in Nebbiolo.

Angelo Gaja Barbaresco 2006

 The 2006 Barbaresco reveals terrific concentration, depth and purity. This is a remarkably soft, harmonious Barbaresco from Angelo Gaja with pretty notes of raspberries, crushed flowers and spices. The wine turns more powerful in the glass, as it gains additional richness, volume and depth, all of which carry through to the polished finish. The wine’s balance is impeccable, and this is easily is one the more harmonious, complete wines of the vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2026. 93 points Antonio Galloni Wine Advocate # 185 Oct 2009

 Awesome. So traditional almost the most pure expression of Nebbiolo on the night. Fragrant, savoury, perfumed and in the groove. This is going to live for a very long time.

Bruno Giacosa Falleto Barbaresco 1997

Giacosa’s 1997 Barolo Falletto de Serralunga is an exquisite Barolo offering superb notes of tar, earth, truffles, licorice, minerals, and cherry/raspberry fruit. There is plenty of acidity as well as high tannin, but concentrated, chewy flavors. The wine is tight, dense, impressive, and surprisingly structured for a 1997. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2025. 93 points Robert Parker Wine Advocate #135 Jun 2001

In it’s prime and a lovely wine. Still looking pristine and highlights just what an amazing man Bruno Giacosa is, whether it is Barolo or Barbaresco.