Monthly Archives: January 2018

Michele Chiarlo: Sixty Years of Winemaking in Piedmont

 

Michele Chiarlo’s first vintage was in 1958 and he has been with Kobrand, his importer and distributor for 40 years. In honor of their association Michele brought a 1978 Barolo to a special truffle  dinner and tasting event at New York’s Restaurant Casa L’Apicii.

The speakers were Michele and his son Stefano, the wine maker.

Michele spoke about his years as a producer and the changes that took place in Italian wine.  At first it was difficult it was to sell his wine, especially Barbera, in foreign markets. Buyers all wanted to know tif he made Lambrusco!

Michele Chiarlo

He said he went to Burgundy to learn because they  were more advanced  in their wine making techniques.  He met with other Barolo producers to discuss how they could improve their wines. But it was not until the 1980’s with temperature controlled fermentation and the hype that was generated about Italian wines during that time that Italian wine started to receive the recognition it deserved.

He said his is a family owned and run winery and there are no blends or international varietals produced. Their smallest oak cask in 700 liters.  They now have 110 hectares of vineyards between the Langhe, Monferrato and Gavi.

Michele said Tenuta La Court was acquired in 1995. It is a single parcel of over 20 hectares located on two hills, a size which makes La Court one of the most important in Monferrato. The vineyards which can have the ‘Nizza’ designation are limited to 18 municipalities in Monferrato. The vineyards, which have positions with great exposure (from southeast to southwest), have low yields of 70 quintals per hectare and lie on soils designated astiane sands, consisting of calcareous clay marl of sedimentary marine origin, with a good presence of lime and sand, rich in microelements, in particular magnesium.

Stefano Chiarlo

Stefano,  spoke about the wines.

Barbera “Cipressi” Nizza DOCG 2015 100% Barbara from the Tenuta La Court vineyard. The vineyard is 6 ha at 230 to 280 meters and the vines are of different ages. The training method is guyot and there are about 5,000 vines per hectare and harvest is manual. Vinification is in steel tanks, 10/12 days of maceration with the skins and a soft shower system of wetting the cap with initial temperature of 30 degrees C then to 27 degrees C. Malolactic fermentation is in steel. The wine ages for a minimum of 18 months: 12 months in large oak casks and 6 months in bottle before release. The wine has aromas and flavors of red fruit, with hints of cherry and raspberry and a note of tobacco.

Stefano said 2015 was a dry warm vintage with a lot of sun, perfect conditions for growing Barbera.

Barbera d’Asti Superiore “La Court” Nizza DOCG 2013 100% Barbera from a 3-hectare vineyard. The exposure is south/south east at 240 meters. Very low yield.  Thinning of excess bunches at the end of the summer, leaving an average of 5/6 bunches per vine. Fermentation is for 15 days in 55 hl oak vats with the skins. Malolactic vat fermentation takes place. The wine is aged for a minimum of 30 months depending on the vintage. 50% in casks and 50% in large barrels for one year, the wine remains in bottle until release.

This is an intense and elegant wine with hints of black cherry with a touch of coffee and cocoa and a pleasing finish and long aftertaste.

He also said the La Court Cru is part of the V.I.V.A. Sustainable Wine project.

Barbera Nizza must be aged at least 18 months and at least 30 months for the Nizza DOCG Riserva

Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG” La Court” Nizza 2011 The wine has hints of black cherry and spice. Stefano said like 2015 the weather was hot, dry and sunny making it a great Barbera vintage.

Stefano said the Cerequio vineyard is between La Mora and Barolo. It is one of the most prestige vineyards in the zone for Nebbiolo. They have nine hectares of vineyards , about 6 of which ere acquired in 1988 from an estate which had been cultivating Nebbiolo grapes for over two centuries without interruption. The oldest parcel is from 1972 and the smallest 0.9 ha, they make Barolo Cerequio Riserva. Stefano said the soils here are among the most ancient in the Langhe, formed during the Tortanian period (9 million years ago). It is composed calcareous clay marl of sedimentary marine origin characterized by a basic pH, poor in organic matter, but rich in microelements such as magnesium and manganese.

Barolo “Cerequio” 2013.  Stefano called this the “use to be” vintage because they picked late like they did in the past. It is a wine that will last for many years. The vineyard is 3 ha and the exposure is south/southwest at 329 meters. The training system is guyot and there are 4,500 plants per hectare. Fermentation is in 55hl oak vats for 20 days. The wine is aged for a minimum of 3 years, 2 years in average-sized oak casks and one year in bottle before release. This is a young complex wine with hints of mature fruit, mint and spice with a touch of tea.

2001 One could see the relationship between the 2013 and the 2001. It has developed very nicely but it still needs at least another 5 years.

 1997 The wine is still showing a lot fruit but now has hits of violets, tobacco, balsamic and a touch of tar. This is the wine to drink now and I enjoyed ever drop of it!!

 The dinner: Chef Vincenzo La Corte, Palàs Cerequio, Piedmont and Chef Andrew Bosi Casa Apicii, NYC.

Barbera d’ Asti “Le Orme” 16 Months DOCG 2015 a selection from several vineyards in the South Aegean, with especially from the vineyards of Montemareto in Castelnuovo Calcea, La Serra in Montaldo Scarampi and Cosra della Momache ad Agliano. The soil is light colored, rich in lime and microelements. Training system is guyot, low set cordon spur. Harvest is manual. Minimum of 16 months refinement before it is released. This is an elegant wine with fresh mature fruit with hints of cherry, currants and a touch of violet and good acidity. I tasted the wine and was very impressed. it reminded of Barbera that I had when I first came to Piedmont in 1982. It is a wine to drink now and very food friendly.

Traditional steak tartare-Alba White Truffle (Tuber Magnatum Pico).

Barolo Tortoniano DOCG 2013 The exposure is south-east/south-west and the training system is guyot. The manual harvest is preceded by summer thinning of excess bunches of grapes. Fermentation is in steel tanks with the skins, and a soft shower system of wetting the cap at a temperature between 32C/27. Malolactic fermentation is in steel tanks. The wine is aged for a minimum of 3 years, 24 months in average sized oak barrels and then in bottle. This is an elegant Barolo with hints of roses, juniper berries, spice and a hint of tobacco.

Risotto with roasted quail & sweet potato with shaved Alba White Truffle

Barolo DOCG 1978 This is a great old Barolo made from grapes from different vineyards and a tribute to Michele Chiarlo.

Braised veal cheek with Barolo sauce and apple puree.

Moscato d’ Asti “Nivole” DOCG 2017 100% White Moscato vineyards are in the historical area most suited for Moscato Bianco. The soil is of sedimentary marine orogon, white and sandy. Training system is guyot and the exposure is south-east/southwest. Manual harvest. There is a soft pressing of the entire grape and the must is stored in a tank at 2C followed by a slow fermentation in an autoclave at a controlled temperature until a 5% alcohol level is achieved. During this process, a part of the carbon dioxide developed during fermentation remains entrapped, giving the wine its mild, natural effervescence. Before bottling, the wine undergoes a process of microfiltration to give the wine its clarity, purity and to stop and further fermentation of the yeasts. This is a wine with hints of subtle tropical fruit and apricot with a very pleasing finish and long aftertaste.

Hazelnut parfait with an almond cream and cocoa

 

 

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Filed under Barbera, Barbera d'Asti, Barolo, Moscato d'Asti

Tasting Exceptional Soave at Azienda Agricola Prà

I first visited the Prà winery on a press trip for Soave a few years ago and really enjoyed the wines. We all had a nice time tasting and drinking the wine, having lunch and speaking to Graziano Prà, the owner of the winery.

Recently, I was invited to the Veneto by Michele Montresor, the president and Giulio Liut, the director of VignaioliVeneti, a newly formed association of over fifty of the Veneto’s top small producers. I was told that one of the producers we would visit was Azienda Agricola Prà. I was very happy to accept the invitation.

Graziano

The winery is located in Monteforte d’Albone in the heart of the Soave Classico area.

When we arrived we were greeted Graziano and Diego “Corr” Corradi.

We tasted two wines

Soave Classico DOC “OTTO” 2016 100% Garganega from Monteforte d’Alpone. The vineyards are 30 to 60 years old; the exposure is southeast, at 150 to 250 meters. The soil is organic and the training system is Pergola Veronese. Harvest is from the 15th of September to the 15th of October. The grapes are softly pressed before undergoing fermentation at 16 degrees /18 degrees C. The wine is fermented and matured in stainless steel vats. This is a medium bodied wine with hints of jasmine, peach, apricot and mineral notes.

Soave Classico DOC “STAFORTE” 2015. 100% Garganega. The wines are 30 to 40 years old, exposure is south, at 150 to 200 meters and the soil is volcanic. The training system is the Pergola Veronese. A selection of the best grapes from all the vineyards are used for this wine. Harvest is from the 20th of September to the 10Th of October. The wine is fermented and retained in stainless steel tanks with regular batonnage for 6 months. This is a fruity easy drinking wine with hints of apricot, peach and golden apple with notes of chamomile and white flowers.

Diego

Before tasting  the Montegrande Soave Classico and lunch we were led on a walking tour led by Diego up a very steep hill to the historic Montegrande vineyard which is in the heart of the Soave Classico production zone.

Pergola Veronese

Diego spoke about the vineyard and the way the vines are trained. He said the vineyard was 4 hectares and the  rich volcanic soil here is different from other areas of the Soave region.

The volcanic soil

The Garganega vines are grown on a Pergola (called a Tondone in the South). The vines grow on trellises and the leaves cover and protect the grapes from the sun. It can be a unilateral Pergola, or uni – or bi-lateral pergoletta Veronese (Pergola Veronese), the type used here. This Pergola does not close all the way in the middle allowing sunlight to come through.

Grapes drying on the vine

The guyot is used for the Trebbiano di Soave.

He said that when the grapes reach optimal maturity the grape stalks of the clusters are twisted to prevent lymphatic flow. The grapes then dry on the vine for about a month and the juice becomes more concentrated and richer because of this method.

Montegrande Wines

Soave Classico “MONTEGRANDE” 2016 Garganega 70% and Trebbiano di Soave 30%. The Garganega is Pergola Veronese trained and the Trebbiano di Soave is Guyot trained and harvested in mid September. The grapes are dried on the vines for one month. The harvest is in October. The grapes are destemmed and softly pressed. Fermentation is carried out at 18 degrees C in large 15 to 20 HL Allier oak casks. The wine then is left to mature in casks for 10 months.

Graziano said minerality is the distinctive characteristic of this cru. This is a complex, elegant wine with hints of mature exotic fruit and citrus fruit with notes of almonds and a touch of vanilla. It has a very pleasing aftertaste and a long finish.

He said this wine has a good aging potential which was an understatement, as we then had a tasting of the wine going back to 2001.

2011 Montegrande – starting to take on some color, like the 2016 but more developed, this wine was a pleasure to taste and drink.

2007 Very smooth with a very pleasing finish and aftertaste and showing no signs of age. Also a pleasure to drink.

2005 this was the only one showing some age with a golden apple color but still drinking very well.

2003 seemed younger that the 2005 but showing a little age.

2001 This was the wine of the tasting, in excellent condition with all of the aromas and flavors of the 2016 only much more developed. The wine was smooth and the aromas and flavors jumped out of the glass. On the palate the fruit tasted warm and welcoming.

All of the wines have the same profile and after tasting and drinking them I can say that Monte Grande is a very special Soave.

We also tasted: Valpolicella DOC “Morandina”, Valpolicella Ripasso and an Amarone della Valpolicella. They are all made from Corvina, Corvione, Rondinella and Oseleta grapes.

Even though this is an article on Soave I really enjoyed these red wines with the steak that we had  for lunch.

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Filed under PRA winery, Soave, Uncategorized

Return to Sorbillo on the Bowery NYC for Pizza

I went to Sorbillo Pizzeria on the Bowery in NYC when it first opened.  Together with a friend, Michele and I had  three different pizzas. Michele liked them better than I did, but even she did not think they were that good. Then last month I was invited by Roberto Caporusio of Keste Wall Street to celebrate Neapolitan pizza being granted World Heritage Status by the United Nations. Roberto invited pizzaioli from NYC and other parts of the country.

Pizzaioli: Pietro Nesi, Antonio Esposito and Geggè Cozzolino

I noticed that one of the pizzaioli was from Sorbillo on the Bowery in NYC. I watched him as he made a pizza and when it came out of the oven I went over and had a slice or two. It was wonderful and I asked him his name and he said it was Geggè Cozzolino and he was from Naples. I told him next time I come to Sorbillo I wanted him to make my pizza. He said he would, but I should not come on Monday as it is his day off.

Yesterday Michele and I and 3 friends went to Sorbillo for lunch and Geggè made the pizza for us.  It was wonderful.

Geggè

Geggè with the Margarita

 

The Margarita — classic Neapolitan pie with tomato, mozzarella fior di latte and basil.

Folded pizza stuffed with escarole, olives, cheese and pine nuts.

Pizza with Pancetta and Nduja, a spicy sausage, and cheese

Bologna style, with Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, tomatoes and mozzarella.

Other than the Margarita, we let Geggè decide which pizzas to make for us.  Everybody agreed on how good they were and we will be going back soon.

We brought our own wine and it was a perfect combination with the pizzas.  A Toscana Rosso, Fontefossoli  2014, the wine is made from 60% Montepulciano and 40% Ciliegiolo and the vineyard is certified organic. This is an easy drinking wine with nice red fruit aromas and flavors. The producer is Ceccherini.

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Drinking Fiorano Rosso with Alessia Antinori

Often people will ask me what is my favorite red wine. This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many that I truly enjoy. However  there is one that comes to mind right away and that is the Fiorano Rosso Vino da Tavola from Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi Principe of Venosa. I first had the 1961 at Checchino dal 1887 in Rome in 1983. The Prince began making wine in 1945 and stopped making it around 1995. It was said that he had destroyed all of the vines, but this was not true. I was so impressed with the wine that I tried to buy all that I could find.

When the Principe died a few years ago, he left half of the estate to his daughter, who is the renowned winemaker Piero Antinori’s wife.  Mrs. Antinori gave her share of the estate to her three daughters.  Alessia is the daughter who lives in Rome and since the winery is only twenty minutes away, just across from the Ciampino Airport, she took over the management of the Fattoria di Fiorano estate.

The other half of the Boncompagni Ludovisi estate was left to a distant cousin of the Principe. His first release was the 2006 Fiorano Rosso with the original Fiorano label under his own name, Principe Alessandro Jacopo Boncompagni Ludovisi. He also made a white Fiorano, but is using different grapes than the original.

Alessia Antinori on the Estate

An agreement had to be reached between the cousins about the rights to the Fiorano name. The result is that Alessia can use the name Fiorano in Italy for her wines but in the U.S. she had to change the name on the label. She chose the name Alberico, which is her grandfather’s first name, for her US wine. She is also planning to release an entry-level wine in the U.S called Appia Antica 400, which is the address of the winery.

I have visited Fattoria di Fiorano a few times and became friends with Alessia. When Alessia is in the US she has an apartment only a few blocks from where I live. I periodically have what I call “Fiorano dinners” and last week I invited some Fiorano lovers and Alessia over for something different — a Fiorano lunch.

We spoke about her grandfathers’ wine and the wine she is making on her part of the estate.

with Alessia Antinori

Alessia said a few years go she was visiting a neighbor on the property who had worked for her grandfather and noticed in the garden next to his house an uncultivated plot of disorderly vines. She was told that the vines were planted many years before by her grandfather and it was Semillon. This was an opportunity that she could not pass up and she decided to make take care of the vines and produce a wine from the grapes.

Alberico Bianco 2013 100% Sémillon

After a careful manual selection, the best grapes were destemmed and soft pressed. Fermentation in casks and the wine completed its six months of aging in puncheons. The wine was aged in bottle for a minimum of 24 months.

This is an exceptional balanced wine with complex aromas of subtle tropical fruit, hints of citrus fruit and a slight touch of vanilla with a very pleasing finish and a long aftertaste.

It is a very special wine. Alessia said it is a white wine that will age and I agreed. In fact I told her it was a white wine as good as the Sémillon or the Malvasia di Candia that her grandfather made!

As for the Rosso she said she found on the estate eight vine rows, four of Merlot and four of Cabernet that were planted over half a century ago by her grandfather and farmed organically. These are the vines which produced the legendary Fiorano Rosso.

Alberico Rosso 2012 made from 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Once the two varieties had been separated, the grapes were destemmed and fermented in temperature-controlled cement tanks. Alessia said this was to fully bring out their aromas and flavors. After being run off the skins, the wine goes into large oak casks for a minimum of 12 months. She said this is done to assist the full expression of the exceptional character conferred by the old vines of her grandfather Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi, and by the singular volcanic soils created by an ancient lava flow. The wine completed its 24 months of oak aging in puncheon barrels and was then bottled before completing the process with a period of bottle aging, which lasts over two years.

There are about 14 hectares of vine planted on the estate now: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sémillon are the vines which come from a “massal” selection (propagated from old vines).

Then we had 6 vintages of the Fiorano Rosso produced by her grandfather. The profile of the wines as you taste them is always consistent. They all have leather, smoke and cherry aromas and flavors with a hint of balsamic. They were very complementary to the food that we served. The wines, even the 1971 and 1974, had such high fills that one would think it was a very young wine. I have never tasted one (but I should not say tasted, I drink these wines) that even had a hint of oxidation.

1971 — This wine, now 47 years old, was in perfect condition.

1974 — The 1974 was for me drinking better than the 1971 but there were others that enjoyed the 1974 more- I did not argue the point!

1985 — This wine was just on the edge of becoming ready to drink.

1988 — This needed at least 5 more years.

1990 — This was also too young and needs at least another 8 to 10 years.

1994 — We tasted this wine and it seemed so young that we did not drink it and the person that brought the wine recorked it and said he would try it again in a week.

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Enjoying Authentic Southern Italian Food at Tartina Restaurant

I was invited by a friend to go to Tartina, an Italian Restaurant located on the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 111th street right across from St John the Divine Cathedral..

Michele and I are always looking for authentic Italian restaurants.   Unfortunately Michele could not attend but sent me to bring back a report.

Carlo Di Giulio, one of the owners, greeted me as I entered the restaurant.  The other partners are the chef Federico Terminiello, and his wife Maria Teresa Valestra.

Federico and Maria Teresa

In is a comfortable space with very friendly and efficient service.  Chef Terminiello comes from Sorrento so the restaurant features authentic Southern Italian Cuisine.

Panariello

Burrata  served in a parmigiano nest over prosiutto crudo and tomato

Fritto Italia

Croquet, Arancino, Panzerotto, Frittelline and Mozzarelline Milanese.

 

Fried Calamari & Shrimp Fritti

Fried Fresh squid and shrimp served with tartare dip and lemon.

 

Pamigiana Sorrentina

Eggplant, Mozzarella and Parmigiano cheese in a basil tomato sauce.

 

Ravioli Caprese

Homemade ravioli filled with fresh and aged caciotta with grana padana in a fresh tomato sauce.

 

Rigatoni Genovese

Rigatoni in a Genovese Ragu (onions, carrots and beef stew)

 

Lava Stone Steak

The Sirloin Steak was grilled on a searing hot lava stone at the table.

Some of the desserts

The menu is well priced.

TARTINA 1034 Amsterdam Ave, New York, New York .  646-590-0577

I am looking forward to returning to Tartina soon!

 

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Wines from the Campo Alle Comete–Field of Dreams

It is always a pleasure to go to Il Gattopardo Restaurant.  Recently, I was invited there for lunch for a winery in Bolgheri in Tuscany, I  was happy to accept.

The Winery is the Campo Alle Comete- -Field of Dreams.  The speaker was Jeanette Servidio, Director and General Manager of the winery.

Jeanette Servidio

Feudi di San Gregorio, a Campagnia winery, acquired Tenuta Campo Alle Comete in February 2016.  The property consists of about 17 hectares and is located at the foot of the commune of Castagneto Carducci in the province of Livorno. There are 14.5 hectares of vineyards.

Jeanette described the soil as mostly loose sand with some clay and limestone. The land is level just a few meters above sea level. The oldest vineyard was planted in 1993 and the newest in 2007. Vine density ranges from 6,500 to 7,000 vines per hectare.

She said the winery practices sustainable farming and in 2016 started the conversion of the vineyards to organic.

The new wine cellar with its circular shape is inspired by an Etruscan tomb. It is partly underground which makes it naturally cool. There are 20 stainless steel tanks of different sizes and about 50 barriques/tonneaux in the cellar.

Nicoletta Ceccoli, an illustrator from San Marino, has designed the logo and also the dreamlike picture exhibited at the winery, from which the fairy images on the labels have been taken.

I was very pleased with how well the wines complemented the food!

The wines

Vermentino IGT Toscana 2016 made from 100% Vermentino. Fermentation is in stainless steel vats at controlled temperature of 17 degrees C then a short time on the lees. The wine has citrus flavors and aromas with hits of herbs and good acidity.

Served with insalatina di farro perlato organico con verdurine grigliate. (Organic pearled farro with grilled vegetables)

Cabernet Sauvignon IGT Toscana 2015 made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Half of the wine is in stainless steel tanks to preserve the fruity notes; the rest matures for about 6 monts in new and used barriques and tonneaux of medium toasted French oak. The wine has aromas and flavors of red fruit with hits of black cherry and mint.

Pappardelle al sugo di lepre (Pappardelle with hare sauce)

Bolgheri Rosso DOC “Stupore” 2015 made from decreasing proportions of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot. Each grape variety is fermented separately, and the wine remains in contact with the skins for about three weeks. The wine is aged for about 10 months in new and used barriques and tonneaux of medium toast oak barrels. The wine has  fragrant red fruit with a touch of balsamic and eucalyptus. .

Tagliata di manzo con patate al forno (Sliced dry-aged rib eye with roasted potatoes)

Dessert – Spiced pumpkin cake

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Vertical of Produttori del Barbaresco from 1962 to 1989

Produttori del Barbaresco has always been one of my favorite produces of Barbaresco. Their wines can last for 50 years or more even in mediocre vintages.  Ernie De Salvo, a good friend and fellow wine lover, suggested that we invite some friends and do a tasting and lunch with these wines. There were 8 of us and we gathered at Il Gattopardo restaurant in NYC a few weeks ago.

The vertical tasting consisted of 8 wines in vintages from 1962 to 1989. They were all in good condition except for the 1970 Barbaresco Riserva Ovello, which was corked.

Background

Produttori del Barbaresco is a wine cooperative, arguably the best in Italy. It has roots going back to 1894 when there were 19 members, but the co-op as we now know it dates from 1958.  Today there are 52 members. Over the years, a few members have left the co-op to go out on their own.

Produttori has 100 hectares of Nebbiolo in the Barbaresco Appellation, 1/6 of the area. Each grower makes his own decisions as far as growing the grapes is concerned.

Produttori del Barbaresco only produces wine from the Nebbiolo grape, Barbaresco DOCG, a blend of grapes from different vineyards, and Langhe Nebbiolo DOC.

In great vintages, nine single vineyard Barbaresco’s are produced within the boundaries of the village of Barbaresco: Asilli, Rabaja, Pora, Montestefano, Orvello, Pagé, Montefico, Moccagatta and Rio Sordo.  The co-op takes great pride in these wines and the name of the single vineyard.  The total number of bottles produced and the name of the owners of the vineyard are on the label.

The 1996 Ovello Riserva, for example, has on the label the name of the single vineyard, the number of bottles produced (18,145) and the names of the vineyard owners: Cravanzola, Gonella, Maffei, Vacca, Varaldo.

In his book Italy’s Noble Red Wines, Wasserman states in the section on Barbaresco,  “There are a few producers making Barbaresco in the same class as the wines of Produttori, but none who surpass them.”  In the years since this was written I have drunk many bottles of Produttori and it is as true now as it was then.

All of these single vineyards basically have the same soil, calcareous limestone with sandy veins. The only difference is in the exposure. The grapes are hand harvested. They are also vinified in the same way. Traditional fermentation takes place with 18 to 20 days skin contact and aged for 36 months in oak barrels of 25 to 50 HL and 8 months in bottle before release. All of the single vineyards are reserve wines.

The regular Barbaresco is aged for two years in large oak barrels.

For the last number of years the winery has been run by Aldo Vacca the managing director.

The wines

Jason De Salvo took the notes on the wines that follow. I have great respect for his palate and his great attention to detail.

1962 Barbaresco Riserva

12/11/17 — 89 points.  Light brick-garnet color.  The nose is candied cherries, leaves, leather, tobacco and dried roses.  On the palate this is supremely elegant and still holding together.  It is amazing that this is still as alive as it is, given what I have heard about the 1962 vintage!

1967 Barbaresco Riserva Speciale Rabaya

12/11/17 — 97+ points. Light-medium ruby-brick color.  The nose here is absolutely gorgeous with haunting notes of smoke, black cherries, wild flowers, balsamic-pine notes, fennel flowers and dried game.  On the palate this is f*&%ing stunning with great grip, incredible balance, loads of flavor nuance and a long finish.

1967 Barbaresco Riserva Paijé (Cavaliere del Tartufo bottling)

12/11/17 — 98 points. Deep ruby color, nearly opaque.  The nose here is extraordinary with deep black cherry fruit, loads of dusty minerals, lilies, potpourri, pomegranates and dried roses.  On the palate this is deep, intensely flavored and positively youthful.  Unreal juice.  Absolutely stunning and still going strong nearly two hours after it was opened and poured.  This was the wine of the day for Jason .

1978 Barbaresco

12/11/17 —  95 points.  Deep ruby-brick color.  Powerful umami notes on the nose with soy, black cherries, smoked game, black raspberries, flowers, pink lilies.  In the mouth this is gorgeous with a grippe palate presence, beautiful balance and loads of dusty tannins leading to a long finish.  A touch less complex than the two 1967 crus that preceded it, but otherwise virtually at the same level!  Wow.

1979 Barbaresco

12/11/17 — 94 points.  Medium-deep brick-ruby color.  From a cooler vintage than the 1978 served alongside it.  Aromatically this is actually more complex than the 1978 with just a stunning nose of dried game, black raspberries, sour cherries, smoke, leather and dried flowers.  On the palate this is a tad more acidic, less opulent and lighter than than the 1978.  I prefer the ’78 in the mouth and the nose of the ’79.

1978 Barbaresco Riserva Rabaja’

12/11/17 — 96 points. Deep ruby color.  The nose here is black licorice, a distinct note of celery, leather, black cherries, earth, forest floor and dried porcini mushrooms.  On the palate this is the most structured, deepest and intense wine of the tasting thus far.  Massive quantities of ripe, dried black cherry fruit in the mouth with plush mid-palate and a long, structured finished buttressed by a good dose of classy, ripe tannins.

1989 Barbaresco Riserva Ovello

12/11/17 – 97 points).  Medium-deep ruby color.  Beautiful nose with gorgeous, soaring aromatics of red plums, black raspberries, minerals, dried roses, saddle leather and red cherries.  On the palate this is gorgeously elegant with a wonderful nervosité, excellent mouth-puckering acidity and a gorgeously long, dusty tannic finish.  Wow.  This wine is right in its sweet spot right now and is really singing.

The best way to understand these wines is with food. Here are some of the dishes prepared by chef Vito Gnazzo of Gattopardo to go with the wines.

 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR

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