2008 Giacomo Conterno langhe nebbiolo “Cerretta”
This 3 ha part of the cerretta vineyard, Serralunga, was acquired by Roberto Conterno in the same year that this wine was produced and he has said that this vineyard will not be ready until 2010, when the wine will be labeled as barolo. Some vines are planted in 1994, but most are replanted by Roberto in 2008, so the vineyard is really very young. 2008 production only stayed in barrels for two years compared to the minimum normal three and is thus declassified. The character of this vineyard is very different for being in Serralunga, i.e. not as structured and powerful that is. Cost €60.
Very disappointing really and especially for the money, but the vineyard is just a baby now. However, usually it takes decades to get vines into perfection, but we will try the 2010 barolo when it is released.
Colour is unexpectedly transparent and light scarlet-red.
Very little scent here, but after a lot of airing, I notice menthol, some complex minerality, some balsamic notes, very unexpected featherlight tannins, some animalistic tones, shale stone.
The palate offers small red berries, menthol, a little dry, iron, some minerality. It lacks precision, contains very little fruit, super-light tannins and lacks acid. Over all unbalanced and lacks energy. Very hard to see this getting much better.
The nose is quite sweet but with minerals. Menthol, black current and magnesium.
More menthol and minerals, but also strawberries.
The finish is quite short and a bit bitter.
Summary: Surprising lack of complexity and depth. This wine was a disappointment but it could have some more potential in the long run.
2009 Mascarello langhe nebbiolo
This estate is now headed by Maria-Theresa who continues the legacy of her father Bartolo with ultra-traditional production that uses 40 day long maceration in cement vats and shuns barriques and use old-school methods and used to put “no barrique, no Berlusconi” on their labels. The wine is made primarily from younger vines in the famous “grand cru” vineyard Cannubi in Barolo. Costs about €25-30.
I was expecting more nose here of the classic tar, roses combo and I lack concentration as well as energy. Tannins are quite polished as usual. Needs plenty of air to lose up.
The nose is somewhat restrained nose but after a lot of air some fragrance of roses, tar, new wedged grass, balsamic, subtle notes.
The mid palate has a lot of earthy and fine tuned minerals, some blueberry, red current, dark cherries, but not too much fruit here. Quite soft tannins, but a little harsch acidity now even after some air.
The nose contains mostly dark fruit and some minerality. Roses, tobacco and strawberries.
Initially quite high and a bit sharp acidity and a bit of alcohol. We also find blueberries, and other dark berries.
Ok length for a langhe. Driven by acidity and tannins which are surprisingly soft but quite dry.
Summary: This is a quality wine for the price level. The problem is to find them. The acidity needs to get more integrated and it will develop the coming years.
“Roagna does not change” is the slogan of this estate that release their bottles after several years of aging in big Slavonian casks and some french barrique as well. They are very traditional and somewhat like the cross-breed of a heavy metal attitude when it comes to conveying terroir and the refinement of a Wagner opera, but with overwhelming charm and with a broad palate, depth and concentration. It is this diversity and contrast between fine tuned notes and bold “in-your-face” flavors that makes it so interesting and enjoyable. This wine is from younger vines from Barolo in Rocche di Castiglione Falletto, Cascina Pira and in their best Barbaresco cru vineyard pajé. Maceration is very long in about 30-50 days depending on vintage, but for a Roagna this is short. Costs about €20.
This wine lacks some fine tuned complexity and is not directly elegant, but very generous, has a vast interesting palate and really offers something very unique. It is a bargain for the money.
Colour: dark ruby-red colour and a little rust orange edges.
Nose: Some stable notes that disappears and then somewhat animal, meaty, massive earthy minerals, dried fruit, tar and metals.
Taste: A little fleshy, savoury with thick and chewy, but not harsh, tannins. A mid palate of blood pudding, broth, wedged grass, forest floor, pepper, herbs, layers of dry and jammy black fruit, massive earthy minerals, licorice root and loads of tar. Full-bodied and powerful, but not heavy. Quite long, some depth and with good concentration.
Nose: Initially there is a strong scent of stable. After that fruit and leather takes over. Hints of grass, animal notes and quite balsamic.
Taste: Quite complex with blueberries, fruit, iron and a nicely balanced acidity.
Finish: Quite soft tannins in the end.
Summary: This is one of my favourite wines for the price level. There is a lot to discover in this wine and fortunately I have many bottles in the cellar…