The Cannubi vineyard is probably the oldest and most classic of all sites in Barolo. In general it is made up of bluish-gray marl made of Sant-Agata fossils that is rich in manganese/ magnesium carbonate, but also contains some iron and a special combo of lime, clay and sand. It is a blend site of the once existing lake in the barolo area, where the Tortonian- and Helvetian soils meet. This place is known for its balance between structure and elegance as well as complexity and mouth-filling aromas.
The contenders tonight are: Paolo Scavino, Michele Chiarlo, Marchesi di Barolo and Giacomo & Figli Brezza. For the record, an interesting 07 Chiara-boschis Cannubi was ordered at the Swedish Systembolaget, but an 09 was received and therefore refused. It is sad, since this is an interesting producer in this vineyard. Marchesi di Barolo replaced it, but we were certain this might be a mistake already before this tasting. As you can probably see below, all corks where looking fine to this tasting.
The vintage 2007 is a warm year with an unusually early blooming, a whole month earlier than usual, and it was saved by a late cooling period right before an early harvest. The wines are usually very forward, a little fleshy, opulent, intense, but not heavy and still with fresh acidity. There is a tendency for unbalance and it is not great vintage, but still a good one and it is approachable now and will not be long lived. The wines vary a lot in quality among different sites in Barolo and depends on when grapes were harvested. Especially, the Cannubi vineyard was a little troublesome with a lot of variations. Now let’s start off the tasting..
2007 Marchesi di Barolo “Cannubi”
This estate is the oldest in Barolo and the majority of the grapes grow in a lesser part of the Cannubi sub zone bearing the local name of Cannubi-Muscatel, but since a court decision it too is considered Cannubi. This is bad, since the good parts of the traditional Cannubi site is a part of the hillside and Muscatel is not part of it. Recently it has surprisingly changed their tradition into a more modern one with the use of barriques and somewhat shorter maceration periods. The yield is 40 hl/ha and maceration is done by pumping the juice over the caps for ten days normally. After alcoholic fermentation, the juice is, surprisingly, moved into concrete tanks for malo for about two months. Then the wine is matured in both small barriques and large, neutral barrels (botte) for two years and then another year in bottle.
Dark ruby red with white edges. An immediate scent of medicine cabinet, very dry rose petals, earthy cellar, leather, iodine, saline, intense minerals and very unexpectedly butter. Absolutely no fruit or flowers here. Strange nose.
A mid palate of saline, iodine, tobacco, bitter metals, sweet iron, a lot of earthy, burned minerals and almost no fruit. Tannins are heavy and it is flat and bitterly dry.
This is a very strange wine that seems to exclude fruit, an a warm fruit-driven vintage, freshness and balance over sheer masculine with heavy, dry tannins. It is hard to set a score here for such an old producer, when you tremble after reasons why this turned out as bad as it did.
Not very inspiring. Leather and some red berries, mainly raspberries. Slight sweetness and some fruit and a bit salty. Medium finish with some slight bitterness and quite dry tannins. This is not an impressive wine for the price level.
2007 Michele Chiarlo “Cannubi”
This estate has a parcel high up in the vineyard and parts of the vines grow in the steep slope of over 50%, where they were the first producer to grow vines. The fermentation is done in big oak barrels of 55 hl and at a temperature of 27-30 degrees Celsius of which maceration goes on for 15 days with pumping over. The wine is aged in oak barrels of 700 liters for two years and the wine rests in bottle for another 15-16 months. We have read but not confirmed that they do not use new oak.
Dark ruby red with transparent edges.
Already after one hour, there is a scent of incredibly fresh and typically classic floral fragrances like fresh, very intense roses, lilies, very seductive perfumes, tar, pastry and some fine tuned lightly burned lime minerals. A very fruity, sexy and seductive nose!
A mid palate packed with ripe red fruits, tar, orange peel, fine tuned minerals and plenty of sweet iron. Sand paper tannins that blend well with the little over-energetic acidity. It is well balanced, generous and mouth-filling wine, but it lacks complexity and depth.The finish suffers just a little from a sweet-bitter iron note but this is a small remark. Open in 2016.
Very classical Barolo with strawberries, tar, roses and some tobacco. Quite soft tannins. It is a bit sweet but it is well balanced by the acidity. Generous with red fruit and there are also some tar. Medium length but not very complex and a bit watery. This wine is easy to enjoy, but after a few glasses there is not much more to discover. Very classical Barolo.
2007 Giacomo Brezza & Figli “Cannubi”
This estate is very traditional and is run by Enzo Brezza. Their vines in Cannubi are quite young (planted in 1994 and 2003). After harvest they do a first fermentation of 7-8 days in temperatures below 28, during which maceration is done with floating cap and pump-overs. After the primary fermentation the maceration can be extended for 10-15 days. The wine is matured in big, neutral Slovenian oak botti for a minimum of 2 years.
Dark ruby red with transparent edges. A typical barolo scent of fresh roses and other complex floral fragrances, delicate perfumes, iron, tar and fresh menthol. A delicate and complex nose!
A mid palate of sour wild strawberries, some boysenberry jam, plenty of sweet iron, fine minerals, ginger, fennel, very balsamic and tar. Concentration could be better. Texture is quite polished with sandy tannins. Quite long and medium-bodied and balance is fine, but it lacks complexity and concentration. Unfortunately, the finish suffers from the gnarly acidity now and some sharp metals.
Open in 2016.
2007 Paolo Scavino “Cannubi”
Enrico Scavino was one of the first modernist that immediately followed the ideas set up by Elio Altare back in the 80’s to achieve a more international and approachable barolo for the market. Today the daugthers Elisa and Enrica Scavino are taking over the wine making guided by their father Enrico. Vines were planted in 1946. Grapes are picked by hand and de-stemmed. The yield averages approximately 40 hl/ha and the fermentation and maceration is done in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged first in french oak barrels for ten months and after that another 14 months in large neutral casks (botti). Then the wine rests for one year in stainless steel and another ten months in bottle before released on the market.
Dark ruby red with transparent edges.
A scent of very delicately fresh and complex floral fragrances, elegant perfumes, a lot of tar, leather, peppery notes of oak, complex layers of conserved layers of black fruit, wedged grass and extremely fine tuned lightly burned lime minerals. A very delicate and slow nose!
A mid palate of paint, ginger, deep, pure layers of red fruit, blood orange, notes of orange-peel, some tar, fennel, a lot of burned but already fine tuned burned and delicate metallic minerals in the very long, slim and quite elegant finish. This is very pure and delicate and only suffers just a little from excessive alcohol. Texture is quite silky but now with some bite in the end.
Deep, ripe red berries, roses, leather and some paint. The nose indicates a higher age.
Taste: Well balanced with the acidity and the tannins. In the beginning there where very slight hints of vanilla, but this disappeared later. There where also red fruit and some alcohol in the end. Quite long finish with depth. This is a high quality wine with great depth and some complexity.
The winner this night is the great Cannubi from Paolo Scavino.