Monthly Archives: December 2013

A rich, mineral-packed Cornas from Courbis

The domaine Courbis is headed by the brothers Laurent and Dominique. They harvest manually, employ 100% de-stemming of the grapes by hand and use a lot of new oak barrels for malo and aging.  The vineyard La Sabarotte is steep and the soil in Cornas has a very thin top layer and the lower layers are dominated by decomposed granite but there is about 20% chalky clay too on a solid granite bed. The soil is very poor of nutrients, so the roots needs to dig hard here. Vines are planted primarily in 1947.

2011 La Sabarotte, Cornas Domaine Courbis

Color: Very dark deep purple middle and scarlet, light red purple edges.
Nose: Some oak notes. Distinct gravel, shale, dry plum, figs, tiny notes of rosemary, olives, eucalyptus, fresh forest breeze and loads of deep, complex minerals. Not a big nose, but archetypical and interesting. It really needs a lot of airing to show itself now.
Taste: A very concentrated wine with medium structure, body and very dense but with already soft, very approachable tannins. Grape juice, fennel, fresh, opulent black fruit with some depth, gravel, nutmeg and loads of complex minerals and gravel. Some toasty notes from oak, but nothing disturbing so obviously the brothers are very skilled with oak. It is well balanced, rich and quite persistent, but lacks grip and backbone in the end.

Impressive concentration, quit complex and balance wine indeed, but now the nose is more interesting than the taste which lacks backbone and even though the oak is skillfully used, we lack elegance now. Costs about €50.

91-92p/100

Piemonte Trip 2013: Aurelio Settimo – The true traditionalist from La Morra

This estate is interesting because of its very traditional methods as well as owning very good parcels with south-west exposition in the lower parts of probably the best grand cru in the commune of La Morra in Barolo – Rocche dell’Annunziata. Today the estate is run by Tiziana Settimo.

The concrete vats

They use concrete vats for fermentation and malo. For dolchetto and nebbiolo d’Alba ageing is taking place in steel whereas for the barolos, they first rest in steel for a year and then age in neutral french oak barrels from Allier and Never. The replacement of Slavonian oak into french is Tiziana’s addition and the purpose is to get equal micro oxidation, but to avoid the somewhat austere tone and to get better softening of the tannins that Tiziana thinks renders a more elegant wine. She is a firm believer that nothing should be added to the wine that is not natural and that it should only convey the territorial character of the Langhe area. A principle that we certainly respect.


2012 Dolchetto

Colour: Dark purple red.
Nose: Fresh breeze.
Taste: Fresh, cool, sweet fruit. Very delicate complex fruit, quite sweet. Licorice-root, blood orange and fennel. Good concentration, incredibly balsamic and fresh.

We are not usually fans of dolchetto, but here we were surprised and impressed by the high quality and terroir characteristics.

89p/100


2008 Nebbiolo d’Alba

Colour: Dark ruby red transparent edges.
Nose: Cool, super-fresh red fruit, balsamic notes like olive oil.
Taste: Cool, very fresh red fruit that is very sweet. Licorice-root, blood orange and fennel. Good concentration, incredibly balsamic and fresh. Texture is sandy and tannins are quite soft, but a little hard now and a little dry. Structure is as expected slim.

This is wine is too sweet for our taste. This is sad, since there are some good aromas in here. However, alcohol is pleasingly low at 13%.

86p/100

2009 Barolo

Colour: Dark garnet, light orange edges.
Nose: A little medicinal cabin, floral notes, perfumes, super-fresh red fruit and balsamic, cool breeze.
Taste: Cool, wild strawberries and concerved boysenberries that is very sweet. A mid palate of grape-peel, anise, minerals and fennel. Good concentration considering the vintage, incredibly balsamic and fresh. A very fresh, energetic acidity. Texture is rough sandy but tannins are good, but a little tough now. Structure is as expected slim.

This wine conveys the uniqueness from soil of La Morra, but again the style is a little too sweet for our taste. This is sad, since there are a lot of aromas in here.

87p/100

and now to the vertical barolo single-vineyard tasting..

The line-up of Rocche dell’Annunziata vintages; 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009


2009 Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata

Colour: Dark ruby red middle, transparent edges.
Nose: Wine gum, dried autumn leaves, dried autumn leaves, some fresh vegetative component.
Taste: A mid palate of very cool, sweet fruit, prune, massive minerals, iodine, distinct grape-peel and anise. Good length with but a volatile envelope and loads of minerals. Incredible concentration, balsamic and fresh, energetic acidity. Texture is now rough sandy but tannins are extremely heavy. Structure is big here and it is very tannic.

This is way too sweet, some bleak metallic-minerals. It is surprisingly big and tannic. Open 2017.

87-88p/100

2008 Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata

Colour: Dark garnet red middle, scarlet edges.
Nose: A little glue, stylish perfumes, fire coal and broth.
Taste: A mid palate of very cool, fresh but sweet fruit, herbs, massive minerals and grape-peel. Good length with but a volatile envelope and somewhat austere, rustic finish. Incredible concentration, balsamic and fresh, energetic acidity. Texture is now rough sandy but tannins are very heavy. Structure is as expected bigger here.

This is not great. It is way too sweet, somewhat heavy, austere and volatile now, but may improve in the long run since the acidity is really alive. Open 2020.

88-89p/100

2006 Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata

Colour: Dark ruby middle, light-orange edges.
Nose: A little glue, balsamic notes, cherry notes, dry herbs and broth.
Taste: A mid palate of very cool, fresh but sweet fruit, herbs, gravel, minerals, grape-peel and broth. This wine starts out good and interesting and persistence is good, but a volatile building envelope and somewhat austere, rustic finish loaded with tough minerals takes over. Incredible concentration, balsamic and fresh, energetic acidity. Texture is now rough sandy and tannins are too heavy and hard. Structure is as expected bigger here.


This is not great now and very heavy, but there are quality elements in here and may improve once everything settles down tremendously. Open 2020.


89-91p/100

2005 Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata

Colour: Garnet red middle, orange edges.
Nose: A little medicinal cabin, glue, cherry notes, minerals, herbs and broth.
Taste: A mid palate of very sweet fruit, blood orange, herbs, minerals, balsamic notes and asian spices. Starts up with pleasing cherry, spices and is fresh, but then after a some seconds it gets too sweet in the finish and the freshness is killed by hard minerals and tannins. Good concentration, balsamic and fresh in the beginning, energetic acidity. Texture is sandy but tannins are too harsh, heavy and not of good quality. Structure is as expected slim.

This does have freshness in the beginning, but then in the middle the sweetness and the hard minerals take over and cover everything and it gets heavy, rustic. Hard to see this getting better since 2005 is an early drinking vintage. Open 2018.

88p/100

2004 Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata Riserva

Colour: Garnet red middle,brown-orange edges.
Nose: A little medicinal cabin, distinct cherry, delicate autumn leaves, red fruit, minerals, delicate floral, dry chemical notes.
Taste: A mid palate of preserved boysenberries that is still sweet. Grape-peel, anise, cinnamon, menthol, minerals and asian spices. Good length with distinct cherry and sweet finish. Good concentration, incredibly balsamic and fresh, energetic acidity. Texture is sandy but tannins are quite soft, but still a little tough. Structure is as expected slim.

This is the most interesting of the wines in the vertical and offers complex aromas from the soil of La Morra and it is the least sweet here and have good balance and is fresh, but the tannins still need to soften more. Open 2017.

92+p/100


1999 Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata Riserva

Colour: Garnet red middle,brown-orange edges.
Nose: Distinct cherry notes, white pepper, bitter herbs, nutmeg, fragrant rose petals and stylish perfumes. Nice nose indeed.
Taste: A mid palate of cool, fresh and ripe fruit that is still very sweet. Grape-peel, mint, cherry, dog rose, earthy minerals and asian spices. Good length with distinct cherry and sweet finish. Good concentration, incredibly balsamic and fresh, energetic acidity. Texture is quite silky but tannins are quite hard still. Structure is medium-bodied but it is weightlessly powerful.

This is a very true wine from the soil of La Morra too, but here they were using Slovenian oak and the tannins are noticeably a little austere. Great balance here and even though it is still on the sweet side, here there is some complexity. Open now.

91+p/100

Summary


The overall impression is that the wines are too sweet for our taste and several lack depth and complexity, but in some cases they may turn out well after more ageing in bottle. To be honest, this was a disappointment. With such great combined parcels in the fantastic Rocche dell’Annuniziata vineyard, we expected this estate to produce higher quality baroli. However, the 2004 Rocche Riserva truly stands out as the more refined in the line up and offers some depth, complexity and is fresh.

The master in Malconsorts, Burgundy

Sylvain Cathiard has been a rising star in Burgundy for some years now and he appears to be applying a lot of the quality principles set up by the legendary Henri Jayer like 100% de-stemming, no use of weed-killers/chemicals in the vineyard and hard pruning for low controlled yields for out most quality. In addition, Sylvain and his son Sébastien employs cold soaking (another one of Jayer’s methods) with daily rémontage in order to enhance colour and aromas without extracting tannins. He is also known for having a very hands-off approach in the cellar and being very skillful with a significantly high level of new oak that amazingly only emphasizes and conveys the unique terroir in a very good way.

After gentle crushing of the grapes, a seven-day long cold soaking, 16-22 days of maceration depending on vintage and alcoholic fermentation, the grape juice is moved into barrels for the malo on its lees and sediments. Then it is aged in the same barrel for 18 months. Even though their grand cru Romanée-Saint-Vivant is great, the estates pride is their Aux Malconsorts and not only does it border the famous La Tâche, it cost much less and Cathiard’s wine from this famous premier cru is considered the best by several critics including Allen Meadows and Clive Coates.

“There is no one hotter in Burgundy these days than Sylvain Cathiard.” — Allen Meadows, BURGHOUND
“a touch of genius in the winemaking” — Clive Coates MW

2006 was a troublesome cool year that has proven to be better than first anticipated. In general it lacks a little concentration and structure. Moreover, the fruit may be unripe, patchy as well as the tannins. However, in Vosne-Romanée you can find good wines and this was also a wine-maker’s year.

DSC03471

Cathiard, Aux Malconsorts 2006

The colour is purple red with pink and transparent edges.

The nose starts off with Vosne spices, preserved raspberries, orange-peel, some cherry notes and fine tuned complex minerals. After a few hours, there are some high notes of lovely, quite seductive red flowers, violets and delicate stylish perfumes emerging.

On the palate there is a lot of complex, quite deep layers of fresh, cool and exceptionally pure red fruit and in the foreground. A vast variety of red current, wild strawberries, rowan berries and lingonberries. In the back ground there are some anise and clove, but it is dominated by loads of delicate minerals and orange-peel. Even though, as much as scarily 100% new oak is used to produce this wine it is skillfully integrated and the territorial aromas slips through. The vintage and 100% de-stemming does not render enough tannins, so oak tannins are really needed here. A very (as always) round, smooth and fantastically well balanced wine.

Purity, elegance and balance are the obvious key words for the overall impression of this great wine. As always we are impressed with the vast and complex nose and the purity in Cathiard’s wines. It is a feather-light wine and our only remarks are that this vintage lacks some structure and some grip.

94p/100

A peaking barbaresco that has aged well – Ca’ del Baio Valgrande 2001

We recently tried the Ca’ del Baio Asili 2007 which was a bit of a disappointment for a wine from such a great vineyard. The Valgrande (Vallegrande) vineyard in Treiso, Barbaresco, is not comparable with Asili and therefore the price is also a much lower.
On the other hand 2001 is an excellent vintage for Barbaresco with perfect weather conditions that rendered good concentration and great acidity. This results in wines which age very well and should drink well now.

In the nose we find lots of dried fruit, cherries, tar, tobacco, eucalyptus, licorice and hints of paint in the background. It feels like a quite classical Barbaresco with a deep, typical nose. The taste is well balanced with an acidity that is fresh and energetic. Texture is sandy and tannins provide a solid, firm backbone and structure to the wine which is packed with ripe fruit.

This pleasant wine is really at its high peak now. Costs about €24.


91p/100 

Domaine Marquis d’Angerville – Domaine profile and tasting of Clos desDucs and Fremiet 2001

Our series on the Volnay vineyards and producers has been a bit delayed because of work with the Piedmont trip, but we have now moved on and concluded the second tasting of wines from Domaine Marquis d’Angerville (http://www.domainedangerville.fr).

Domaine Marquis d’Angerville has a long history and they have had a leading role in the development of the Volnay region. In 1920 the Domaine where part of the creation of Domaine bottling when they, together with a few other growers, started developing their own wines themselves instead of selling to négociants (companies buying grapes and producing and marketing wines).

Between 1952 and 2003 Jacques d’Angerville ran the Domaine according to the principles and methods he had learned from working with his father. Jacques d’Angerville became a legend in the region and when he died in 2003 and Guillaume D’Angerville took over many people where watching the development closely to see if Domaine Marquis d’Angerville would continue to produce wine at the same quality level and following the same principles. Guillaume D’Angerville has continued in his fathers footprints in the wine production but he has also expanded the Domaine. In 2012 he bought two properties in Jura (located between Burgundy and Switzerland) with vineyards of approximately 5 ha together.

In Volnay Domaine Marquis d’Angerville produces wines from the following vineyards: Clos des Ducs, Caillerets, Champans, Clos des Angles, Fremiet, Mitans, Pitures, Taillepieds and two village wines. They also have vineyards in Meursault, Pommard and as mentioned previously they recently aquired vineyards in Jura. Before these acquisitions the total area was 13,5 ha. The vineyard Domaine Marquis d’Angerville is most famous for the Monopole (meaning they are the owner of the whole vineyard) Clos des Ducs, which more or less is in the garden of the Domaines estate.

For Jacques d’Angerville and later Guillaume D’Angerville quality has been the absolute top priority. The main principles they have followed are low yields, old vines, no herbicides and very careful usage of new oak. The basis for the great wines has been the work in the vineyards and not the vinification process. They very rarely replant larger section with new vines, instead they replace individual vines when they die. When it comes to the usage of oak for aging the principle is to not use more than 35% new oak since this can impair the elegance of the wines.

The 2001 vintage which we tasted is not considered a top vintage and the vineyards in Volnay where hit by a hailstorm which reduced the harvest and the uneven weather resulted in grapes that didn’t always reach ripeness. Concentration and balance could be an issue as well. The opinions about the vintage part but most agree that it is a winemaker’s vintage where some have been quite successful.

The wines we tasted

2001 Volnay 1er cru – Clos des Ducs


Andreas: 

The wine has a quite sharp nose with lots of red berries, mainly cherries and some rowan berries. We also find leather, anise and some hints of solvent. The nose is quite volatile and the character changes a few times during the evening.
When tasting the wine we are surprised by the high levels of acidity and again we find lots of red berries. Unfortunately there is bitterness in the finish.
We did expect a lot more from this wine. We did re-evaluate it a few times during the evening, and the wine has some complexity, but in total it did not reach up to our expectations.

90p/100

Sir Galahad:

Nose: Earth cellar, distinct solvent, dried grass, menthol and salami. Some complexity, but volatile, forever changing nose.
Taste: loads of bitter sourish red fruit, rowan berries, citrus, gravel and clove. The wine is a little volatile, but concentration is fine. Structure is slim and this is a feather-light wine. Concentration is good and it offers some complexity, but the wine is strange, backward and harsh, bitter in the end.

89p/100

2001 Volnay 1er cru – Fremiet


Andreas: 

The nose of the Fremiet is quite earthy and has clear notes of menthol which gives some character. There are some quite ripe berries but also hint of paint and some cellar cents in the background.
The taste follows the same character with ripe berries and earthiness. There is a clear acidity but unfortunately it does not add any freshness to the wine. Again we find some hints of bitterness in the finish.
We also expected more from the Fremiet, even though the expectations where not as high as for the Clos des Ducs.

88p/100

Sir Galahad:

Nose: Fresh rose soap, vegetal, perfumes, mint, pastry, cardamon, fresh red flowers, salami and notes of solvent. A complex nose that promises a lot.
Taste: Bitter sourish red fruit, grape-peel, shale, metals and clove. The wine is a little volatile, but concentration is fine. Structure is slim and this is a feather-light wine. It doesn’t offer complexity, depth or elegance and it could be fresher, but is an easy drinking wine.

87p/100

Summary

This tasting was a disappointment, partly because of our high expectations on Domaine Marquis d’Angerville. We will give them a new try where we taste from another vintage. I also have a bottle of Les Taillepieds from 2000 which probably will be opened soon, but according to many it is in the same league as the 2001.

Piedmont Trip 2013: Conterno – The great protector of tradition and terroir

The estate Giacomo Conterno is legendary in Piedmont and the estate has had a leading role in establishing Barolo on the map as one of the top wine regions in the world. However, still it is the modernist Gaja and legendary Bruno Giacosa who both are more well-known outside Piedmont. Roberto Conterno, who is the third generation vintner, were forced to take charge of the estate when his father Giovanni passed away in 2004, is a man of few words, but with power behind every statement. Since 1988, he had been working closely with his father so he was well educated for the task, but unprepared. Since the last time I was here I get the feeling that even though Roberto is proud of the family’s great wines, he apparently has a heavy legacy on his shoulders to continue on the path set up by his father and ensure its excellence. Amazingly, he appears to be doing most of the work himself, except sales and bookings. Two people in the staff seems to be working with importers and sales as well as one assistant, but there is one elderly man helping out in the vineyard too. Still it is a small team.

DSC03350

Roberto Conterno

The crown jewel in the estates production is the Monfortino which was first produced in 1920 by Roberto’s grandfather Giacomo shortly after returning from World War I. Actually, the estate was established in 1908 by Giovanni Conterno, grand father Giacomo’s father, but it was Giacomo, who realised his vision of making a really great Barolo for long ageing and supremacy. Monfortino was given its name to celebrate the town of Monforte d’Alba where is home to the Conterno family. At that time the grapes where bought from a selection of local farmers in the same fashion that Giacosa still does. This later changed during the 1970s when many of these growers started bottling their own wine. To solve this problem Roberto’s father acquired the complete Francia vineyard in 1974, a very steep vineyard with south-west exposition, very high altitude for freshness and soil suitable for longevity and since 1978 all grapes for the Monfortino comes from this vineyard.

The Monfortino is only produced in exceptional vintages and with the top selection of grapes.

In June 2008, the second time in the estates history, a vineyard was acquired and this time two sections in the Cerretta vineyard in Serralunga. About 2 ha of nebbiolo and 1 of barbera. Compared to Francia, it has less calcareous and more white clay. The wine from this vineyard has been sold as declassified Langhe Nebbiolo since then, but from the 2010 vintage Roberto has confirmed that the wine will be bottled as Barolo.

Suddenly, Roberto’s assistant, Stephanie, tells us that he is ready to receive us after a previous visit and we shake hands, he apologises for being a little late and we quickly move down for a tour in the cellar. Visits with Roberto is not what we would call informal and laid back, but Roberto is not the open type and apparently he has a tight schedule with multiple things to attend to all the time. Even though, Roberto obviously understands English he still keeps an assistant that translates everything back and forth. The cellar is impeccably clean as it was last time I was here for some vat tasting of the 2008’s about two years ago and there is still plenty of room down here among the big neutral, large 45-50 hl Slavonian and Austrian barrels.

DSC03345

The Austrian open top vats for fermentation on the skins

Roberto is especially satisfied with his wooden Austrian open vats used for maceration and alcoholic fermentation from Franz Stockinger that are both mobile and has a removable top as well if needed. Actually, he has in recent years exchanged old, used big Slavonian barrels with ones from Stockinger. The vinification process is adapted to the vintage but for the Monfortino they always use an uncontrolled fermentation at high temperature levels with open tops. The maceration period is up to about five weeks, but the exact length is dependent on the vintage and the grape juice is then stored in large oak casks for seven years or more. This produces wine with great structure, complexity and a very long life. Roberto explains that he makes the decision if he will produce a Monfortino during vinification and if it is not up to standard, he pours it into the Barolo casks. The Barolo from Francia undergoes 3-4 weeks of maceration with daily pumping over and/or submerged cap depending on vintage, temperature-controlled fermentation and shorter ageing in cask, typically four years.

Even though the open vats are great, it is in the vineyard the real magic takes place, Roberto assures us, when I ask him what is most important. Without high quality grapes, there is no quality wine no matter what vinification you use appears to be the obvious principle and we can only agree fully. Roberto keeps very high trellising system with his vines for, as he explains, get correct leaves-grapes ratio to optimise energy into the grapes and the rows are very wide to avoid shadowing. The Cerretta vineyard is very young planted in 1994, but in Francia many are much older and the youngest vines were planted in 2002. Moreover, he prunes his nebbiolo and barbera grapes differently but short to perfect ripeness and yields are controlled at about 25-30 hl/ha to achieve top quality. Grapes are harvested entirely by hand.

Back in the tasting room, Roberto offers us his two Barberas from 2011, the 2009 Barolo Cascina Francia and the sought-after 2006 Monfortino. Roberto tells us that the quality of tannins is the key for making great wine of nebbiolo and that is why he usually waits longer to harvest than many others. He explains that he is less focused on sugar levels, but chewing on the skin and seeds to determine when the tannins are ripe. “The tannins shall be ripe, not hard but chewy”, Roberto quickly adds “and the seeds shall be brown and taste wood”. And of course, this is the single most important reason he only use traditional, neutral wood, since new wood or barriques, except for adding non-terroir wood sensations, they add tannins that are not from the soil and the unique terroir of Langhe. Moreover, back in the late 1800 and first half of 20th Century, most farmers still picked very early in classic vintages with cooler temperatures, so the tannins would not be perfect ever and once the tannins had finally polymerised, the fruit had dried out long time ago. This became the vast opinion about barolos for along time as being undrinkable, harsh and dry, which never was the case with Conterno’s barolos. However, still the wines have never been made for early drinking, but to be perfected by slow ageing to be drinkable in two or three decades while stay alive and fresh for more than 50 in classic vintages. According to Roberto, all of this reached another quality level during Roberto’s father’s time at the estate.

The tasting

DSC03351
The line-up for our tasting

The vintage 2011 for barbera, that we are tasting today, Roberto explains, is great for this grape that does its best in warmer years and in this case it rendered more structure and complexity than usual, whereas nebbiolo gets its most classic expression in cooler years when the growing cycle is slower and the tannins may reach perfect ripeness very late, Roberto points out.

The 2009 vintage was far from ideal for nebbiolo and suffered from a too hot summer that endured into September causing precisely this undesired fast growing cycle as well as an early, patchy ripeness. However, by doing a ruthless selection in the vineyard, he rendered a really good result. The 2009 barolos were bottled in June this year and Roberto thinks that the 2009 vintage offers just a little less fruit, but more tannins compared to for example another warm year, 2007. He likes the more simpler early drinkable, but still quite impressive, 2009’s, but like 2007 it obviously did not have the classic expression of the terroir and quality for long ageing suitable for Monfortino. In the Cerretta, he thinks the vintage is even better than the more classic and in his opinion fantastic 2008. In Francia, it is the other way around and here the soil contains more minerals, whereas in the Cerretta, tannins and fruit dominate. We ask him about the somewhat unexpected coolness and freshness of the fruit in the warm 2009 vintage and his reply is that this is very much due to the altitude in Francia. In fact, the altitude reaches 420 meters above sea-level so this make sense and you can easily grasp that cool winds from the mountains at nights can build a lot of necessary fresh acidity.

2011 Barbera d’Alba Cerretta

The colour is very dark, crimson with light-light orange edges.

The nose is fresh, pure dark fruit; mainly dark cherries and plum. Some herbs and minerals.

The mid palate offers creamy, quite deep layers of black fruit (cherries, plum and blue berries), smoke, herbs, spices and complex minerals. Incredible concentration, the structure is quite big for a Barbera and it’s fat, rich and intense. Texture is fine sandy and tannins are thick and chewy. Acidity is energetic and needs to calm down further for a few years.

Right now this vineyard is a little more about earthy notes and loads of minerals, but we think in some years the vines will most likely produce more fruit. It is already an impressively deep, pure and overall balanced wine considering how young the vineyard is. Open 2015-2020.

92p/100

2011 Barbera d’Alba Cascina Francia

The colour is dark garnet red with light-purple edges.

Immediately deep, elegant perfumes and dried rose petals emerges from the glass. Incredibly fresh and ripe fruit. Very balsamic notes and some solvent and autumn leaves.

The palate offers deep, complex and very fresh layers of ripe black fruit. There is some shale here too, crushed stone and balsamic notes. A very energetic and very balsamic-fresh acidity. Quite weightlessly powerful but with slim structure and a lot of fine tuned, complex saline lime stone minerals. A slimmer, more fresh, a more balanced and much different expression of the two Barberas, that is really conveying the unique terroir of the Cascina Francia vineyard. Impressive depth, concentration and balance. Simply a fantastic Barbera. Open 2014-2025.

93p/100.

2009 Barolo Cascina Francia

The colour is dark ruby red with transparent edges.

Very deep, very fragrant, quite feminine, perfumes and dried rose petals emerges from the glass. Incredibly fresh and ripe fruit follows. Very balsamic and there are some complex autumn scents.

The mid palate offers impressively deep, complex and super-fresh layers of cool, very ripe and pure fruit; typically raspberry, cherries and wild strawberries. There is some shale here too, crushed stone, tiny grape-peel, some tar, dry licorice-root, mint and balsamic notes. A very fresh, balsamic acidity that is already quite integrated. Texture is fine sandy, almost silky already and tannins are thick and pleasingly chewy. Weightlessly powerful and with slim structure and a lot of fine tuned, complex little saline lime stone. A very approachable Barolo with a lot of complex aromas and great cool, fresh and ripe fruit indeed. This is a wine of impressive depth, concentration and balance as well as being incredibly persistent and very elegant at the same time. This year, all the grapes went into the barolo, since no Monfortino was made. Open 2017-2035.

96-97p/100.

2006 Barolo Monfortino

The colour is dark ruby red with orange edges.

Very deep, very fragrant top notes, feminine, perfumes and dried rose petals comes out of the glass. Incredibly fresh and ripe fruit. Very balsamic too and complex autumn scents at the base.

The mid palate offers impressively complex, super-fresh, breath-taking depth of cool, fresh and very ripe fruit. In addition, there is shale, some licorice-root, very balsamic, tiny notes of grape-peel, gravel, notes of tobacco and distinct minerals. The little saline, balsamic acidity is already well integrated with the tannins that are polished, ripe and chewy. From a vintage that is very powerful and tannic, it was a surprise how soft and polished they are already.

With this wine, everything gets up a notch and you grab for descriptive words like purity, insane balance, complexity, unbelievable depth and sheer elegance. Wow! What an iconic wine. It is all in here, the combination of power and elegance as well as the deep, complex aromas to be explored and all so effortlessly balanced into wonderful harmony. A surprisingly very approachable Barolo this young when considering the vintage, but it will most likely peak much later. Open 2020-2050.

99p/100

Summary

Well we already knew that people around the world worship this estate’s wines and especially the Monfortino, but after this tasting and meeting with Roberto, we can confirm that we are more convinced now of the estate’s importance and quality level where the wines ranges from fantastic to extraordinary. The 2006 Monfortino was the best wine we tried during our week long visit in Piedmont.

We did expect depth and complexity in the wines but in addition we where impressed especially by the cool freshness and impeccable balance the wines offered. And there is the 2010 barolos to be released next year too and we can hardly wait. It is obvious that this estate makes top quality wines that with pride celebrates the greatness of Barolo, “the wine of kings”, whose unique territorial expression is best conveyed by its delicate, noble grape nebbiolo.

We will certainly be back.

DSC03349
Andreas, Roberto and Frederik