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.

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