Monthly Archives: March 2014

Piedmont Trip 2013: Oddero – The elegance-focused owner of six Barolo grand crus

The estate has been making barolo as we know it since the 1870’s. Today the estate is headed by the sisters Maria-Cristina and Maria-Vittoria Oddero, but Maria-Cristina is obviously the one that has put in a lot of effort to improve the vineyards and vinification a little to produce even more elegant and consistent high-quality wines, really balancing tradition with modern techniques aiming for transparency, freshness and elegance. The sisters are helped by a team with Sergio Blengio in the vineyard, Luca Veglio in the cellar and Gabriella Rosso on sales and accounting. In addition, Maria-Vittoria’s daughter Isabella has recently joined the winery and is the one travelling around the world to promote the wines, but still she stays in tune with the quality improvements at the estate.

Luca showing us the upward trellising system

Their enologist is the very helpful and engaged Luca, who together with Gabriella was kind enough to take us for a tour on our visit when Isabella could not receive us because of a business trip to Hong Kong.

The estate probably has the vastest collection of unofficial grand crus for Barolo in the area. Now, we are talking vineyards comprising parcels in the great Vigna Rionda from Serralunga d’Alba; the top three vineyards Villero, Bricco Fiasco and Rocche from Castiglione-Falletto, Brunate from La Morra and the Bussia Soprana from the northern part of Monforte d’Alba. As the crowd of Barolo fans already have noticed, this is indeed a collection of some of the very best crus in Barolo. Five of them are bottled as single cru Baroli.

Nebbiolo bunch with grapes and green stems

As most quality producers today, they put most of their focus on their vineyards and here we, with true joy, see the true potential. Green harvest is employed and only the best grape bunches are left two months before scheduled harvest. In addition, they started to employ high upward-trained trellising systems with wide rows in the vineyard in the 2000 vintage with more evenly outtake and riper fruit as a result as well as reducing the number of toppings. Yes, it sounds like what Roberto Conterno and Luca Roagna are doing to further improve quality.
The top soil is organically cultivated and they started doing this in 2008 using only copper sulfate to treat illness and mildew. Moreover, they now use organic matter and humus to fertilize the soil more naturally and they are preparing for an organic certification. In addition, they have started to adopt sexual confusion techniques to keep moths away.

Luca explains how you can recognise phenolic maturity and ripe grapes through inspection and by tasting. We discuss how hard work de-stemming of nebbiolo really is and that Oddero really tries to remove all stems, since they in nebbiolo vines usually are very green and bitter in Luca’s opinion. Obviously, in contrast to pinot, nebbiolo certainly does not need stems to add tannins.

The barrels in the cellar

Selection is hard and done both in the vineyard and a second one in the winery at harvest. After de-stemming, a 20-30 days maceration depending on vintage and vineyard is carried out by pump over and delestage in steel vats. However, for the Barolo classico, the traditional sub-merged caps is carried out. They used to use cement, but today only steel vats are employed for alcoholic fermentation. Only large, neutral barrels (45hl to 70 hl) from Slavonia and Austria are used for the Langhe Nebbiolo and Barolo classico. For the Barolo crus, they first use french barriques during the malo with the sediments that endures for about 6-9 months depending on vintage of course. Luca reminds me that no new oak is used, but only 2nd passage or 3rd with light toasting, except for the barberas. Then the grape juice is moved into neutral (25 hl and 30 hl) Austrian oak barrels for aging.

2009 Barbaresco Gallina

Dry soil and good drainage. Exposition is south. Maceration is carried out for 20 days with regular pumping over and a few delestage.

The colour is dark ruby red with white, transparent edges.

The nose has obvious oak notes, very fresh perfumes, dried rose petals, dry red fruit; strawberry, dark cherry.

The taste is very driven by ripe fruit, orange-peel, anise, fennel and ginger. Texture is fine sandy and tannins are quite polished already. Medium-bodied and slim structure. Fine finish with some saline acidity. This definitely lacks complexity and elegance, but fruit is good and tannins are polished and of high quality.

88-89p/100


2009 Barolo

This is a blend of the vineyards; Bricco Chiesa, Bricco Fiasco and Cappallotto. Oddero will soon start bottling the Bricco Fiasco as a single wine. The grape for this blend in contrast to the barolo crus sees traditional maceration with submerged caps.

The colour is dark ruby red with white, transparent edges.

The nose offers animal notes, fragrant rose petals, wood glue and leather.

The mid palate offers balsamic tastes, fine minerals, fennel, tar, anise and loads of fresh, ripe red fruit. Texture is sandy and tannins are fine, The wine is build with details, nuances and a firm, base without being heavy. Impressive concentration, some depth and elegant persistent finish, but just a little too sweet. Structure is almost full-bodied.

92p/100 


2009 Barolo Villero

Luca describes this wine as “not too tall, not too round”. The wine was introduced in 2004 and before it was blended into the classic barolo. The vineyard has south exposition and is warm even during nights, so the soil will lose water, but it will stay deeper down. The roots then needs dig really deep down to find it, but can still handle stress well and the wine miraculously still manages to be fresh.

The nose offers complex, conserved and deep fruit. The mid palate offers paint box, wood glue, truffle, oranges and perfumes. A very complex and deep nose.

A mid palate of menthol, fine minerals, spices, tar, anise, some old-style austere note and loads of incredibly fresh, ripe fruit; plum, blackberry and cherry. Texture is sandy and tannins are a little heavy now but appears to be ripe and of high quality. Impressive concentration, its is very rich with a persistent finish. Structure is full-bodied and weightlessly powerful.

The colour is dark ruby red with white, transparent edges.
This surprises with its freshness in such warm exposition lacking cool winds. It is rich, balsamic-fresh, deep and powerful. Open 2016.

94-95p/100


2008 Barolo Rocche di Castiglione

Colour is dark ruby red with light edges.

The nose offers plum, earth cellar, not so fresh. Burned minerals, glue.

A mid palate of dry licorice-root, minerals, metals, incredibly balsamic, grape-peel and distinct layers of unexpected darker fruit than usual. Texture is fine sandy, almost polished already, but tannins are a little dry and heavy. Medium-bodied and persistent with a classic austere-herby and a little dry finish. Open 2017.

91-92p/100

2006 Barolo Brunate

Oddero’s parcels are very high up in this vineyard, where it is usually windy and the wine usually reflects aromatics and freshness.

Colour is dark ruby red with light edges.

The nose offers plum, sherry, earth cellar, not so fresh. Burned minerals, glue.

Unfortunately, very austere fruit in such a lovely vineyard. Texture is coarse sandy, tannins are rough, or more honestly stone-hard and a little dry. This is unpleasantly tannic, austere, grassy and simply strange expression for this great site that normally produces great elegant and complex wines. A true disappointment. What went wrong here in such a classic year?

87-p/100

2005 Barolo Vigna Rionda

This is a very classic site and Oddero harvests this one before the other nebbiolo vineyards. The wine ages for 42 months in cask. Not this one, but from the 2006 vintage, this barolo will be released first after ten years of ageing in Oddero’s cellar.

Colour is dark ruby red with light edges.

The nose emerges with dry lavender, cinnamon, ethereal, glue, black pepper, exotic herbs, gravel of lime, dry licorice-root and balsamic fur. I always recognise this vineyard on the nose and this is a really great version.

A mid palate of distinct dark, very deep layers of fruit, tea, forest floor, shale, leather, some orange-peel and complex minerals. Texture is fine sandy, tannins are of high density, fat, chewy and hefty. This wine, as expected, has big, big structure, is mid-weightly powerful and offers fantastic concentration.

A wine with more feminine characteristics than usual from this vineyard that resemble us of Massolino. This offers depth, great concentration and impressive balance. Open 2015.

94p/100

2003 Barolo Bussia Soprana di Mondoca

Among all Oddero’s six unofficial grand crus, this is their favourite and it was acquired in 1980. Vines are about 35 years old here, exposure is south-west and the soil is almost white which is referred to as “lunar soil” according to Isabella. In the best vintages a special riserva is made too.

Colour is garnet red with light-orange edges.

The nose offers conserved fruit, plums, wood glue, violets, thyme, fire stone, shale, forest floor, burned limestone and dry herbs.

A mid palate emerges of very fresh, ripe fruit, fennel, anise, balsamic flavours, tar, metals. Texture is fine sandy and tannins are fine but over ripe and bold, The wine is build with details, nuances and a firm, base without being heavy. Very good concentration, some depth and elegant persistent finish, but just a little too sweet. Structure is almost full-bodied.

92p/100

Summary

Over the years, Oddero has appeared uneven among vintages and vineyards and also in this tasting two wines from great vintages e.g. 2006, 2008 were disappointments, whereas others are great and interesting. However, the main impression is that the estate offers an exceptional portfolio of grand crus and when Oddero gets it right, they truly excel. The 2005 Vigna Rionda and 2009 Villero are good examples of this and these really impressed us. I certainly hope that quality in the very near future will be more evenly high and that they will be more recognised, because we think this estate have a lot of potential and they are definitely on the right track.

Contenders: 2009 Clos de Vougeot Grand cru

The grand cru Clos-de-Vougeot is an interesting vineyard for several reasons. It dates back to the 12th Century when Cistercian monks made wine here and borders the Grands Echezeaux in the west and the Petits-Musigny in the north-west. Already the monks knew that the great parts for making wine in this vineyard are in the upper part and down to the middle section where the slope flattens out. This better soil have a thin, poor top layer of calcareous clay and gravel on top of a bed of limestone that is very well-drained. The monks only used to do simple, house wines from the lower parts closer to the famous road RN74. However, a few producers e.g. Leroy, Jacques Prieur, Jadot and Grivot manages to do really good wines from these lesser parts of the vineyard.

It is the largest grand cru in Burgundy and its dilemma is its inconsistency in terms of expression and also certainly in quality. Today over 80 producers owns parcels in this 50 ha large vineyard and all of them do not produce good wines. Hence, it did not help customers at all, when the French Ministry of Agriculture (INAO) did not recognise the smaller sections (the French call them lieu-dit) inside this vineyard, but granting it all grand cru classé in 1937. Clearly a mistake. Anyway, these inner vineyards of the Clos-de-Vougeot are: Petit et Grand Maupertuis, Maret-Haut et Bas, Planté-l’Abbé, Garenne, Musigny-Chioures, Dix-Journaux, Quatorze-Journaux, Montiottes-Hautes et Basses and Baudes-Saint-Martin. Many producers refer to these anyway, but few print them on the label. There is a map here.

2009 may not be a classic vintage, but it is a really good one that is fat, fleshy, rich and forwardly packed with fruit. It may not have a long life ahead, but it is approachable with an relatively early drinking window and the French characterises it as sexy. Some says it is a lesser version of the great, big and high acidic 2005 and others mean it resembles the other vintages that end with a 9. It is probably going to shut down very soon, so therefore we decided to see how it is doing five years on.

The contenders this time in Clos-de-Vougeot

Now after this history lesson let’s enjoy the wines..

Domaine Jean Grivot

The owner, Etienne Grivot, is obviously inspired by the icon Henri Jayer (he is not lonely in this view) and employs a few days cold soak, organic ploughing and extremely low controlled yields in the vineyard as well as hard pruning in the winter and the nowadays very common green harvesting in late Spring/Summer. They own a quite large homogeneous parcel in the lieu-diet Quatorze Journaux which is situated in lower and almost flat part of the Clos-de-Vougeot, boarding the famous road RN74. Vines are about 40 years old here. Etienne uses 70% new, medium toasted oak for this grand crus. We followed this wine beyond seven hours of decanting, since it certainly needs time to really open up.

2009 Clos de Vougeot, Grivot

Sir Galahad:

The colour is dark, but translucently crimson-red purple middle with very light pink, red-purple and transparent edges.

A strange and quite unpleasant nose of solvent and sulfa lurks from the glass after decanting. After another two hours, suddenly there is a complex primary scent of wood glue, dried plum, black fruit jam, lingon berry, tiny notes of exotic spices and secondary notes of intense, lovely inner perfumes, some smoke, tobacco, ginger, clove, distinct nutmeg and somewhat burnt, vibrant minerals. After more than four hours later, the deep and very seductive perfumes are overly intensified and now includes peon roses, lilies as the dry plum/blackberry jam and the exotic spices are definitely more prominent as the tobacco, solvent notes as well as minerals all take big steps back. A very delicate, quite seductive and incredibly intense nose indeed with territorial characteristics, whose only backside is overly toasted oak.

The taste offers very pure, ripe and cool red fruit. The palate goes on with distinct anise, fennel, ginger, iron, gravel, minerals, pomegranate and dry blood orange. The acidity is energetic and fresh wrapping balsamic oils, lingonberry juice and nice bitter grape-peel. Texture is velvety already and overly polished. Tannins are relatively chewy, but now a little harsh, maybe underripe and covered by oak contributions and in this youth really rasps the tongue. Fine balance. Concentration is not more than ok, body is medium and it could be longer if it had more grip. Here adding some ripe stems would have done the trick I think, but again that is not the school of Henri Jayer that aims for purity.

It is very intensely perfumed and seductive wine with a very delicate nose. The fruit is pure and ripe, but a too polished wine for my taste. Moreover, I lack a consistent envelope and grip that would have carried it all the way to a more persistent finish. This in addition to the toasted oak notes puts the total score down a little. Open in 2018.

93-p/100

Andreas: 

The nose is quite expansive, but also a bit volatile and changes during the tasting. I find dark and dry fruit, notes of solvent, tobacco, plum, sand, perfume and also toasted oak in the background.

In the mouth the wine starts off quite deep and expressive but then finishes very slim and almost a bit diluted, which is unfortunate. There are quite ripe red berries, cherries, meat and iron. Tannins are very much present and sandy but not dominant.

I am a bit undecided about this wine. It is elegant and expressive, but unfortunately it lacks the stamina to reach all the way to the finish line.

93p/100

Stefano Z (Guest):

Dark colour for a pinot.

The typical Grivot-style on the nose that is revealed by the toasted barrels, lingonberry acid and sulphur.

Fine spices, red fruit, brioche, some lilies and super-intensive scent. Notes of burnt under vegetation. The red fruit is more plum and cherries than strawberry in here.

Very good tannin structure. Distinct but fine tannins. A well structured wine with expressive minerals, medium body and a fine balance between acidity and fruit. The alcohol stays in the background. Somewhat meaty behind the spicy fruit. Good length.

93p/100

Domaine Anne Gros

The owner Anne Gros that inherited her father Francois Gros’ vineyards have been a true rising star in Burgundy for a while now. She took over the estate in 1988 and put her own name on the labels in 1995. When we visited Anne two years ago, we learned that vinification is traditional and somewhat simple, straight forward. Note-worthy is that Anne employs cement vats for fermentation, uses 20% ripe stems and press wine for structure and raises her grand crus in as much as 80% new, lightly toasted Allier wood for 16 months, but she is remarkably skillful with integrating wood. Anne labels the lieu-dit, the Grand Maupertui, on her bottles and it is situated in the upper left part of the Clos-de-Vougeot. Her parcel is about 50 years old in average, but the oldest vines were planted in 1905. We followed this wine even after seven hours of decanting, since it too really needs its time to open up.

2009 Clos de Vougeot, Anne Gros

Sir Galahad:

The colour is dark, but translucent crimson-red purple middle with pink, red-purple and transparent edges.

After one hour, there is distinct nutmeg, cinnamon, Asian spices, jam, dense ginger and sulphur. After another two hours, the SO2 has disappeared and now red fruit emerges from the glass. After more than four hours, the fruit is clean, ripe and lean more to the dark side. In addition, distinct mint as well as some fresh red flowers lingers on the nose. Incredibly detailed, beautifully fresh nose with grace and complexity.

The taste offers fantastically fresh, dense and ripe fruit; prominent wild strawberry, but also plum and blueberry jam. Moreover, the palate offers ginger, cinnamon, eucalyptus, pastry notes and Asian spices. Concentration is great and there is obviously more structure in this wine compared to Grivot and with very nice grip from the stem and press wine addition and still it is very pure as well as offering a consistent and quite persistent finish. Acidity is energetic and wraps balsamic oils and herbs. Texture is velvety and the youthful tannins rips the tongue still, but even though a little dry still of good quality. The oak tannins here are a little dry, but remarkably well integrated at this stage. Great balance and precision.

This is a really pure, complex and elegant wine. In addition its, already a very balanced wine too, with a broad-spanning nose as well as offering a lot of depth. The only remarks are just a little excessive sweetness and somewhat dry tannins now, but overall a really great effort indeed. Open in 2019.

95p/100

Andreas:

The nose offers deep pinot noir notes and opens up surprisingly fast but then continues to evolve with time. We get pure red berries which are somewhat sweet, some under vegetation in the beginning, floral notes and as the wine gets more air we are met with more clove, eucalyptus and herbal notes.

The taste has medium to high acidity which is fresh and gives energy to the wine. For a pinot noir it is quite full bodied and is dominated by cherries, raspberries and other red fruit. Also here we get more herbal notes and eucalyptus as the wine evolved in the glass. There is a tannic structure to the wine which adds some backbone.

I would prefer less of the herbal notes and eucalyptus, but otherwise this is what I expect from a great Clos Vougeot. A wine which has complexity and structure but also elegance and energy.

95-96p/100

Stefano Z (Guest):

Colour is clean and clear. Light ruby red.

Pure fruit with elegant use of sulphur on the nose. Red fruit dominated by strawberries. In addition, roses, flowers, cinnamon stick, bark, tiny notes of mint and eucalyptus and some medicinal notes. Here too, somewhat burned undervegetation appears that leans towards curry powder.

Unusually elegant style and complexity for this site. Quite good acidity that offers backbone and freshness. Good balance and fine tannins. Good length. The aftertaste offers strawberries, cherries and raspberries as well as some spices that resembles Vosne-Romanée.

94p/100

Summary

We didn’t share the same opinion about the Grivot, but everybody agreed that the winner this time on technical knock-out is after just a few rounds, Anne Gros. It is the most balanced, purest and well integrated wine that celebrates its site when it is at its best and with really good grip too.

A captivating and seductive nose from Barolo with long elegance

Roberto Voerzio heads the estate, but it is really a joined effort by him and his son Davide. As is the case with e.g. Sandrone, Roberto Voerzio too is often considered a modernist and yes, they use barriques, but since the 2008 vintage they use no new oak, only 2nd or 3rd passage. In fact, the malo is carried out in steel and they have cut down on wood contact even more by raising their barolos in 50% barriques and 50% neutral, bigger 20hl barrels from France and Slavonia. Actually, this was something they already did back in 1988 until 1995. From the 1996 until the 2007 vintages, only barriques were employed with max 30% new oak for one year only. And not very surprisingly, we really like this change to back to a more transparent approach.

Vinification is the kind we really like, the simple kind with as little intervention as possible. Maceration is carried out for 15 days which certainly cannot be considered modern and SO2 levels are kept super low.


The estate is considered among the absolute best in Barolo and the secret is, except for a very hands-off vinification and careful use of oak, meticulous and very hard work in the vineyards without any pesticides or weed-killers and the use of organic fertilization. Roberto is a perfectionist and fanatic when it comes to low yields that are probably the lowest in Barolo. They prune ruthlessly hard in winter, cut and leaves 6-8 buds in Spring, do green harvests in the Summer including thinning out twice, cutting off the lower grapes in each bunch in August and leave only five bunches per plant before harvest, about 500 g per plant. Notice, that this is less than a bottle per plant. It is a clear and steadfast focus on producing wines with elegance of highest possible quality with high concentration and ripe fruit that transparently expresses its site with honesty and pride. Yes, this is certainly modernism in Barolo, but in a very good way, and it is extreme as they take the Burgundish wit of low yields even further.

Cerrequio is a very interesting vineyard located in the township of La Morra, Barolo. It is clearly one of unofficial three grand crus in La Morra, the other two being Rocche dell’Annuniziata and Brunate. Upwards it borders La Serra, below is the Sarmassa and next to it is the Brunate. It is not as dark, masculine and structured as the Brunate, but it certainly is equally rich and complex. In addition, it is more approachable and comes with exceptionally soft, but solid tannins. The soil contains the typical Sant’Agata fossil marl and calcareous clay of this part of Barolo, but with less sand than the Brunate. It is poor in organic elements, but rich in Magnesium and Manganese which is indicated by its somewhat blue colour. The vineyard, especially the left side, has a perfect microclimate and exposition as well as being protected from winds and it stores water well due to more clay, so plants are not too stressed in hot vintages. Roberto Voerzio has three parcels in the upper part of this vineyard; two with south-east- and one with south exposition. All planted in 1988, so vines are relatively young.

2006 is a great, well structured and very classic vintage, so now let’s taste the wine shall we..

2006 Barolo Cerequio, Roberto Voerzio


The colour is garnet red with orange edges and it actually looks older than it is. 🙂
After about three hours, the nose is very captivating and seductive with violets, dried cut flowers, gravel, mint and somewhat burnt lime minerals. In addition, there is a stylish and lovely inner perfume as well as a secondary fresh breeze with tiny saline notes that emerges in this gorgeous nose.
The palate offers layers of very pure, fresh and ripe fruit. Moreover, this is a very aromatic wine and we notice anise seed, clove, gravel, warm herbs, spices, tar and pastry.
The acidity is very fresh and energetic and wraps balsamic oils and pleasant bitterly dry grape-peel. It is powerful, but as the expression goes more of “an iron-fist in a velvet glove” and here perhaps we think the glove is even a big, thick and soft one. Hence, the texture is velvety, almost silky, without any corners or edges and tannins are ripe, chewy and already quite soft, but now still a little heavy. Body is voluptuous, concentration is great and it is generously rich in complex aromasHere we enjoy a remarkably consistent envelope that leads to and very long and pure finish. No oak is noted from the one-year in 30% new wood as part of the aging process done for this vintage.

The bouquet is very captivating and enchanting that you just want to sit and explore it for a while. It is a racy, ample and super-round wine with exceptionally long and pure finish. Truly a great effort from Roberto and Davide Voerzio and we look forward to tasting the 2010s when they arrive. Open in 2017, but probably peaks in another ten years and is alive for a few decades. Yes, its price-tag is high, but equally so is its quality.

96-97p/100

A 2009 Barolo from the heart of the blend zone of Barolo

This wine is a blend from younger vines in different parts of Castiglione-Falletto, Barolo. This a traditional estate that was established in 1863. Since 2011, the daughters Cristina and Elena as well as Elena’s husband Alex Sanchez continue the estate’s success and employs organic cultivation with out having gone through certification and use merely traditional methods, i.e. longer maceration periods and big, neutral barrels of French and Slavonian origin.

The 2009 vintage was far from ideal for nebbiolo and suffered from a too hot summer that endured into September causing an undesired fast growing cycle as well as an early, patchy ripeness. It is an producer’s vintage that renders really early approachable and forward wines of better quality than expected, but only if you employed a hard selection and harvested at the right time.


2009 Brovia, Barolo

The colour is dark ruby red and white edges.
A distinct scent of dog rose, shale tone, gravel, ginger, delicate wedged grass, fine burned minerals, some delicate rose petals. Not bad, but here is strangely a rather backward, reduced nose even though it is absolutely fresh.
The palate offers blood grape, sourish red fruit, some anise, sweet iron, orange peel and fine tuned burned minerals. Some excessive alcohol, but it doesn’t disturb the palate. Texture is smooth, quite polished and the tannins are fine grained sandy. Its body is on the slimmer side. Concentration could be better and we lack backbone.


A very shy and quiet wine that is very reduced now, but it is of course very, very young and even though the vintage is very approachable it obviously needs more time to stabilize and open up.


88-89p/100

Piedmont Trip 2013: Old school Barolos from Barale Fratelli

Azienda Agricola Barale Fratelli has a very long history dating back to 1870. Today Sergio Barale is heading the estate together with his two daughters Eleonora and Gloria. Oenologist is Stefano DellaPiana.
We became interested in Barale Fratelli because of their high focus on the work in the vineyards and the vines, and we also have an attraction to producers with long tradition and usage of more traditional methods in the vinification process with long maceration periods and large, neutral barrels.

When meeting with Sergio, he immediately made it clear that the main work is done in the vineyards. Sergio says that if you do your job well there, you have everything you need in the grape, like tannins, acidity, phenol, colour, etc. The vinification process should only make sure the characteristics are preserved. During the years they have experimented with different nebbiolo clones in collaboration with the University of Turin and use different ones depending on the characteristics of the vineyard/terroir. Sergio wants to achieve better grapes that are more optimal to their soil. At harvest grapes are hand-picked and only the best grape bunches are used.
Today Barale Fratelli possess approximately 20 hectars of vineyards, of which seven hectars produce nebbilolo grapes for Barolo wines. Since two years Barale Fratelli is biological and in large parts Elenora was the driver behind the decision.
Sergio on the left and Stefano to the right
When we talk to Sergio he tells us that his work mainly is in the vineyards and that Stefano is responsible for the vinification process. After destemming, gentle pressing, the grape juice for Barolo undergoes a maceration period of 25-30 days with frequent pump-overs and are aged in big barrels (botte) made of french, neutral wood (Allier) which in 1985 replaced the old botte made of chestnut.

Notes from our tasting


2009 Barbaresco Serraboella

40 year old vines in parcels in the very eastern part of Neive. Two years in large oak barrels.

Colour: Dark ruby red, transparent edges.
Nose: Deep darker fruit, earthy, tar, solvent, medicine cabin, balsamic, some strawberries. Quite complex nose, but still a bit closed. Berries comes forward after a while.
Taste: Dark, earthy, tar, dark berries, strawberries comes forward later but here is very little fruit. Acidity is very high and quite harsh but promising. Quite sandy texture, but tannins are a little dry, hard and need to integrate further. Slim structure. Some austere and metallic finish.
Summary: We where not too impressed since the wine lacks the expected fragrant flowers, offers almost no fruit at all and tannins are hard and dry.

88-89p/100

2009 Castellero

Vines are 40 years old. 

Colour: Dark ruby red, transparent edges.
Nose: Earthy, iron, deep dark berries, quite ripe fruit, new tires, delicate perfumes, dried rose petals, glue, medicin cabin, cherries, autumn leafs, a hint of sherry, tobacco and some freshness in the background, probably from the acidity. Has some purity combined with a rustic character. 
TasteRustic, fresh, cool fruit, dusty, gravel, massive minerals, distinct grape-peel, leather, dried autumn leaves, tobacco and something vegetal. Texture is sandy and tannins are thick, fat and a bit dry now. Structure quite big. Good concentration and persistence.
Summary: This wine manages to balance the rustic and earthy nature with some freshness. 

89-90p/100

2005 Cannubi

Colour: Very dark ruby, light-orange edges.
Nose: Fragrant, pressed rose petals, balsamic, orang peels, chemical, medicinal cabin, autumn leaves, delicate perfumes, some tobacco, spices and exotic herbs. Fresh and quite complex but not seductive.
Taste: Fresh sweet fruit, anise, fennel, minerals, dry grape-peel, leather, dried autumn leaves. Texture is sandy and tannins are thick and too hard now. Acidity is energetic and gives some freshness to the wine, though at currently it is a bit gnarly. Structure is quite big. Good concentration and persistence is good, but finish is a little austere.
SummaryQuite complex and some depth in here, but rough now.

90-91p/100

2007 Bussia Sottana Riserva

Colour: Very dark ruby, light-orange edges.
Nose: Spices, dried marmalade, delicate stylish perfumes, quite ethereal and hints of glue.
Taste: Quite fresh dark fruit, minerals, violet, distinct grape-peel, glue, under vegetation, dry leather and loads of minerals. Texture is fine sandy and tannins are thick, chewy and fine. Acidity is quite energetic and promising. Structure is quite big. Good concentration and persistence, but the finish is a little dry, austere.
Summary: The wine has depth and the tannins are of high quality, but dry. The balance is good but it lacks some complexity for a higher score.

91-92p/100

Summary

The wines from Barale are quite rustic and earthy but in our opinion they lack fruit, some elegance and complexity for top scores and the finish is too dry. But if you are looking for classical old style Barolos you will not be disappointed when buying a Barale wine.