Monthly Archives: April 2015

A very fresh, soft and pretty 2010 barolo from Enzo Brezza

The evaluation of the great 2010 vintage in Barolo continues and this time it was time to check out how Enzo Brezza’s barolo from Sarmassa is doing. We tasted this wine at our latest visit to the estate in Barolo in 2013. You can read about it here. Sarmassa is positioned below the famous Brunate in La Morra, Barolo.

Enzo decided not to bottle his special selection from the top part of this vineyard, the Bricco Sarmassa, this year, so all the grapes from this vineyard went into the normal Sarmassa.

2010 Barolo Sarmassa, Brezza

Sir Galahad:

Colour is quite transparent blood orange with tints of red purple and transparent edges.

After three hours of decanting, a quite deep nose emerges with distinct wallpaper adhesive, some fresh oil paint, worn leather, anise seeds, wet gravel, menthol, thyme and very fresh, ethereal qualities. Wow, after some more hours, an airily fresh scent of blossoming violets, rose petals and an aristocratic, elegant and very pretty inner perfume arrives to the scene.

On the palate at this stage it is dominated by a whiny and overly saline acidity. However, I notice distinct blood orange, cranberries, red fruit, crystalline minerals, anise, white pepper, herbs and orange-peel. Burgundy lovers would be surprised by its textural softness of its naturally ripe tannins. This is La Morra, so structure is lighter than in other areas, but here it is surprisingly light-footed and unusually weightless. The only downside with this is that it is perceived as thin, a little volatile and inconsistent now.

Please follow this wine the day after too to let the over energetic acidity to a drinkable level. Even though lacking some concentration and precision, this is still a very good Sarmassa and it is full of freshness, offers a very pretty nose and appears to be hiding away its mystic right now. My guess is to open it in 2020.



The nose has a deep and generous core of ripe red fruit and paint, but also some fresher notes of young raspberries.

Vibrant and direct acidity dominates the initial taste, but then leaves room for red fruit and some menthol. Tannins are velvety and good. The wine does not feel as young as 2010. It already has some mature notes, but still the ageing potential should be good.

In summary, the wine has a beautiful and deep nose as well as good balance, but it lacks some complexity.


The off-hand protector of tradition excels in the best vintage

We are certainly great fans of the genuine and off-hand made Barolo from producer Bartolo Mascarello and as expected, their 2010 does not disappoint us a bit either. Believing in the principle that vineyards are unequally perfect in each vintage, a great Barolo is made by blending vineyards and in this case; Rocche dell’Annunziata, Cannubi, San Lorenzo and Rue. The tradition here is to conduct very lengthy extraction of the skins (maceration), but in this vintage they did 56 days which apparently is the longest in their history. The great 2006 vintage was tasted here.

2010 Barolo, Bartolo Mascarello

Colour is transparently blood orange pulp with tints of orange-red purple in the middle and transparent edges at this stage.

After three hours of decanting, a scent of distinct dried oil paint, raspberry candy and cut rose petals that really is the signature of this great producer leaves the glass in slow waves. After several more hours, it is reluctantly woken up from its beauty sleep and there is suddenly a lovely and genuine deep inner perfume lurking. However, it is naturally very, very reticent and analytic at this stage, but already tremendously complex and it obviously broods on something very special.

The palate is full of juicy blood orange and incredibly pure, highly concentrated, deep layers of red fruit coated in crystalline, delicate minerals and balsamic herbs. In addition, Asian spices, dry licorice-root and the persistent finish is genuinely austere, but certainly not dry. Texture is currently a little grainy, but tannins are perfectly ripe, soft and chewy which is the trademark of the vintage. It is supple and seamless with already truly impressive balance. However, it certainly needs a lot of time to evolve, but it will be a masterpiece. We guess you should open this in 2022, if you can still find one that is.



A mystic and deep 2010 from honest Fenocchio in bussia

If you ask us, Claudio Fenocchio of the Giacomo Fenocchio estate is the absolute top producer in the true Bussia, i.e. before the consorzio made a mess of the Bussia area. It used to be only two; Bussia Soprana and Bussia Sottana. The latter is the one that Claudio’s Bussia is from and he is a really hard working true non-intervenist that makes honest wines with distinct terroir.

2010 Barolo “Bussia Sottana”, G. Fenocchio

Beautiful, glowingly and quite transparent blood orange pulp colour with tints of red purple in the middle and transparent edges this young.

The nose emerges as very closed and reticent, even after several hours of airing. However, I notice dark cherries, distinct wood glue, lavender, eucalyptus, tiny notes of leather, some tobacco, balsamic fur tree, earthy minerals. The day after there is a noble perfume accompanied by dried violets. It is a pretty and complex nose, but very subtle, analytic and reticent at this stage.

The gnarly acidity really needs hours of airing now, but then and especially the day after, it emerges as a very deep and absolutely seamless with ripe, relatively soft and chewy tannins. The palate offers cool, pure dark cherries, black peppers, licorice-root, spices, shale stone, thyme and some tobacco.

It is a little backward, very demanding and not a thrilling barolo at this stage, but after spending two days with it, we are convinced that it conceals a very complex, mystic and deeply layered barolo that may just evolve into something truly great with impeccable precision, but you need to give it a lot of time. Wait until 2025 is our guess.