Category Archives: Piedmont

The price tag-wise impressive Oregon pinot joining up with a nebio from Giacosa

Oregon is a young wine region, but certainly an interesting one for sure. Throughout his now half-year time in California, Andreas have confirmed that the most Burgundy-like, coolest and most balanced pinots are found primarily at Sonoma coast or in highest part of Santa Rita hills, but obviously they are found in Oregon. Oregon is further up north on the west coast and as long as there is a cool breeze at nights and great sun exposure, naturally Oregon should have even better conditions for producing less sweet, less alcoholic and more balanced wines. In the last years, several domains in Burgundy has bought land in Oregon because of this and sent their young ones into a somewhat new wild west for wine making.

This time I just happened to be pairing up a newly released easygoing and price-worthy Oregon pinot with a simple nebbiolo from the iconic Piedmont producer; Bruno Giacosa. Even Though, an alternative from Burgundy sound like the obvious choice, It proved out to be a ingenius combo that opens up a door for likeness. 🙂

2015 Acrobat, “Pinot Noir” Acrobat wineries Oregon, USA

Beautiful and opaque red orange and red purple core with pink-cerise edges.

A lovely perfume of thyme, earthy qualities and notes of underbrush at the base as well as normally sweet red berries, but not the normal kind from California or any other new world. Moreover, delicate, quite intense top notes of high-pitched tulips and mesmerizing peony rose petals. There is absolutely a fragrant and lovely Chambolle-like note in here, but with a certain underbrush and divert mineralic twist.

Very silky, very fresh and as its name suggest, a truly impressively balanced wine. Fruit contains some sweet, highly concentrated, ripe wild strawberries, but combines this with cool, aromatic guava and rhubarb fruits. It is a very focused, superslim, generous and a gentle wine tiptoeing its juvenile, pristine and immaculate aromas in a fresh, juicy acidity elegantly to the finish line. It deserves the big Burgundy balloons or the Zalto glasses. Its only backside is its slightly sweet tone, but otherwise we love it! However, its youthfulness shines through with less precision, but the price tag at this quality-level is irresistible (SEK 165 kr, ~€17.30, $18.20) and impressive! (tasted 2016-03-08)

88+p/100

2014 nebbiolo d’Alba, Bruno Giacosa

Red orange, transparent and glowingly core with orange cerise edges.

The classic notes of leather, tar and lovely Ingrid Bergman roses, but here very subtle. Notes of cinnamon, cookies and dog rose too.

Well balanced and dense. Tannins are, of course, youthful but at the same tasty and quite soft considering its age. As always, even her, the precision is amazing at this price level for a non-barbaresco wine. It needs some more time to marry the tannins with the fresh, balsamic and lively acidity. Precision is a notch up compared to the Acrobat, but price is higher at SEK 289 kr (€30.30, $32) (tasted 2017-03-08)

87-88p/100

Oddero’s Vigna Rionda 11 years on..

If you ask me, the Vigna Rionda is probably the best vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba, Barolo. However, you still need a skilled producer to make it justice. It is certainly not an easy wine, but one to be patient with and that is why most producers release it very late. Usually at its 10 years birthday and Oddero is no exception. We met up with them back in 2013 and you can read about our visit here.

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2005 Barolo “Vigna Rionda”, Oddero

As always less transparent with dense, ruby red colour.

The perfume is immediate, intense and compact with a noble combo of wood glue, dried flowers (lavendar, peony roses, lilies), bergamot, under vegetation, pine tree and exotic spices; mainly nutmeg and clove. Follow this wine for some hours, because it is rewarding. The terroir is very unique here and on the nose it is surprisingly much like the structured 2006 vintage.

On the palate there is gravel, earthy muchrooms and dry spices. It is compact, deep and well structured. The 2005 vintage is ok, but normally not for the long run: It was rainy and too little sun, so sometimes it lacks structure, fruit and can be perceived as diluted and unbalanced. This is far from dilution and it got pleanty of structure. However, tannins are still massive and it is not even near integrated either, so this will need plenty of more time in the cellar still. It may not be the most balanced wine and texture is displeasing, but I think it is rich offering a lot of terroir and the acidity is just enough to keep it fresh wrapping bergamot in the very dry finish. It is certainly not a main stream wine for the crowd, but it is from a very unique terroir. Open in 2022 is my educated guess after tasting wines from this vineyard. Tasted on the 2/12-2016.

91-92p

Very interesting unknown Piedmont wine

This wine is from a place about 40 km north-east of Barolo and just 8 from the town of Asti in an area called Castagnole Monferrato. The grape Ruché is grown at 250 m above sea level with perfect south exposition made from 25 years-old vines. The family-run estate Montalbera harvest the grapes passed fully ripeness. In addition, 5% of these grapes go through passimento (dry fermentation) for today’s wine. The risk here is of course to render to much alcohol and a sweet wine, but we guess that they know what they are doing. 🙂

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2014 Ruché di Castagnole-Monferrato “Laccento”, Montalbera

Beautiful colour with blood orange core and some red purple tints with orange-pink edges.

After opening, nutmeg, notes of leather, blue plums, but after some hours a delightful and complex scent of cardamom, ripe strawberries, beeswax, subtle peony rose petals, dry thyme, chewing tobacco and soot arrives. Surprisingly, it shares several flavours in a langhe nebbiolo in its impressive and complex nose.

Quite intense and direct taste packed with slightly sweet, very ripe and fresh combo of primarily wild strawberries and big plums wrapped in delicate minerals. A very generous, quite mellow, pliant and pure wine, but even more impressive it is remarkably rich, balanced and framed in velvety, thick really ripe, impressively soft and approachable tannins already, totally unlike a barolo. Its only backside is that it lacks elegance and finesse. In deed a steel for the money at €30.

90-92p

The 2006 pride of Paolo Scavino

We have met with the lovely Elisa Scavino a few times along the years and they have evolved in a fantastic direction by cutting down on new oak and keeping up their meticulous work set up by her great father, Enrico.

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2006 Barolo “Bric dël Fiasc”, Paolo Scavino

Colour is half-half transparent of red cerise core with glowingly blood orange outer parts.

Obvious oak notes still in here even after 10 years and I remember that they turned down this quite a bit back in 2008 which was a great decision. A very much boosted perfume of raspberry candy sweets, blossoming roses and minerals in here still. Be sure to let the wine stay in a decanter for about two hours to let its inner terroir slip through. As always, it is fresh and elegant with its personal deep minerals and clove-coated red fruit. However, tannins are not anywhere near finished. I guess that you have to wait as late as 2022 for this one to integrate fully.

90+p/100

The two 2010 Pajés from Roagna are a velvet glove

After having tasted the 2010 langhe rosso and the marvelous 2010 Pira vecchie viti we simply had to evaluate the two pajés; the normal and the vecchie viti. The latter is twice as expensive from vines on average 60 years old and minimum 50, whereas the normal’s vines are between 25-50 years old. As usual extraction using the traditional sub-merged caps method is hefty with 2 months for the normal and another half month for the vecchie viti. This tasting was half blind to make it more interesting.

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2010 Roagna Pajé

Andreas:

Intense but rather slim nose with pure red berries, lemon peel and some herbal notes. Cool and almost electric acidity combined with silky but still grippy tannins. Herbal notes, blueberries, raspberries, slight cherry notes, orange peel and some rather surprising hints of sherry in the background. Mouthwatering and precise finish.

At he moment the acidity is slightly dominant but this will definitely calm down with time. Energetic and intense wine.

94p/100

Sir Galahad:

Dense nose. Very slow scent of rose petals, beeswax and inner perfume. Concentrated, juicy, cool black- and red fruit in balance with crisp, vivid and balsamic acidity wrapping orange-peel and beeswax. Aromas of anise seeds, Asian spices and savoury notes. Velvety texture with chewy tannins with grip. Medium bodied and generous. The clean persistent finish lacks just some precision compared to its pricier counterpart, but compensates this well with freshness and approachable balance.

94p/100

2010 Roagna Pajé vecchie viti

Andreas:

Dense and compact nose with intense notes of oil paint, ripe (almost jammy) strawberries, blueberries and some roses. Soft but still fresh acidity with some citric notes in the finish. Ripe strawberries, leather, blueberries and orange peel on the palate. Tannins are grippy but fine grained.

This wine has a truly amazing nose but the palate needs more time to integrate. When it is ready we have a very complete and complex wine with great personality.

96p/100

Sir Galahad:

Dense nose here too but just a little more depth and much more intense. An amazing nose of grace that is vibrating and compelling. As expected, a little more precision here and depth, but currently more tight and things are not in place yet, but it broods on something special. More concentration and power in here and a little more jammy and currently somewhat smudgier fruit. Acidity is great and crisp with razor-sharp precision. First mostly dark fruit and cherries, but after some hours anise seeds, earthy strawberries, dark plums and notes of blueberries appear. This will need plenty of time to come around. An unpolished diamond. A guess is in 2025.

95-96p/100

Summary

For early drinking in the coming 5-6 years, the normal pajé is recommended as we both agree that it is more approachable and balanced now. For the long term, the vecchie viti is absolutely a notch up on the nose. On the palate, it is not so big a difference, but vecchie viti lurks on more precision, structure and concentration.

2010 shines in Roagnas oldest vineyard

Roagna released their wines from the fabulous 2010 vintage in February including the langhe rosso. This wine is made of grapes selected from vines of which the youngest dates back to 1937! On Etna this is normal, in Burgundy uncommon, but in Barolo, it is truly rare. It is part of some of the oldest locations in Barolo and more precisely east of the Bricco Rocche di Castiglione-Falletto facing south-east in the blend zone and in the very heart of the Barolo area. The best grapes are extracted using the traditional submerged-cap method on the skins for three months.

DSC04702Roagna Barolo “Pira” vecchie viti

Andreas:

Pure and fresh red berries combined with some blueberries and boysenberries, but also orange peel, roses, fresh spices and slight herbal notes. The nose could have brought me to some of the top vineyards in burgundy.

On the palate the wine is all about balance and elegance. The acidity is amazing with mouth watering lime fruit, but still never dominant. The tannins are velvety but still have some grip. We find the same fresh multilayered fruit also on the palate.

Fresh finish leaving you thirsty for more.

The Roagna wines are often said to require long time for maturation. However, this wine is fantastic already now, but of course has a long life ahead.

96-97/100

Sir Galahad:

The nose emerges as truly special here and is refined and emerges very slowly in waves. Subtle beeswax, orange-peel, spices, ethereal and with an inner beautiful perfume that is quite intense and aristocratic but slow and incredibly complex.

On the palate, it is incredibly concentrated and very rich, but not heavy at all. Aromas of very deep minerals, anise seeds, tea and layers of pure, ripe black fruit; mainly blackberries and dark, peppery plums that dominates. The precision is stunning as is the harmony of core aromas that unites in a lovely finish with strikingly clean, fresh acidity and silky texture, framed by thick, chewy and super-ripe tannins. They steer the wine in a clear direction and elegant manner. Surprisingly, very approachable already now and the insane extraction just adds honest and true terroir. Just buy, if you still manage to find them. Already drinkable, but a guess is that it will be even better in some years.

96-97p/100

 

 

Roagna makes another really good rosso

We are true fans of the Roagna estate with the relieving motto “we don’t change”. This is the essence of tradition when it really adds value and at the same time is ahead of its time when talking terroir and high-quality grapes. As most people know, Roagna bottles a langhe rosso that can easily compete with barolos. The vintage 2006 was tasted here. The 2010 vintage is by far the most balanced and most refined one in decades with potentially perfect tannins as most of us are fully aware of by now. Roagna is probably the last to bottle with the exception of Roberto Conterno’s ultimate barolo, the Monfortino. The rosso is made of fruit from young vines from the vineyards; Pira in Serralunga d’Alba in Barolo and Pajé in Barbaresco (just below their house) and is raised in neutral barrel for five years.

IMG_20160528_0123512010 Roagna, langhe rosso

Sir Galahad:

The nose is refined and complex offering menthol, subtle, dried rose petals, purest beeswax, some oil paint and distinct Asian spices; spice cumin and cardamom. Some lilies are noted too.

Usually, on the palate, the rosso is bold and throwing flavours at you, but here it is more laid back, very much like the vintage. So unlike e.g. the great 2006 and even 2008, there is much, much less fire wood, tar, blood pudding and broth in here. Packed with sweet, dark plum, earthy red fruit, cherry stone, tea, notes of dry honey, orange peel, anise seeds and even more so, lovely, vibrant minerals. Acidity is peppery and a little gnarly, but texture is pliant and velvety. The backside is that It is a little volatile and fruit is somewhat dry and introvert, but still among the best rossos.

91p-/100

Two Barbaresci from the warm 2011 vintage

The vintage 2011 is a warm vintage that is better than expected in Serralunga and Monforte in Barolo, but in Barbaresco it is perceived as hotter and often with somewhat cooked fruit. Here we taste two of the riservas from the great cooperative – Produttori di Barbaresco. Two vineyards with totally different micro climates.

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Two of the 2011 single-vineyard barbaresco from the great cooperative

2011 Barbaresco Muncagota, Produttori di Barbaresco

Andreas:

Elegant and fresh nose with an abundance of young and slightly sweet red fruit containing strawberries, wild strawberries and raspberries along with notes of menthol.

Slightly darker fruit on the rather thin and elegant palate. Acidity is amazing and very precise and complements the good tannic structure.

This Barbaresco is surprisingly energetic for a 2011 but still has the rather generous sweet expression often found in this vintage.

91-92p/100

Sir Galahad:

Incredibly seductive, juvenile and intensively forward perfume that is both quite sexy, pretty and fresh. It brings a very vast, lavishing combo of beautiful rose petals, ripe red fruit, beeswax, some oil paint, mint, clove and anise seeds. Even if comparison to other wine areas may be a bit simplifying and somewhat limiting, I cannot help finding it reminding me very much of a good premier cru Chambolle-Musigny, Burgundy. Maybe a forward Les Cras? 🙂

On the palate, it is not equally as impressive but not disappointing either. It is racy, succulent and packed with ripe, highly concentrated red fruit; primarily raspberries, but also earthy wild strawberries. It is just a little smudgy and on the edge of getting too sweet, but fruit is without any alcohol in the persistent finish. It is thin bodied, weightless and considering the warm vintage, it impresses with fine balance and very crisp, balsamic acidity. All this framed in soft, rather sweet and thick tannins without any dryness what so ever but with a somewhat sandy and not directly silky .

91p/100

2011 Barbaresco Montefico, Produttori di Barbaresco

Sir Galahad:

The typical nose of smoke, layers of vibrating tar and natural rubber. In addition, notions of Mediterranean herbs and a subtle perfume. While the nose is characteristic and true to its origins, unfortunately the palate is a disappointment. It is rough, tannins are coarse and fruit is way too sweet, cooked and smudgy. On the up side, acidity is fine and generous, but it is not evening out its other misfortunes.

Reality is that It is clumsy, coarse and without any finesse. Did they harvest too late in this very warm vintage and couldn’t wait until tannins very ok in this vineyard? We cannot recommend this. Let’s hope the 2012 is much better which we have reason to expect from our last trip last year to Barbaresco.

84p/100

Giacomo Fenocchio – Respect for terroir and great balance

When we visited Piedmont in 2013 we had the pleasure of meeting up with Claudio Fenocchio, a humble and careful man who produces fantastic wine with great respect for tradition and terroir. We spent much of the time talking about different vineyards and how their characteristics affect the wines. Claudio knows his vineyards and their history extremely well and talks about them with great passion. Claudio emphasises that there are only two vineyards that are truly Bussia; Sottana and Soprana. From their home they have a truly amazing view of the area, with La Morra straight ahead, Barolo down to the right and further to the right we can see Castiglione-Falletto, starting with the Villero vineyard.

Claudio Fenocchio

Claudio Fenocchio

The estate was founded in 1864, has been in the family for 5 generations and is carrying the name of Giacomo Fenocchio, the father of Claudio, who headed the estate after the second world war and who acquired some of the vineyards that still are within the family. They have vineyards in Cannubi (approximately 40 year old vines), Bussia Sottana (25-40 year old) and Villero (appr. 65 year old).

As mentioned before the estate uses traditional methods, which includes long maceration, usage of indigenous yeast and maturation in large barrels (botti) to ensure no oak flavours make it into the wine.

Claudio Fenocchio

The wines we tasted

Bussia 2013 – from tank

This wine was of course way to young to be tested, but Claudio gave us the chance to taste the 2013 before malolactic fermentation. The acidity is very harsh at this point and it is more or less impossible to understand the potential of the wine. This was more in the department of education than a tasting 🙂

Bussia 2012 – from barrel

The vines are from the Sottana part of Bussia and of mixed ages, but on average approximately 30 years.

At the time of the tasting the wine was very closed and reduced, though there where signs of fresh red fruit, like raspberries and some orange peels.

The wine is quite harsh in the mouth and the acidity needs to stabilise before we get en proper impression of the wine. There are some balsamic notes, blood orange and ginger. Impressive concentration and a texture that already has fine and sandy tannins. Heavy, but of good quality.

More or less impossible, and not at all fair, to score at this time.

Claudio Fenocchio botti
2010 Cannubi – from barrel

From 40 year old vines.

The typical seductive, fragrant perfumes and beautiful rose petals. There are raspberries, some tobacco and the nose shows quite a lot of depth.

The acidity is rather sharp and direct but has a balsamic freshness and is very energetic. We also find fresh red fruit, wild strawberries, raspberries, ginger and some gravel. It is quite persistent and has an impressive balance already.

Texture is already fine sandy and tannins are thick, chewy and of good quality. Enormous potential. This wine needs time to integrate fully but will surely develop in to a wine with good structure and complexity.

92+p/100

2010 Villero – from barrel

From 65 year old vines.

The wine is slow to open up and is a bit reductive but after a while it develops a complex, deep and fresh nose. Fragrant, very delicate with fantastic details, showing both balsamic and floral notes. There are also raspberries and limestone minerals.

The acidity is better integrated than in the Cannubi. Again lots of red berries, distinct blood orange, very ripe, fresh and deep wild strawberries, ginger, nutmeg, loads of fine tuned limestone minerals. Coarse sandy texture and tannins are chewy, thick of high quality.

This is a feminine wine with lots of elegance and fragrance. We are very impressed.

94p/100

2010 Bussia – from barrel

Quite seductive perfumes and fragrant flowers. Super-fresh, ripe red fruit and hints of solvent. Fantastic nose which shows depth and lots of fruit.

Deeper and a bit earthier than the Villero, but still with the characteristic “Fenocchio freshness”. Ripe fruit, boysenberries, blood orange, iron, crushed stone, balsamic notes and herbs. Very balanced already, quite slim structure and persistence. Texture is already polished and tannins are chewy and of great quality.

The wine is very generous with lots of fruit, but it also has complexity, energy and depth.

95p/100

Summary

As always the wines of Fenocchio show great transparency and honesty that celebrate its terroir without adding anything else. In addition, they deliver great freshness, deep aromas and complexity. This was also our first taste of the 2010 vintage and it immediately showed great potential.

An Albino Rocca from Ronchi in 2012

The vineyard Ronchi is situated north of Montestefano and below Rabajà, but it shares its power and darker characteristics from the former. The warm vintage 2012 is much better in Barbaresco compared to Barolo regarding nebbiolo with generally well structured wines with good balance and fine tannins. The reason being a much the colder spring than usual and late warmth compared to Barolo.

DSC046732012 Barbaresco “Ronchi”, Albino Rocca

It emerges with dried rose petals, new cut ginger, crushed stone, dried herbs, dark cherries. A complex, but a little modern and pretty nose, but reticent.

On the palate, it is very dense, powerful and fleshy. At the same time it is pliant, but now texture is too fleshy and clumsy. The new oak addition is currently not doing it any favours (is it ever?), especially not in the quite persistent finish that now is a little bitter, too dry and packed with artificial powder. Flavours are typical dark cherries, black berry jam with stones. It is saved from being too one dimensional and awkward by a very fresh and vivid acidity. Balance is ok.

This wine certainly needs a lot of time to come around and is obviously saved by its approachable acidity, but still it is currently hard to see it turning into a wine with finesse. No, even though nose is pretty and its acidity is great, Albino Rocca is not tuning down its level of new oak so we cannot recommended it. Open in 2020 is our guess, but don’t buy.

86p/100