Category Archives: 2010

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

Another interesting Serralunga d’Alba barolo producer

We know several Conternos’ in Barolo, but we had never heard of Diego Conterno before, but their 2011 barolo is actually very good and simply adds to the quite long line that stands out in the 2011 vintage of traditional baroli from Monforte d’Alba in this case and its neighbouring area, Serralunga d’Alba. After a quick search on the net, it turns out that this is one of the cousins that started up the estate Conterno Fantino, who still makes overly modern and pointlessly, market-pleasing and insanely, oaky baroli had us worried at first, but fortunately this wine was no such wine. Diego and his son Stefano appear to be worshipping their lands and work traditionally including long extraction and neutral barrels; which is fine music to our ears as long as you do everything right in the vineyard and conduct meticulous selection of grapes. We just had to compare it to the fabulous vintage 2010 that is still around.

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2011 Barolo, DIego Conterno

Typical rubber rain coat on the nose, obvious glycerine, beeswax, Asian spices, nutmeg and subtle tar hits the nose directly after opening the bottle, but much later, after several hours of decanting, a complex, compelling and fragrant nose of rose petals, white lilies, cardamon and green curry arrives to the scene.

A fresh, balsamic acidity wrapping dried honey and minerals is very good in here and lifts it all. Sweet, racy and ripe blue- and red fruit, notes of newly cut ginger, anise seeds, fennel, cinnamon, and chalky, dark minerals infused with delicate metals. In addition, some pleasant notes of chewing tobacco as well. Still this is slender bodied, but with high concentration, authority and some precision. However, its backsides are tannins, even though they are smooth and soft, that appear somewhat separated from and outside of the rest and the fruit is unfortunately a little cooked in the heat and smudgy.

The nose on this wine alone is great and considering its youth, It has an unexpected elegancy and focus, but fruit is a little cooked and tannins not integrated well. Open now or wait until 2018 to let the tannins polymerise even more, but please be very observant to temperature; like many other barolo 2011s’, it surely needs its 18 degrees to show off its freshness.

90p-/100

2010 Barolo, Diego Conterno

On the nose, again, as with the 2011, glycerine, beeswax as well as obvious details and precision from dominating wild strawberries in this one, but the palate here also contains plum, blueberries and notes of blackberries. Some deep fruit and chalky minerals too, but overall the nose is overly subtle, less enchanting and subdued.

Very unexpectadily, it is diluted and volatile in an easy and perfect vintage. It is ok and price-worthy though and persistent. As expected, texture is better here than in 2011.

89p/100

 

A fantastically fresh and cool barbaresco in the 2010 vintage

The 2010 vintage is not as iconic here in Barbaresco as in Barolo, but still a very good one and only vineyards close to the Barbaresco town area, had difficulties with some late rains that diluted some vineyards. We must admit, we had the impression of Cigliuti being a modern producer using a lot of new wood and barriques which usually sets off the alarm for us in this area, but this wine proves to be only raised in Slavonian, neutral barrels (botte). In this case, we just had to admit that we were absolutely wrong and the wine is delicious. 🙂

2010 Barbaresco “Vigne Vie Erte” (Bricco di Neive), Fratelli Cigliuti

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Dense red to crystalline blood-orange colour.

And yes, after just half and hour in the decanter, it awakens and blossoms with seductive white lilies, fresh details and down-tuned Asian spices. Yes, pretty, lovely and complex.

On the palate, what clearly makes this special is it’s unbelievably and outstandingly fresh, cool and clear acidity wrapping peach and sweet grape shells. Balance is great and this is already quite approachable, but obviously best in two years. Nevertheless, there is some tiny oak spiciness, but it is not disturbing the palate at all. Aromatics are dominated by loads of massive, dark and tasty blue plums and small and smudgy sweet wild, mature  and earthy strawberries, but here as well are peppers, nutmeg, Asian spices, just a little cinnamon adding gentle lime and crystalline minerals in a very majestic way. All of this is framed in tannins fine and soft that it still need time to polymerise from its current youthfully and tongue-spurring texture. Body is thin, feminine with precision and it is pleasantly persistent too.

A quite approachable wine with wonderful details, a delightful perfume, packed with ripe layers of fruit and unprecedentedly crisp, vivid and most importantly of all, acidity is really fresh. In Sweden you may buy these now, so don’t miss out! Very price-worthy at €32.

93-95p/100.

Brunello 2010 focus on the Barolo-Brunello tasting in Copenhagen

The danish Berlingske Media held a tasting at Børsen in Copenhagen on the 20th of November. There were 20 producers from barolo and 20 of brunello. It was a good opportunity to taste several brunelli from the great vintage of 2010. The vintage 2010 is special in the sense that it is great in many different areas, but most notable Burgundy and Piedmont. Especially the southern very warm parts of Montalcino really render their best wines in cool and long-cycled vintages like 2010 in our opinion.

Here are several samples from the tasting.

 

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Ville la Prata

The nose here is dense and a little warm with some depth. Typical rubber boots, fine herbs and spices. A fine perfume of earthy minerals and iron. On the palate it is dense, warm, sweet and spicy coated in metal-earthy minerals with fine acidity, but overly sweet and lacks some freshness.

88p/100

DSC04602Uccelliera

Even though Andrea Cortonesi uses a high level of new wood, he is skilful in a Burgundish manner to elevate the fruit and terroir with less added wood sensations. The 2004 vintage was tasted here.

2010 Brunello di Montalcino, Uccelliera

Gracefully seductive as usual with balsamically fresh complex herbs.  A very supple and tip toeing envelope with generous aromas of iron-infused red fruit from Castelnuovo dell’Abate. Impressively smooth, round and pure wine with much finesse and elegance.

94+p/100

DSC04603Tenuta Silvio Nardi

2010 Brunello di Montalcino

Clearly, a bombastic and full-bodied Californina-style brunello that we dislike.  Way too much new and well-toasted wood in here that makes any further analysis less interesting. The acidity appears to be high quality, cool and crisp, but does it matter when you cannot recognise its origins in the western part of Montalcino. How sad, since there is obviously good fruit inside of all the oak sensations.

-84p/100

DSC04604San Giorgio

2010 Brunello di Montalcino “Ugolforte”

A modern nose with some immediate oak notes, but still with elegance and is the case with Uccelliera it is skilfully handcrafted. I am told it is raised in 50% new wood of light toasting and the rest 2nd passage. Moreover, some leather, cherry and darker minerals. It is very rich, generous on the palate and juicy, ripe from dark fruit, spices, smoke, notes of tobacco and deep minerals. It dances on the edge of too much oak, but it is a very polished, round, sophisticated wine build with finesse so we are very forgiving in this case.

92-93p/100

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Tenuta Buon Tempo

This producer is new to us and located in the south-east of Castelnuovo dell’Abate. Filippo says that they employ a 20 day extraction in 2010 and use 40% new oak with the focus to only lift the terroir and aromas, but still quite high level.

2010 Brunello di Montalcino

A deep, earthy, ethereal and complex nose. Distinct, dense rubber boots, currants, salty black olives, cinnamon cookies, worn leather and lovely mineral-embedded balsamic herbs slips through from the one year in 40% new wood treatment, but thankfully not well toasted. An impressive and direct nose. On the palate it impresses with its cool, fresh balsamic acidity wrapping dried herbs and salty minerals. Very good balance and richness too. Packed with racy, dark fruit; black berries, blue berries and viol, liquorice, worn leather, black peppers and dried spices with Just a little dryness in the elegant and persistent, but quite bombastic and powerful finish. Its obvious backside is its texture that is smudgy and currently a little too fleshy as well. Even though, it lacks precision and smooth texture, we like everything else with this generous wine and we are forgiving with the oak contributions. This will need some more years to come together, but it sure has potential.

94p/100

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Tassi

This is producer from Castiglione dell’Abate, we have never tasted before.

2010 Brunello di Montalcino, Tassi

Obvious excess of oak on the immediate nose. However, fresh and clean notes of herbs, corithns and coffee, but embedded in oak sensations. On the palate, our suspicions unfortunately are proven correct and there is also excessive of alcohol which disturbs the otherwise fine balance. There are good fruit in here and finesse, but they were not careful enough. What a shame.

87-88p/100

2010 Brunello di Montalcino “Franci”, Tassi

Obvious excess of oak here too. However, fresh and clean notes of herbs, corithns and coffee slips through, but embedded in oak sensations here too. On the palate, there are better fruit in here; plum, dry cherries as well as Mediterranean herbs, but they were not careful here either. More persistent, but at a high cost of integrity and honesty. However, there is no oak bitterness.

89-p/100

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Le Macioche

A new acquaintance. Modern but very unusual and interesting wine and the producer employs a lengthy 30-days extraction on the skins. They are located in the south-east part of Montalcino being neighbour with our hero, Salicutti there.

2010 Brunello di Montalcino, Le Macioche

Very unusal nose of nectarine and yellow pears opens up here and then a great fresh perfume lingers. It is really fresh, but so unexpected. On the palate, it stays true to its nose and except for notes of cherry, it apricot and nectarine flavours dominate this wine. It is generous and persistent with a pleasant dry finish of finesse.

93p/100

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Le Chiuse

Lorenzo Magnelli, is an interesting guy carrying on a legacy his familly shares with the legendary Biondi-Santi, the creator of Brunelli, and their vineyards. He explains that most important in vinification is to physically affecting the wine as little as possible and this is why they use gravity and gentle pressing to sustain high quality. They do green harvest for concentration when necessary. Absolutely a very interesting wine grower to follow closely.

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Lorenzo Magnelli

2010 Brunello di Montalcino, Le Chiuse

The nose opens slowly in the glass with fine balsamically wrapped dried herbs, corinthian and worn leather. There is a deep and honest inner perfume here that is quite captivating. On the palate it offers black olives, licorice-root,  notes of coffee, figs and black, ripe fruit infused with deep, dark minerals,. Tannins are a little edgy now, but they are thick and soft with great potential. This is a thick, dense, persistent and fresh old-school brunello with very much personality made for the cellar.

95p/100

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Col d’Orca has never impressed us and even in a fabulous vintage like 2010 it is not up to game. We didn’t even bother with Val di Suga and Barbi.

2010 Brunello di Montalcino, Col d’Orca

An ok perfume of dark cherries and black tea leaves. On the palate it is inconsistent and lacks concentration. It offers black peppers, bleach coffee and notes of leather, but It is even hollow and while texture is just fine, its acidity is whiny and of bad quality. This is a hollow wine with low quality, bitter acidity and flatness.

82-84p/100

 

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Castiglion del Bosco

Castiglion del Bosco’s brunelli are from a site in the north-west part of Montalcino. They use a more moderately lower level of new oak (20%) among the modern style producers and use gravity to affect the grape juice as little as possible.  Campo del Drago. is from the highest point at 460 m in the the vineyard of the same name. The wine to the right is from the Capanna vineyard at 350-450 m.

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2010 Brunello di Montalcino “Capanna”, Castiglion del Bosco

A very fresh and fine nose full of balsamic herbs, distinct metal-infused minerals and pretty flowers. On the palate it is impressively balanced and complex with pure darker, creamy and fine honey-infused fruit. Acidity is fine, but now a little unpleasantly bitter. Smooth, pliant and very soft texture, but texture is fleshy, shitty with some excessive sweetness in the rich and persistent finish. but tannins need a lot of time still. Acidity is still fresh, fruit is pure and it is balanced.

91p/100

2010 Brunello di Montalcino “Campo del Drago”, Castiglion del Bosco

Very much like its sibbling but tannins are riper and even better in this one. Also more concentration with a notch more finesse and less bitterness.

93p/100

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Sabine, a very nice dane, that lives in Montalcino and promotes and markets their wines. Lucky her. 🙂

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Caparzo

Caparzo has always been good, but to be honest, they have not really caught our attention until now.

2010 Brunello di Montalcino “La Casa”, Caparzo

Interesting nose of lemon-peel, gravel, smoke and autumn notes. On the palate, what first strike us is its Impressive balance and genuine aromas of balsamic herbs, dry licorice and spices. Texture is very smooth, fleshy and bold, but very soft. It is meaty, a little fleshy and quite generous too.

93p/100

 

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Summary

It is no news that Brunello di Montalcino still suffers from giving into American markets that still wants bombastic and powerful wines whose persistence is counted in minutes. However, the exampe of such wines are less now than some years ago which is pleasing as consumers tend to look more for genuine wines of personality. Some producers still manage to dance on the edge here like Uccelliera, Buon Tempo and San Giorgio, but does this with smartness and skill so as a consumer we are very much forgiving as everything else is so great and interesting. As was/is the case with the celebrated 2010 vintage of Barolo, the producer is the most important regardless of vintages.

At this tasting Uccelliera and Buon Tempo stood out as the best of the modern style brunello and on the other side in the traditional corner, Le Chiuse, was a very postive new acquaintance. Obviously, we’d like some of the top producers here as well like Cerbaiona, Salvioni, Soldera, Costanti, etc for better benchmarking in terms of quality, but I still think we managed to assemble a good perspective of good producers under the radar and some unknown to us.

A fantastic Pommard from Nicolas Rossignol

Nicolas Rossignol is one of the most interesting producers when it comes to Volnay and Pommard. You can read more about our visit with him here.

During the years we have had our ups and downs with Nicolas but we love his energy and excitement and when at his best he produces fantastic wines, sometimes from vineyards traditionally overlooked or with less reputation.

Nicolas Rossignol Chaponnières
2010 Nicolas Rossignol, Pommard 1er cru “Chaponnières”

Generous, deep and quite creamy nose with succulent purple fruit, cherries, plums, ripe strawberries, stable, hints of oak and some ethereal aromas.

The taste is dominated by red fruit, but we also find black pepper, herbs and some raisin sweetness. There are clear “Pommard muscles” with its prominent tannic structure, but texture is pleasantly soft and fine grained. The acidity is a bit sharp, but it also adds some attitude to the wine.
This is not the most elegant wine, but it is has a fantastic generosity, a mouthwatering fruitiness and good complexity.

The second day the wine shows more personality and is even more approachable, generous, but still quite powerful and round.

94p/100

An interesting Brunate from Francesco Rinaldi

DSC045512010 Barolo Brunate, Francesco Rinaldi

Totally transparent, glowingly blood orange with red purple nuances.

Very fine tuned, reticent nose that really take its time to show its overly complex perfume of dog rose, Asian spices and beautiful perfume, classic roses as well as some anise.

On the palate, the texture and softness of tannins impress and confirm this vintage. The acidity is very balsamically fresh and approachable wrapping green pears. Fruit is clean and we are offered balsamic herbs and some typical site-specific anise seeds. Good length and purity.

This is a good represent of the vintage and it is very balanced with fantastic acidity. As many 2010’s it is preparing for a sleep period and needs a lot of time to be woken up now. However, it is not really up to the same level as their Cannubi in this vintage we think. Wait until 2022 to open this.

93p/100

Vajra’s base-barolo excels in the 2010 vintage

Vajra keeps getting better and better and this barolo is a traditional blend of three vineyards; Fossati, Coste di Vergne and La Volta. Grapes are hand picked from very high altitude, above 400 m. A 40 days of maceration was conducted here and the grape juice was raised in neutral big barrels of both Slavonian and French origin.

DSC04553Vajra Albe, Barolo 2010

Totally transparent, glowingly blood orange colour  with red purple nuances.

The nose emerges immediately with animal notes, raw meat and distinct cherry stone. After just two more hours in the decanter, surprisingly, the dominating animal notes fade totally and give way for a much more balanced, refined and classic nose of anise seed, beeswax, some green curry, sage, leather, subtle raw rubber, distinct dried Mediterranean herbs, spices and notes of tobacco. Actually, the first might have been a unique bottle, because a second one was great directly. Some quite seductive violets, rose hip and cinnamon cookies arrive as part of a quite complex, dense and aristocratic perfume some hours later that usually is enjoyed in more expensive wines. An amazing change on the nose in just a few hours really, so follow this wine.

On the palate it is amazingly pliant, impressively balanced and tannins are still young, but soft, velvety; all in accordance with this fantastic vintage, but obviously not perfect yet though. Acidity is impressively clean and super-balsamically crisp wrapping deep minerals, beeswax, notes of dry liquorice and some menthol. Pure, chewy and very racy black cherries, sloe berries and cherry stone as well as notes of chewing tobacco. It is focused, persistent and offers some elegance that is impressive at this price-level.

A very complex, delightfully fresh, quite elegant and so far the most price-worthy Barolo in this great vintage. Open in 2019 to let the tannins polymerise to perfection, even though it is approachable now. Cost about €24.

94p/100

A famous house in Barolo is not performing when it should

According to historical notes, the unifier of Italy, Vittorio Emmanuell II, the king of Sardinia, registered this estate’s piece of land in Barolo to his beloved Rosa that then named one of Fontafredda’s vineyards in Serralunda d’Alba. The barolo “normale” aims to render a classic blend that reuses their classic silver label. All good and promising and with a nice price tag to it as well.

2010 Barolo, Fontanafredda

Glowingly dark red colur with ligh edges.

After two hours, the nose emerges with typical rose petals, some grill smoke, dog rose, herbs and surprisingly notes of toasted oak. Unexpectedly, no tar but an overall fine nose.

The tannic cut is edgy and texture is not soft in accordance with the vintage characteristics, rather rough, dirty and sandy. The fruit is fine and just a little dry. Moreover, the palate offers saline underbrush, stew, some unpleasant bleach coffee, cedar and metallic chalky notes. It is bold, quite unbalanced and dissonant. In addition, even though it is quite persistent, the finish is unfortunately overly saline, too austere and dry.

No, even when considering the low price tag, this does not impress and the blend put together by winemaker Danilo Drocco and owner Andrea Farinetti truly under-performs in a vintage that is fantastic. Did they do a mistake or is this their cynical perception of a classic barolo really the kind with rough tannins and dried out fruit?

84-p/100