Category Archives: 2011

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.


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

2011 Barbaresco Muncagota, Produttori di Barbaresco


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.


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 .


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.


Another approachable barolo from Verduno

Usually, the blend from Verduno and more precisely from the well-known producer here, Burlotto, is best in warm vintages. We really liked the 2009 version so since 2011 is in general a more even one and less sweet than 2007, this is interesting.

DSC046852011 Barolo “Aclivi”, Burlotto

The nose starts out with the recognisable natural rubber, saline cherry stone, and dry licorice-root. Then turns ethereal with deep, complex inner perfume with a delightful twist of green curry and cumin. A very complex nose to be explored with plenty of pedigree from Verduno.

On the palate, the balsamic, cool and crisp acidity dominates and impresses with its freshness and approachability. Fruit is in the background now and a little smudgy, but it is from ripe, sweet, concentrated and earthy wild strawberries and cherries. Aromas of mainly dark, saline cherries, nutmeg, cinnamon and dry licorice-root. Texture is grainy and fine sandy now, but even though biting your cheeks, there are absolutely no edges and most importantly it is soft. However, it could be more generous and persistent.

A complex, soft and dense wine that is foremost crisp and soft. Obviously, best in a few years more. Ensure it is served at 18 °C (64°F).


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.


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.


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.



Luigi Baudana impresses with its classic style in 2011

Vajra bought this traditional winery in 2009 and acquired great parcels in the vineyards Cerretta and Baudana of Serralunga d’Alba. This is the base barolo bearing the previous owners name “Liugi Baudana” on the labels and combines the calcareous minerality, elegancy and freshness of Cerretta with the structure, density and persistence of Baudana from younger vines compared to their single-vineyard siblings. Moreover, they are sold in half-bottles too which is a great if you intend to drink them soon and just want to enjoy a few glasses, which we certainly are. Approachable barolos are rare from this part of the Barolo area, but we have been especially impressed with barolos from Serralunga d’Alba in the very approachable vintage of 2011.

DSC046212011 Barolo, Luigi Baudana

Sir Galahad:

Glowing dark-red to blood orange, clean and dense colour with transparency.

A very dense and complex nose of pedigree with notes of worn leather, lavender and notes of rose petals. In addition, after one more hour; distinct violets, rose hip, mushrooms, some cinnamon cookies and some notion of metals as well, that just adds to the exiting complexity, emerges. A lovely lingering perfume and all together a quite deep and complex nose.

On the palate, it is racy, complex and dominated by dry lime- and mineral infused luscious fruit; dark cherries, tasty plums and black berries as well as spices, worn leather, anise seeds and crushed stone. The acidity is crisp and impressively fresh wrapping balsamic herbs, deep minerals, iron and dry grape juice. Then, slowly the very firm and thick Serralunga-tannins kick in, and with authority, but even though they are pleasantly chewy, they are still too rough and coarse. We sure lack precision and elegance, but it is generous, medium-bodied, well concentrated and persistent with the classic notion of austereness at the finish line.

An overall balanced, approachable, fresh and persistent Barolo with some complexity, but unfortunately framed in rough and coarse tannins. The texture is its obvious backside and elegance too, but It is still price-worthy at €27, but definitely not at the steal-level of the much better 2010 Vajra Albe. Enjoy with thick sauces, tenderloin and well butter-fried chanterelles or just truffle pecorino cheese. It might improve a little in the next two years, but probably not much.



Incredibly dense nose with dark berries, rose petals, tar and tobacco but also strong notes of mushrooms and some under vegetation.

The acidity is direct and energetic but lacks some precision. Very good tannic structure that adds grip and never gets dry.

This is a transparent and honest Barolo with a rather masculine expression.


Azelia makes a good margheria in 2011

DSC046192011 Azelia, Margheria

Transparent and lightly blood-orange colour with tints of orange-brown.

Very balsamically opulent and dense, but fresh nose with honey, notes of tar, tobacco, black pepper and sherry notes as well as some hours later; a subtle pretty perfume that is not so much about red flowers. Fine complexity lifted by skilful oak-treatment.

On the palate, distinct tar, obvious dry liquorice-root, some glycerin, fresh ginger, porto raisins, figs, notes of tar, chewing-tobacco. The blue- and black fruit is overly sweet. Unfortunately, texture is not great. In fact, tannins are somewhat edgy, grainy from oak and not ripe. Balance is good, but most importantly, the acidity is crisp (if given two hours of decanting that is) and vivid wrapping dry honey and metallic minerals as well as being impressively clean. It is concentrated and pliant with a slender body. The finish is quite long, but dry and currently it adds an unpleasant bleach coffee tone. This might be an effect of oak.

This wine is very forward, racy and generous, but its texture is under-performing by being overly fleshy and coarse and it is a little butterfingered we are afraid. Even so, it is somewhat saved by its clean and fresh acidity, enjoyable perfume and its overall complexity. Several 2011s are better altogether than anticipated and this is still one of them, but barely. It is drinkable now, but wait until 2017 to hopefully let the tannins ripen and settle much more.



A very good representative of the warm 2011 vintage in Monforte, Barolo

The traditional producer Fratelli Alessandro is a great and honest one from Verduno in the most north-western part of Barolo and a little in the shadow of the better known Burlotto estate. The estate has been in the possession of the Alessandra family since 1870, but the winery dates back to the 1840’s. Here we taste their 2011 Gramolere which is not from Verduno, but Monforte d’Alba close by the more famous Santo Stefano di Perno vineyard. 2001 was the first time they started producing this single-vineyard bottling which is a Burgundy inspired change. However, this wine is from a very high, open and windy place at 425 m above sea-level, but still quite warm micro climate. Actually, Alessandro owns the best middle part with south-west exposition so a very interesting wine indeed. 2011 is a warm vintage so any wind is appreciated.

DSC045942011 Fratelli Alessandro, Barolo Gramolere

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

After some hours, the nose, still quite subtle, emerges with balsamically fresh Mediterranean herbs, glycerin, thyme, notes of leather, tar and after an hour there is a lovely perfume with rose petals and lilies. Great complex nose, but not immediately seductive in a good way.

The palate offers a high quality, balsamic acidity and it is generously succulent with overly, jammy sweet, but cool and ripe red fruits coated in fine crystalline minerals. It is pleasantly dominated by small, concentrated wild strawberries, but we also also find mulberries. Other aromas are blood orange, sweet liquorice, cinnamon and fennel. All these goodies are all framed in very smooth, soft and ripe tannins with fine sandy texture, almost velvety without any excessive dryness at all and the wine is very generously rich, pliant without any hardness or edges. Impressive tannin cut, polish and texture.

It is not as dense as expected and rather normal bodied in this warm vintage. Yes, its backside is its much overly sweetness, but not at the expense of a crispy, cool acidity and even though the label says 15% alcohol, this is not disturbing either. Actually, they rendered very ripe tannins by waiting some days here, obviously. A very price-worthy example of barolos representing this vintage well. It is very sensitive to temperature, so make sure to serve it no warmer than 18 ºC (64ºF). Drink now. It will not benefit from more ageing.



The “grape-by-grape” Arborina from Altare in an approchable vintage

The very experimentally minded and Burgundy-inspired father of Silvia Altare, Elio Altare, initiated the project of doing a true 100% de-stemming of grapes from the 2011 vintage. In Burgundy, originally this was one of the legendary Henry Jayer‘s principles for pureness of wine making back in the 70-80’s in Burgundy that was a very important aspect of quality improvement in those days when numerous vintners in Burgundy were using pesticides and the area was on a declining path.

While the noble grape in Burgundy for reds; pinot noir, naturally consists of comparably little natural tannins, nebbiolo has plenty. Hence, in Burgundy it is brave to rely only on tannins in the grape skin, so many vintners in Burgundy adds stems to their wines, especially in years low on tannins or to vineyards normally rendering less structure and grip. Accordingly, they then render more backbone and persistence, but they run a risk of rendering more bitterness from the stems as well. So if you aim for purity, as Silvia and her father do here, this undertake has great potential.  This is all good and very interesting indeed. However, there is a backside to this and that is that with nebbiolo the chalks holding the grapes are really close to the small berries and they are fragile, so this is a very tedious and absurdly time-consuming work really. According to Silvia, it took 11 days for 10 people for the total production of five barriques from the oldest part of the Arborina vineyard planted mostly in 1948, so clearly a very expensive project that needs to fullfil its expectations in order to be worthwhile. This is about 1,500 bottles only. The name for this bottling has been changed a few times along the way, but they have now settled on “unoperuno” which translates into one-by-one and quantity is insanely low too. However, you must admire the effort.

Interestingly, Silvia has decided to use another label for this bottling comared to the normal Arborina.

This tasting was done at the estate when visiting Silvia and we had the opportunity to taste the normal Arborina side-by-side to the special Arborina version “uno-per-uno”.

2011 Altare Barolo “unoperuno” Arborina

The nose emerges with a light and quit reticent carefulness. However, I notice Bee wax, wallpaper adhesive, lilies and fresh rose petals.

On the palate, the fruit is more clean and supple compared to the normal Arborina, even though more sweet in this vintage. Primarily very clean, pure, blue fruit, dark cherries and notes of Asian spices. A quite aromatic wine in this approachable vintage with generous body but still a light-weighter. However, texture is soft, velvety and tannins are ripe, but not really approachable yet. So it needs more time to settle and integrate. Its persistent and offers an elegantly tip-toeing envelope with delicate and crystalline minerals.

There is a lot of finesse in this warm barolo, but it is the purity and precision that really stand out in this special Arborina. Open in 2017 to let the tannins settle even more.


The Cerretta 2011 from Schiavenza impresses us

The estate Schiavenza is a really interesting one and with a good restaurant in Serralunga d’Alba that offers a great panorama view of the site while having lunch there as we did on our recent trip to Piedmont this May. The estate is run today by Luciano Pira, his wife Maura and Maura’s brother Walter Anselma. They use cement for fermentation and only neutral, big Slavonian barrels (botte) with multiple racking.

The 2011 vintage had a warm spring with a whole month earlier flowering and no rain and a mild winter. Summer turned normal but without much needed rain, so when some warmth finally arrived in mid August, dryness caused some stress in warm vineyards whose soil doesn’t retain water well. However, the vintage is nothing like in the very warm, sweet and forwardly opulent 2007 that we are no fan of. Rather, it resembles the 2009 vintage and is perceived as even more approachable and so far we find it even slightly less sweet in general and still with pleasant terroir slipping through. An overall, better vintage than anticipated after all.

2011 Barolo “Cerretta”, Schiavenza

Blood orange middle with red purple tints and orange edges.

A lovely, fresh nose with loads of rose petals, dried oil paint, leather, tobacco, dried herbs and bee wax.

The palate emerges as very fresh thanks to the vivid, fresh and crisp acidity. Texture is already soft and tannins are riper than expected, thick and smooth, but yes, they still are present in the quite persistent finish. Very elegant and no unpleasant dryness what so ever with an abundance of very ripe fruit, notes of chewing tobacco, licorice-root and dried herbs.

This is an elegant, smooth and quite feminine Cerretta and still with that pure, thick Serralunga-touch and pleasant firmness when it is really singing without being too sweet and with fantastic high-quality acidity. We are impressed. This may be even better in two years, but don’t wait for too long.


Burgundy tasting part 1 – The whites

In February we attended the yearly Burgundy wine tasting at Otto Suenson, a Danish wine importer with a great selection of Burgundy wines. The tasting was mainly for 2012 wines but a few 2011s had made it into the line-up too.

For growers in Burgundy the first half of the 2012 season was terrible with late prolonged flowering and hail in parts, but then the weather changed and the quality of the vintage was saved during the second half of the season by north cooling winds and daily warmth. Unfortunately yields are in some areas insanely low which has resulted in even higher prices from an already high level. In general, the wines are quite dense with really good concentration of forward fruit and, for red, a good and quite soft tannic structure. It is a very generous vintage and with good precision.

Below are our notes for the white wines we tasted and we will return later with the reds.

2012 Domaine Ramonet Bourgogne Aligote

Quite open nose with ripe pineapple, other tropical fruit and yellow pears, but also some notes of oak. The palate is similar, but with less fruit and with a quite fresh but soft acidity. Pleasant easy-to-like wine, but no wow-effect.


2012 Domaine Olivier Merlin Macon La Roche-Vineuse

Very tight nose that mainly revealed notes of lime and lemon. The same impression stays with us on the palate where we mainly find lemon and grapefruit, but also some minerals. I like a tight and precise wine, but this was too slim for me.


2011 Maison Remoissenet Pere & Fils Saint-Romain, Cote de Beaune

Quite forward nose with pleasant nectarine and some clear notes of oak. A fleshy and broad palate with an abundance of tropical fruit and a quite vibrant acidity. In the finish we find more oak before the wine closes down. A wine that is more about generosity than elegance.


2012 Domaine Paul Pillot Clos Saint-Jean, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru

There are quite dense notes of pineapple and nectarines but also flint and some oak on the nose. Very generous and open. Similar fruit and denseness on a quite fleshy palate with an acidity that contains some lemon. A pleasant wine that is easy to enjoy.


2012 Benjamin Leroux Poruzots, Meursault Premier Cru

Open and ripe fruit together with some hazelnut and notes of butter. Generous without being over the top. Great juicy tropical fruit and some peel from pear accompanied with a soft and almost tingling acidity. This is a crowd pleaser but it also has balance and complexity and whose aromatics should fair even better with its food pairings. I would happily take another sip…


2011 Domaine Leflaive Clavoillon, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru

Beautiful and fresh nose, mainly fruity but also with a fresh mineralic expression and some perfume and white flowers in the tail. The palate has a great balance between a fresh acidity and quite ripe fruit. A very elegant wine that still has a lavish side to it.



We will be back with the reds…

Burgundy 2012: Méo Camuzet – In the spirit of Henri Jayer

In November 2012, we visited the Domaine Méo Camuzet and met with the polite owner Jean-Nicolas Méo who guided us through their wines which comes from an impressive collection of vineyards; four grand crus (Richebourg, Clos Vougeot, Corton Clos Rognet, and Échezeaux) and 10 premier crus. The Domaine focus very much on work in the vineyards to produce grapes that can be transformed into top quality wines.

The spirit of Henri Jayer is still very much present at the Domaine, so they still de-stem 100%, keep meticulously low yields, perform 4-5 days cold soak (improved colour and nose) and focus on ruthless pruning in favour of less green harvest in the vineyards without using chemicals and pesticides. However, Henri is definitely most recognised for turning the vineyard (according to many impossible) Parantoux into a fantastic wine. For many years the legendary winemaker was responsible for several of the Domain’s vineyards and in 1978 he produced the first Cros-Parantoux under his own label. The wine is still produced in small quantities and in half bottles to satisfy end-consumers.

IMAGE_681C1F67-23BF-48E0-886D-54A372C0DC17Jean Méo’s son Jean-Nicolas Méo arrived to the estate in 1985 from Paris, and was convinced by Henri about his philosophy and result. Actually, he took over the domaine officially in 1988 when Henri retired the same year and he immediately started ending leasing agreements for the families vineyard to produce wine on their own. In addition, the enologist Christian Faurois that had been at the estate since 1973 has been a big influence too in the way a vineyard should be handcrafted to produce absolute best grapes expressing the terroir. Both are still working together with Christian directing the work in the vineyards and Jean-Nicolas heading the vinification and sales. Maceration endures for about 2-3 weeks and they use little sulphur. They use a significant high level of new oak from Maison François Frères, but amazingly it does not appear to result in overly oaked wines. For the grand crus are normally exposed to 100% new oak from the forests of Tronçais and/or Bertranges is used. De-stemming 100% renders really pure fruit, but obviously for pinot noir has the backside of removing well needed natural tannins in less structured vintages, so oak tannins is certainly needed.

Jean-Nicolas, informs us that the objective is to make wines with structure and purity, but never ever compromise natural balance.

2011 Vosne-Romanée – Barrel

This wine has a quite open and fresh nose driven by red fruit. As expected, this is an easily approachable and a bit seductive wine. This a little quiet, but good entry-level village wine.



2011 Chambolle-Musigny – Barrel

The Chambolle-Musigny almost was a bit reduced and not very approachable. Therefore it is quite hard for us to score. Wines from this region are careful but we expect this to open up more later on.


2011 Vosne-Romanée les Chaumes – Barrel

Now we take a step up to the premier crus and we are met with a quite ripe red fruit, dominated by strawberries. This is a true crowd pleaser and a wine, which most people would enjoy, though it lacks complexity to deserve a higher score.


2011 Nuits-Saint-Georges aux Murgers – Barrel

A quite rustic wine with high level of acidity. When we tried the wine it was a bit austere. We find strawberries, earthy minerals and some darker fruit. This wine needs some more time to develop and get more balanced.


2011 Clos Vougeot – Barrel

The vines used for this Clos Vougeot has been replanted a few times, but the oldest vines are from 1920. Especially, here old vines that have had the time to dig really deep is important to add complexity according to Jean-Nicolas. Méo-Camuzet’s owns an uniform parcel in the better upper part just below the church in the liet-dit Les Chioures, but they don’t mark this on the label.

This is a good quality Clos Vougeot with earthiness, iron, oranges, rowan berries, wild strawberries, cassis, mint and some spices like pepper, clove and cinnamon. The finish is very long and with good silky tannins. This is a complex and intriguing wine, which should develop well over time.


2011 Corton Clos Rognet – Barrel

The vines from this vineyard was planted in the 1920s.

Unfortunately, we found this wine very hard to evaluate since it was extremely closed. Currently it is quite austere and has a sharp acidic tone.

Will have to develop further before it can be scored fairly.

2011 Échezeaux – Barrel

The Échezeaux is a quite powerful and direct wine with lots of both red end dark fruit. It also has a well-needed acidity to balance the fruit and the acidity carries the wine through the finish, which is quite long. We are talking more about volume and generosity than about elegance, though the scent can be quite seductive.


2011 Vosne-Romanée au Cros Parantoux – Barrel

We perceived the Cros Parantoux as slightly reduced, but it was still possible to get an impression of the wine and the potential. Since the production is very limited, Jean-Nicolas says they some times produce half bottles of this wine to satisfy end-customers. He also says that the work up there is simply crazy and quite a challenge due to the elevation and stones.

There are and abundance of minerals in this wine but we also find quite discrete but fresh fruit, under vegetation and distinct spices. The acidity is a bit harsh, chalky now and it seems like the Cros Parantoux needs more time than the Richebourg to evolve. The finish also reveals some more spurring tannins, which is quite persistent with a more deep darker aromas.

The potential in this wine is fantastic and we hope to be able to try it again in the future to be able to follow its development.



2011 Les Richebourg – Barrel

Méo Camuzet’s vines planted in the 1950’s grow in the very top part of Richebourg, very close to Cros Parantoux, and when Frederik ask him about this fact, Jean-Nicolas directly points out that the high position and the chalky soil really adds to the high acidity and freshness of the wine. The use of both Tronçais and Bertranges is especially suited here according to Jean-Nicolas, since he believes that really mature grapes from this upper part of the site will only benefit from its tannins and polish.

This is already a balanced and complex wine and is the clear highlight of the visit. The nose opens up slowly in the glass and it reveals fresh strawberries, morning dew, orange peels, minerals and spices. On the palate, we find wild strawberries, blood orange, mint, anise, fennel, dark chocolate, cinnamon and ginger. This wine shows great depth without being over-powered, but rather light-weightly structured. There is also a silky tannic structure, which is very light but still provides enough direction and grip to steer the wine.

We did not agree 100% on the score, where Andreas was a pusher for 95 and Frederik was up at 96.


Overall impression


Jean-Nicolas and Andreas

We could be accused of generalizing too much, but we think the wines of Méo Camuzet and Hudelot-Noëllat show clear similarities. These are all fantastic producers with an amazingly high base level and they are quite rich, very well balanced and polished wines. The only thing we may lack in the wines from Méo Camuzet is some more personality.

Méo Camuzet has a spectacular list of vineyards, which makes the tasting very interesting for anyone interesting in comparing characteristics of different vineyards.