Tag Archives: Asili

Two Roagna barbaresci from a warm vintage

We are great fans of Luca Roagna and his father’s wines and their focus on natural farming with flowers and multiple varieties of high grass growing between the vines that attracts pollinating insects. The Pajé vineyard that is just below their house in Paglieri and the nearby Asili are both offered in special bottling from older vines (vecchie vigne); 50 years or older.

2007 Pajé “vechie vigne”, Roagna

Colour is translucently dark red with blood orange nuances with transparently light-orange edges.

The nose emerges with distinct adhesive, burned firewood, tar, glycerin and beeswax. After several hours, there are no flowers but there is a subtle perfume and it is as always a very unique nose.

On the palate, now a little overly sweet dark cherry is dominant but also anise seeds, black tea, orange-peel and dry savoury notes. The acidity is fantastically balsamic, fresh and vivid wrapping passion fruit and dry honey. Texture is soft and tannins are now dense, chewy and approachable. It is medium bodied and and dense without any weight.

There is always this combo of balsamically fresh acidity and bold flavours, due to the 3-month very lengthy extraction, that make it such a unique experience to drink Roagna’s wines. The only downside here is the overly sweet fruit, but there is definitely no excessive alcohol and the label says 13.5% in a really warm vintage. Open in 2017.

93+p/100

2007 Asili “vechie vigne”, Roagna

Colour is translucently dark red with blood orange nuances with transparently light-orange edges.

The nose emerges with savoury notes, distinct oil paint, dried red flowers and smoke. After another four hours, thankfully, an interesting inner perfume arrives to the scene.

On the palate, there is an abundance of sweet fruit coated in fresh minerals, distinct savoury aromas, tar, anise seeds, orange peel and grime. As always the balsamic acidity is impressive and energetic wrapping dried honey. Body is mid weight and the wine is pleasantly mouth filling and quite forward, currently without finesse, in this warm vintage. Texture is soft, velvety and tannins are ripe but needs some more time to evolve into perfection. It is quite deep but it has not yet come together really, so needs a few more years of integration.

Acidity is great, has depth and as always it is full of bold flavours, but the wine is overly sweet and lacks the expected level of elegance from this site and older vines. However, no disturbing alcohol and tannins are perfectly ripe. Open in 2017.

92p/100

3 of the top Barbaresci from the fantastic 2008 vintage

We have selected some of the very top vineyards in Barbaresco and the line-up for this tasting includes the Rabaja, Montefico and the mythical Asili. All from the great cooperative in Barbaresco, the Produttori del Barbaresco with reasonable pricing.

Our readers may have noticed that we have already made a post about the Montefico here, but just for completeness, some of the same information is put in here too.

This cooperative is shared among 56 growers in Barbaresco and makes nine single crus as riservas in good years. If you look at the backside of your bottle, you can always read who the growers are. Vinification is traditional and employs a very hands-off approach to wine making. The juice undergoes maceration in steel for 28 days with 2-3 daily pump overs and are then aged in big, neutral barrels (botte) for three years and released after six months in bottle.

2008 is a classic vintage in Piedmont with a winter of three snowstorms followed by a rainy spring with April temperatures way below average, a warm May and a pretty cold and wet first half of June. The beginning of summer offered much warmer, but still quite wet weather that remained all through July. This was followed by average summer temperatures in August and September was very dry, but not critically dry. The harvest was easy and started on the first week of October and is in line with classic years such as 2004, 1999, except for in general offering a little more acidity.

We really think that this vintage is great in Barbaresco with in general very ripe tannins and great overall balance. The sugar level in the grapes are in general not as high as the previous vintage 2007 and the tannins are much more ripe and complex thanks to the slow ripening this year that is so important for nebbiolo. Our impression is that the vintage was more favourable here compared to in Barolo, where it is still often packed with dark, chalky minerals, very gnarly acidity and heavy tannins often at the expense of pure fruit. Naturally, Barbarescos are more approachable than Barolos, but even so when you compare legendary top-sites with their siblings in La Morra and Verduno in the north-west part of Barolo, you probably understand what we mean.

 

2008 Rabajà, Produttori di Barbaresco Riserva 

The vineyard has south-west exposure and lies next to the more famous Asili.

 

Sir Galahad:

The nose is floral and fresh, but now somewhat backward and shy. Make no mistake, the perfumes are there, but much less intense and forward compared to the other two in this tasting. It emerges with oil paint, some tar, fresh herbs and earthy vibrant notes at the base in here. It is a less enchanting and complex nose, but still a good one. The wine is a little more fleshier and more structured than the other two offering more body, but very surprisingly it appears a little diluted and the envelope now show a little volatile concentration. The palate is aromatic and it is rich in sweet, ripe fruit; dominated by cherries, but I don’t find it is equally pure and deep as in the other two. The acidity is very energetic and adds freshness, but unfortunately very dominating right now, giving the impression of a little unbalanced wine. However, I think it is of good quality but just needs much more time. The texture is a little more coarse than the the other two and tannins are not anywhere near the perfection as in the Montefico.

It is certainly has the structure that the Asili lacks, but it is now power at the expense of finesse and complex details. It is less enchanting, a little unbalanced and currently dominated by a promising, but currently edgy acidity, but maybe it is about to close down and that is why it feels a little backward at the moment. A wine now hard to both score and to predict its destiny, since it currently is not a charmer. My guess is to forget this wine until earliest 2018.

93p/100

Andreas:

Very generous and seductive nose with lots of bright red fruit, mainly raspberries, hints of tar, paint and roses.

In the mouth the wine is quite light and very fresh and has lots of quite sweet mouthwatering red fruit. The acidity is crisp and gives energy to the wine. It is dominated by raspberries but also some eucalyptus. Tannins are a bit harsh but also fruity. Should soften and integrate with time. The finish is not very long and dominated by the acidity.

After the Asili and the Montefico expectations on this wine was very high and unfortunately not met. This wine is fresh and seductive but lacks depth and complexity for a top score.

93p/100

2008 Montefico, Produttori di Barbaresco Riserva

South exposition.

Sir Galahad:

I refer to my tasting notes and introduction to Produttore del Barbaresco here.

94p/100

Andreas:

The nose offers darker berries, blueberries, eastern leaf, lots of tar, basil, eucalyptus, tobacco, liquorice, and paint. Much more power compared with he Rabaja and the Asili. There is a good balance between acidity, fruit and tannins but they need to integrate further before the wine reaches its peak. The fruit is deep and dark and there are earthy notes and some alcohol.

Very long finish with chewy and a bit dry and heavy tannins at the moment.

This wine has the ingredients for an amazing wine, but it needs time time to integrate and soften. I will definitely stock up with bottles and then forget them.

94-95p/100

 

2008 Asili, Produttori di Barbaresco Riserva

Sir Galahad:

The nose emerges incredibly slowly and first offers loads of fragrant red flowers, distinct menthol, ethereal notes, oil paint, ginger, cardamom, tiny notes of new leather and wet stone. Then after about three hours, we are rewarded with an intense, dense and seductive perfume and distinct raspberry candy. As always with this vineyard, we are offered beautiful and detailed fragrant flowers and its feminine inner perfumes and here it is unusually enchanting and complex.

The taste offers pure, ripe layers of red fruit, mainly cherries, but also wild strawberries, red current, sloe berries and raspberry candy. Just a little overripe fruit with some excessive sugars, but this a minor note. Alcohol is notable, but not disturbing. The palate goes on with anise, herbs and the base holds vibrating dark, chalky minerals and tiny notes of tar. The acidity is currently just a little whiny, but balsamic and in a few years it will be perfectly fresh wrapping grape juice, lime and pears. Texture is now fine sandy but still quite soft, even though the tannins currently still spurs the tongue a little and are just a little dry in the end. They are not as perfectly ripe and smooth as in the Montefico, but promising. I lack some structure, but at the same time it is very precise and persistent with a generous finish.

Even though not equally as perfect tannins as in the Montefico, this wine compensates with its young beauty, finesse and details. Here there are tar, smoke or earthy notes at the base that you find in the Montefico. This elegant, sophisticated and slender beauty is met in the lovely rose garden, dancing gracefully like a ballerina. I would say that there is a resemblance to Romanée-Saint-Vivant in place in terms of its body and focus in details to its precise finish. Please notice that this wine needs a minimum of three hours now and then serving temperature is best at 17 degrees Celsius. Open in 2017.

94-95p/100

Andreas:

Lots of floral notes, perfume, solvent, hints of rowan berries  grape, minerals, herbs, roses and some minerals. This is a quite careful but very complex and intriguing nose. After a few hours the red fruit and mainly raspberries takes a more dominant role. The acidity is direct and vibrant in this youthful wine. We also find lots of red fruit, minerals some herbs and after a while more strawberries enter the scene. The tannins are sandy and slightly dry in the finish.

This is a fantastic Asili, best described with the words elegance and finesse. The nose is amazing and a bit Burgundian.

95p/100

Summary

Amazingly, these very price-worthy Barbaresci riservas only costs about €40/$65. We are looking forward to tasting the upcoming 2010’s, even though it is certainly greater in Barolo and it may turn out that 2008 is better in Barbaresco than 2010 after all.

An impressive nose in a mature Barbaresco from Asili

Last time we tried the Asili from CA’ del Baio it was the 2007 and we were not very impressed, but we decided to give the wine a second chance in a more classic and now peeking vintage. We have previously tasted the CA’ del Baio Valgrande from 2001 and thought this was better.
The 2001 vintage in Barbaresco had one week earlier flowering, a mild summer that turned dry and hot in August, but grapes were saved by rains in September and a much cooler weather that rendered a slower growing-cycle that is favourable for nebbiolo and the result is equally very ripe fruit and tannins. A great classic vintage with excellent concentration, very expressive aromatics and structured, big wines with plenty of acidity that is well balanced too and one that should definitely be peeking now, but be around for another two decades or more.

2001 CA’ del Baio Asili

The first impressions are great, offering a dense and expressive nose with deep dark berries, dried rose petals, paint, exotic spices, tea, orange peels and earthy tones.

The palate is dominated by berries that unfortunately are slightly sourish. There is an abundance of blueberries, cherries, tea and some spices.
One day later the acidity had calmed down tremendously and the fruit at this stage, were more expressive and appeared more ripe. Clearly an improvement after plenty of airing, but still the fruit is a little sourish that we find a little unpleasant. The relatively soft and silky tannins provide a good backbone and structure to the wine. The texture is relatively soft and silky and tannins are quite ripe and all is well integrated.
This wine was a positive surprise and impressed us with its fantastically seductive and multifaceted nose. We lack some elegance and energy, but this is over-all a really good wine that should be decanted for several hours before consumption.
92p/100

Showdown: 2007 Asili – Roagna V.V vs CA’ del Baio

The Asili vineyard is the most well-known and probably the best in Barbaresco. It was the legendary Bruno Giacosa that first proved its potential back in 1967. Unfortunately, we did not get hold of any of his bottles for this wine tasting. The contenders this time are CA’ del Baio and Roagna. This fight may not be truly fair, since the Asili from Roagna is from grapes selected from very old vines, but that is life..

The vintage 2007 is a warm year with an unusually early blooming, a whole month earlier than usual, and it was saved by a late cooling period right before an early harvest. The wines are usually very forward, aromatic, a little fleshy, opulent, intense, but not heavy and still with fresh acidity. Even though being an early vintage, it needs plenty of airing. Especially the Roagna.

2007 CA’ del Baio Asili

Sir Galahad:

Colour: Dark ruby red and light-orange edges.
Nose: Leather, some rowan berries, medicinal cabin, distinct sweet licorice, some tar, delicate tiny fresh lilies, dry rose petals and fine tuned burned chalky minerals.
Taste: Sweet licorice, notes of coca cola, loads of very sweet but pure red fruit; sourish wild strawberries, red current. There is blood orange too and fine tuned but a little burned chalky minerals.

Incredibly full-bodied with loads of fruit. It lacks some concentration, structure and complexity, but it is very generous and texture is quite silky. It is long but the end suffers from some austere tone with some bleak metal that is unsatisfactory.

88-p/100

Andreas:

Nose: Lots of red fruit, tobacco, leather and some sweet tones. Quite fresh.
Taste: Again red fruit, raspberries and red current. Quite sharp but not unpleasant acidity.
Finish: The tannins are quite fine. Some slight bitterness appear at the end.
Summary: This wine is ok but not more. I did expect a lot more from an Asili.

88p/100

2007 Roagna Asili “vecchie viti”

Grapes were hand-picked quite late and de-stemmed. The grapes for this wine is from the oldest vines in this vineyard that are older than 50 years. As an ultra-traditional protector, Roagna is known for their extremely long maceration. In this case it is about 70-90 days. Fermentation takes place in wood. Ageing is done in 4-6 years in french- and Slovenian 20 hl barrels.

Sir Galahad:

Colour: Dark ruby red and light-orange edges.
Nose: This took for ever to wake up in the decanter. The mid palate offers medicinal cabin, tar, dark subtle fruit, worn leather, savoury notes, under vegetation and burned earthy limestone minerals. Right now it really lacks the expected delicate seductive, elegant feminine traits like red flowers and inner perfume, but after seven hours of airing, suddenly at least there is some dry rose petals but absolutely no stylish perfume in this currently very closed and reduced wine, but there is complexity and detail.
Taste: Big spoons of anise, sourish wild strawberries, distinct orange-peel, some pastry, fir-needle and earthy minerals. It is not really fresh now, but there is a balsamic acidity in there and it clearly offers depth and complexity. Concentration is great and impressive building structure. The end is a little short and is directed by an already quite silky texture. Tannins are hard now but chewy and of high quality so this just needs some more time.

It is hard to set a score for this wine and make a guess when this will be ready, but it feels very closed, introvert now and my guess is that we have to wait a few years more here for it to integrate, open up and be ready. I guess opening it in 2016-2030.

93-95p/100

Andreas:

Nose: Dense and deep dark berries, black current, strawberries, leather, solvent, a hint of oranges, earthy and some hints of stable and iron. 8 hours after opening the bottle some floral tones appear 🙂
Taste: Dark berries, mainly blueberries. Very good structure and the acidity is pleasant. The tannins are of course there but they are softer than expected.
Finish: Surprisingly pleasant tannins already. Medium length.
Summary: I really appreciate the density of this wine but I was hoping for more elegance from an Asili wine.

94-95p/100