I recently had the chance to taste a variety of Barolo, with a particular focus on the 2007 vintage. Lots of great wines and food come from this famed area in Piedmont, Italy with Barolo often described as the wine of kings and the king of wines. While there’s various other regions that would dispute this title, there’s no doubt that these wines made from the notoriously difficult to grow Nebbiolo grape are some of the most compelling wines made anywhere. We tasted wines from 7 of the regions prominent producers but there’s so many others that I’ve still yet to try. It was hard to choose top wines but the clear favorite was definitely the 2007 Andrea Oberto Vignetto Albarella Barolo. The 2013 Bersano was perhaps the biggest surprise for me as I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite my initial concern that it might be a bit too young to drink. Check out my notes on all of the wines below to see how each of the wines were tasting.
2011 Borgogno Barolo – This was a nice Barolo to drink now, it can age longer but after some short decanting was ready to drink. Primarily dark plum, blueberry and raspberry with some tar, violets, thyme and cedar. What you expect from a Barolo of this age in an alright earlier drinking year. Definitely worth drinking but I wouldn’t run out and buy a whole case of the stuff.
2007 Brovia Ca’ Mia Barolo – This could have been just a bad bottle but this wine was certainly nothing special. At 12 years of age I would expect some tertiary notes but this wine smelled and tasted of candied dark and red fruits with some indistinct herbal and oak notes. I had the highest hopes for this wine but I was left disappointed, particularly by the lack of structure and short finish.
2007 Andrea Oberto Vignetto Albarella Barolo – Hands down the wine of the night. Elegant but structured. With dark but also red fruits. With lots of secondary dried herb, violet, tar, cedar, vanilla and licorice but still plenty of fruit to carry it all. Great mouthfeel, great long finish and expectedly grippy tannins that could integrate a lit further but are by no means offensive to the taste of this truly delicious wine.
2013 Bersano Nirvasco Barolo – This was the youngest of the Barolo wines but it’s made in a distinctly modern style. It’s light-bodied, has grippy tannins and has both crunchy and ripe sour red fruits, fresh herbs, black tea, roses and baking spice. I really enjoyed this one a lot. It had a reasonably long finish and a definite delicious factor but I don’t think this one will last long term. Buy some of this and drink it over the next 7-8 years.
2007 Bricco Sarmassa Brezza Barolo – This was pretty similar to the Borgogno, definitely dark fruit dominant with some riper fruits but more distinct floral and tar notes coming through. Holds a really good balance with integrated tannins that balance with the elevated acidity so common in Barolo.
2007 Cordero Di Montezemolo – This was the first wine of the night and this was probably not the best spot for it. The wine was closed down but with definite potential, length and power. This seemed to made in a more traditional style and I would be inclined to revisit the wine again in 5-7 years or to give it at least several hours in a good decanter. Tasted it again towards the end of the evening, the nose was starting to become floral with licorice, tar, barnyard and cedar. The quality is definitely there and I really liked it on the second taste.
2015 Fontanabianca Barbaresco – This one started with red fruits, grippy tannins, some oak influence and basically no developing qualities. I didn’t think it was terrible but it lacked structure, was a little out of balance and the length or lack thereof was painfully apparent. I could see it as a good everyday weekday wine if it wasn’t about twice the price of what I’d expect to pay for a Tuesday night sipper.
All in all this was a great tasting. Lots of really delicious Barolo and a good opportunity to compare different styles of Barolos. While it wasn’t intended we definitely got a good sense of the 2007 Barolo vintage and had the chance to compare producers from the perspective of modern versus traditional and also to a lesser extent Barolo versus Barbaresco. A successful evening to say the least!
Do you have a favorite Barolo? Let me know in the comments!