Tasting Some Delicious Barolo

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.

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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!

Cheers,

Ben

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2015 Seguin-Manuel Bourgogne Hatues-Côtes de Beaune

It’s another one of those nights where I want to enjoy a nice glass of Pinot.. Actually that’s every night, but alas here we go.

This is the Seguin-Manuel Bourgogne Hatues-Côtes de Beaune. Not a wine that I would generally reach for from a wine rack but a pleasant wine nonetheless. It’s gotten to the point here in Newfoundland where the provincially controlled liquor corporation has basically stopped bringing in high-quality Pinot Noir despite the fact that there’s a demand for it. After many years of an upward turn in quality wines, particularly from Bordeaux, I’m seeing less and less quality on the shelves. This of course hits even harder when there’s a high demand for top quality Burgundy globally so less to go around. All things being equal I reached for this wine. I could have gotten similar quality from California, Oregon, Chile and Canada but sometimes the heart and palate want what they want. 1734652709832961869_IMG_9159

I narrowed in on this bottle because it was from the 2015 vintage. A vintage that I knew to be of high quality and just old enough for this wine to mellow out. The ripe and concentrated fruits from this vintage are apparent here, which I’m very happy about. I’ve had far to many watery off-vintage Bourgogne and I wanted to avoid this if at all possible.

Red sour cherries, wild strawberries, blueberries, liquorice, mint and a touch of violet coming through. Similar palate with sour cherry character prominent on the palate, mineral character coming through and definite liquorice and baking spice notes. Slightly grippy tannins along with an above average finish for the style and amply acidity.

I think this a very nice wine that definitely met my expectations. I didn’t come in expecting the stars but it was definitely moving towards the higher end of quality for Bourgogne class wines and I’m good with that. It will hold me over for our Barolo tasting tomorrow night, which is something I’m sure stoked about.

Cheers,
Ben

2005 Mount Mary Vineyard Yarra Valley Chardonnay

I wasn’t going to blog about wine on a Friday night, I was just going to sit back and enjoy a glass of this Aussie Chardonnay. I had a sense the wine might be good but I was also a little worried about if it had past its peak. 1444094683390400014_IMG_8984

Upon pouring using Coravin I could tell that this wine was moving towards a golden hue. A definite sign of some age and potential oxidation. What I encountered when I stuck my nose in the glass was something I didn’t expect. The wine was rich, bold, ripe and smelling beautifully. If I was drinking this wine blind there’s no way that I wouldn’t have guessed Meursault or Montrachet. Not even village level either, this was tasting like some seriously good Premier Cru aged Burgundy. The nose was bold but definitely more restrained than the palate with white peach, lemon curd, golden apple, almond and honeysuckle. The palate had this but was also showing nectarine, bread and flinty notes. The acidity is just a touch above medium, medium alcohol, medium body and medium + finish. Loving the mouthfeel of this wine and pretty much everything else about it. Really Delicious!

I’ve had plenty of good wine from the Yarra Valley but we don’t generally get any of their exceptional wines here. I suspect that not that much of the stuff makes it out of the country. I was glad to see this one on last chance to buy with only one bottle left. It wasn’t inexpensive but I can tell you that it compared to lots of $100 plus White Burgundy that I’ve drank. Do yourself a favour and try the wines of the Yarra Valley if you haven’t already. The region is known for their cool-climate so as you might suspect their Pinot Noir is also on point.

What a great way to start the weekend!

Cheers,
Ben

2016 Maison Denuziere Les Galets Crozes-Hermitage

It has been some time since I’ve written a post. It has been a busy time, which included taking a family vacation to Florida, working lots, being sick and just a lack of desire to write about wine.
That being said I’m starting to feel in the mood to share the wines I’m drinking again and I couldn’t think of a better way to start than with this great value from the Northern Rhone. IMG_3632
The 2016 Maison Denuziere Les Galets Crozes-Hermitage is 100% Syrah from the vast region that is Crozes-Hermitage. Not that it’s that massive in the grand scheme of things but it does cover quite a large area and in a good year produce roughly the same amount of wine as the 7 other Northern Rhone regions combined. The name Les Galets on the wine would seem to elude to Galets roulés, which is a specific kind of stone found in the vineyards of Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, another major wine growing area just south in the Southern Rhone valley. Maybe the same kind of stones can be found there but this is where the similarities between the two regions stop. 
The wine is aged partially in oak and partially in vats with the vintage impacting what percentage of which. This helps the wine maintain a nice freshness despite the fact the wine feels rounded and full-bodied on the palate.
Opened and left to sit in the glass for about 45 minutes just because it was seeming a little tight and closed off. Dark and red fruit aromas, namely blackberry, dark plum and raspberry. The wine is counterbalanced by distinct savoury aromas of white peppercorns, grilled and smoked meat, garrigue and liquorice. Rounded tannins, medium acidity and a pleasant and nice finish, although not an exceptionally long finish. This is fairly typical of a Crozes-Hermitage wine, although generally one that is at a bit of a higher price point.
This is a solid everyday wine sitting in that $25 and under price point. If you’re looking for affordable high-quality Northern Rhone wines Crozes-Hermitage is a great place to look. If I had my choice I’d be drinking a lot more Cote-Rotie but that’s not always possible so that’s why I keep wines like this one around for my everyday drinking needs. Nothing suits a steak better than a juicy, peppery and herbaceous full-bodied red and that’s exactly what I drank this wine with. A solid pairing if I do say so myself.
Cheers,
Ben