2004: Superb overall balance and grace, top wines certainly need time but the balance is such that enjoyment earlier is not hard. Long lived with a wide drinking window.
2006: Uber-classical, structured and masculine vintage that is brilliantly uncompromising at times, wines of quality here are worth waiting 15 years plus for and many wines will be 30-40 year wines.
2008: A little like the younger talented sister of 2006, a big mistake to overlook this vintage, still classical but with a wider drinking window and a lovely sweetness.
2010: Potentially a little like 2004 with 25% of 2006 added, so very exciting. It has been the most hyped of all the vintages and that can of course lead to disappointments.
I still firmly believe that in Piedmont, as in Burgundy, you find the producers you like and buy the wines every year. Anyway enough waffle…
This was dinner of wine merchants and brokers full of much loud comment and no lack of opinion, topics in and well outside of wine all got a good airing. This all cumulated in a game of “Cards against humanity” – a great laugh but possibly a game to play with those you know, or that know you rather than any strangers…
We kicked off with a rather splendid looking magnum of Soave Classico La Rocca 2011 from Pieropan that our organiser kindly brought along. I like these wines a lot, unpretentious, balanced and just so good. This was waxy, oily with some lovely lemon fruit and what feels like just a little sweetness, delicious. I never new the mags came in totally different bottles.
We were off an running on the food as well. One of the very few downsides of this dinner was that Sam (ZuccaSam) couldn’t make it…his team though did us well as ever. The menu was as below, I’ve put a pic or two at the bottom of the blog.
Baccala, Tomato and Olive
The format for the Barolos was to serve them in flights with the more traditional wines first (1 & 2) and the more modern to follow. Refreshingly there were no modern monsters on display, 2004 is probably in the phase when many of the more modern producers were starting to moderate the use of barriques etc…anyhow…
2004 Barolo Brunate (mag), Marcarini
The Marcarini Brunate, which I always buy, showed well. Good clarity, roses, some cherry fruit and then a good saline edge, slightly drier in a nice grippy way, this is focussed rather than fleshy, should age nicely but good from now. The Monprivato was a wine I was really looking forward to trying. A couple of people had had this recently and seemed a little disappointed with this particular bottle. It has a slightly caramel-like nose which I thought was odd. The palate was strange but not unpleasant – judgement deferred.
2004 Barolo Bricco Ambrogio, Scavino
I was not familiar with the Ambrogio, it had dark, quite rich fruit with a little soy, it was quite straightforward but very enjoyable. The Annunziata was both opulent, rich and also serious, good savoury notes and a wine that will need time.
2004 Barolo Lazzarito, Vietti
2004 Barolo Rocche, R. Voerzio
Conclusions: I think this was a very encouraging tasting, there was a lot of good fruit and most wines were well balanced and starting to struct their stuff, there was a certain consistency of quality of not necessarily an overriding vintage character (yet). When you consider that this was mostly good to very good second tier producers (no Bartolo, Rinaldi, Giacosa or Conterno) I think it is all the more encouraging.
A big thank you to Alastair for bring this together and to everyone for their bottles
There was one more wine – 2014 Terlaner Classico – which is a blend of 60% Pinot Blanc, 30% Chardonnay and 10% Sauvignon Blanc, it was almost spritzy and served as a good end of evening lift!