It was great to see so many of you turn out for the great tasting we had this past Saturday! Our friends at Chambers St. Wines really know how to put on a tasting and we all pulled out all the stops pouring an amazing line-up of wines from the great Nebbiolo grape.
We began with a fine 2004 Ferrando Carema from the northern reaches of Piedmont. Ferrando is the star of the zone and while this white label bottling is his entry-level wine I prefer it to the more expensive, as well as more heavily oaked and extracted black label. This had lovely floral tones, crisp red fruits and elegant structure. A great way to ease into Nebbiolo.
From there we went on to a mini vertical of 2004 Barolo. We sampled the base level bottlings from three producers in this wonderfully elegant vintage. Brovia's wine, from Castiglione Falletto, was restrained with great balance, very typical of the village and the producer, it has calmed down since I last tasted it in the cellars in May but looks to be evolving into a classic bottling. Massolino's was more powerful and extracted marrying Serralunga's darker, more masculine fruit with a more modern winemaking bent. Finally Oddero's wine was a wonderful blend of the lush fruit of La Morra with the elegance and structure of Castiglione. It looks like I under-rated this wine when I tasted it in the cellars last summer. The rest of their line-up was so compelling that I feel I gave this short shrift. It is a brilliant bottle of wine and was the value of the tasting!
We then stepped it up a notch with two wines from the problematic 2003 vintage. While the vintage may have had it's problems these two wines, from two of the most talented producers in Serralunga, if not Piedmont, were exceptional. Both beg for time in the cellar. Cappellano's Rupestris bottling had an intense nose of raspberry liquor that was captivating and was rich, if tannic, in the mouth. Conterno's Cascina Francia is one of my absolute favorite wines and this was one of the top 2003's that I've tried. Rich and complex with admirable freshness, it's a wine I am willing to wait on.
We ended the tasting with three aged beauties. The 1982 Brovia Rocche from magnum was very slow to evolve, fantastically mushroom and truffle filled on the nose,,it took 7 hours for the fruit to really gather steam and this magnum looked to be capable of improvement for 7 hours more. It's a wine just coming into it's own. I can't wait to try it again, but I will wait 5 years, just to be safe.
The next wine was the wine closest to its peak. Coming from the arch-traditional producer Francesco Rinaldi, this 1970 Barolo still had hard acidity but the tannins had fairly melted away leaving behind a lovely core of sweet fruit. It faded somewhat over the course of the tasting but was a beautiful expression of Nebbiolo.
The final wine was the 1967 Oddero Barolo. This illustrated the evolution of Barolo so well as we moved from the fruity but evolved Rinaldi to this wine, full of tertiary notes and looking a bit like cognac with only a hint of rosy red remaining. It was none-the-less an engaging example of old Barolo and a good learning experience for those who had never had the opportunity to try wines at this stage of their development.
All in all it was a great event and I want to thank the folks at Chambers St for having us, and for inviting us back! I hope to see you all soon, maybe back on Chambers St.
Gregory Dal Piaz is the Community Manager at Snooth, an avid Wine Geek with a passion for things Italian, and a long suffering Mets fan.