GDP on Wine

Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz

A vertical tasting with Alfio Cavallotto.

Posted by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 7, 2008.



While I ran late for the start of this tasting I did sit with Alfio for dinner just two days earlier when we had a chance to discuss the turbulent times Barolo went through in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Though it is hard to believe there just wasn’t much of a market for these wines until the fairly recent past. Jokingly I said that this has turned out to be a good thing for us today as there are still significant stocks of back vintage wines in cellars and restaurants around the world. I had bought much of the Cavallotto line-up when it was offered to the New York market two years ago and have enjoyed many bottles over these past years but I had to experience a vertical like this.

San Giuseppe Bricco Boschis Riserva Vertical

1971
Opening with a touch of espresso crema and spicy Speck notes this gains lovely intensity with an orange rind edge to the meaty, smoky notes and gains a bit of earthy pipe tobacco and oyster shell with time. A touch drying with austere tannins still in evidence this none-the-less fills the mouth with it’s evolved, dried fruit notes that gains sweetness while the wine opens in the glass. Really elegant and refined on the finish which shows a touch of heat but is long and offers a deep note of tarry, cocoa tinged earth that lingers. 94pts

1978
The light and elegant nose opens with an array of tobacco tinged nut meats and is a bit fresher than the 1971 though it lacks the intensity that wine offered. Ripe tannins frame a powerful, darkly fruited midpalate which picks up a bit too much nuttiness, seemingly revealing more oxidative notes than the nose would have indicated. Complex in the mouth though finishing a touch dry and shortish. I’ve had better bottles of this. 90pts

1985
The nose offers up jammy fruits but there is admirable freshness in the menthol, green olive, caper, and green tobacco tones that add interest. Big and powerfully fruity in the mouth this still has a fair amount of ripe tannin to resolve but the ripe fruit is in balance and the tannin accentuates the emerging, fine tea like notes on the back end. Finishes long and firm if a bit less broad than the older wines but still an excellent ’85 with years of positive development left. 93pts

1989
While this closed up in the glass it opened with intense candied violet tones and liquory, slightly jammy fruit. Notes of ripe herbs add depth. Almost seamless in the mouth with tons of ripe, round tannins and excellent acidity supporting a taut core of tarry fruit. Really poised and deep in the mouth yet very young with a long fine finish. This gives the impression of being broad shoulder and muscular with a tight waist. Watch out, this one might hurt you! Will improve. 94pts

1990
While this lacks a bit of freshness it is very complex with layered notes of earth, salame, and a slight roasting chestnut tone. In the mouth it is refreshing with it’s crisp tannins and solid acidity but lacks some flesh. The flavors are fairly savory and while the tannins are big the wine doesn’t show the balance need leading to a round, soft finish that lacks complexity. 89pts

1999
The reticent nose reveals some deep, dark notes of earth, dried flowers and fruit with an almost tropical top note of pomegranate. Very focused in the mouth with a cylindrical feel to the meaty, ripe fruit. Very precise with excellent cut and balance and a powerful, if closed feel. Will definitely improve and have a very long life 92pts

2000
This on the other hand is still open and reveals a bit of fudgy, lushly ripe fruits on the nose married to ripe herbs though it is a bit hot. Big and blowsy in the mouth this is fleshy yet lacks some definition at this point. Quite tannic on the back end turned hard and tight on the finish, this closes up in the glass. A bit harder to get a read on at this stage but lacks the balance of the 1999 90pts

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