Wine Talk

Snooth User: Nicolai Soegaard

Greg - 2004 Barolo?

Posted by Nicolai Soegaard, Oct 29, 2008.

Greg, you have reviewed quite a few 2004 Barolos. Which wines/producers have been the biggest positive surprises? And which have been the biggest negative surprises? And finally which is the best 2004 Barolo in your opinion?




Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 29, 2008.

Oh loaded question.

The biggest positive surprise - Aldo Conterno but in another way also
Monchiero Roere and Rocche as well as Mauro Veglio Rocche Dell’Annunziata

The smaller positive surprises -
Guido Porro
Franco Conterno
Cascina Ballarin

Sarmassa in general, a great vineyard, and perhaps along with annunziata in la Morra the most fortunate in 04

The biggest negative surprise - no one varied too far from my expectations

The best is so hard to guess, the following were all exceptional

Aldo Conterno Colonello then Romirasco
G. Rinaldi Cunnubi then Brunate
G Conterno Cascina Francia
Vietti Rocche then Brunate
Mascarello Monprivato
Scarzello Merenda
Marcarini La Serra then Brunate
Bartolo Mascarello

and I am sure I am missing some.

One certainly not to miss, at least as it showed from Botte.

Cappellano Rupestris

Reply by Nicolai Soegaard, Oct 30, 2008.

Thanks a lot for your excellent response. I will see what I can find next week in Piemonte. So far I have set up appointments with Silvia Altare, Roberto Conterno and Mauro Mascarello. I also hope to visit the winery of Bartolo Mascarello and Giuseppe Rinaldi. And I'm sure there will be others as well. I will report back.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 30, 2008.

I'm jealous!

Say hello to Mauro for me please.

I look forward to reading your views!



Reply by Nicolai Soegaard, Oct 30, 2008.

I will say hello to Mauro from you. Will see him Wednesday afternoon.


Reply by MartinPetersen, Oct 31, 2008.

Nicolai, even though I just returned from Piemonte I can't help begin envious of you. I hope you'll have a ball and look forward to your report and meeting you again not to long from now.

Greg, thanks for your response to Nicolais question. I have tasted quite a few barolo from 2004 that I've found to be excellent but none! of the ones you mention although quite a few of them now is in my cellar. Makes me look even more forward to tasting these over the next few months. One question left: Have you tasted the Altare Brunate 2004?

Enjoy your weekend.

Best regards


Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 31, 2008.

Hi Martin,

It's so touch not to be jealous. I have not tried the Brunate from Altare in 04. I am interested in trying sometime soon.

It was very interesting to see that our results from tasting 1998 were similar. It will be interesting to see the next retrospective tasting results as I know 2 groups are planning similar tastings.

So we should plan to meet in piemonte next year! We could rent our Casa Roagna in Castiglione or some similar agritur with a kitchen and have a hell of a time together!

Reply by MartinPetersen, Nov 2, 2008.


Just spoke to Nicolai a couple of hours ago. He had just come back to his Corte di Gondina in La Morra after a small trip to Alba. Both of us think it could be a great idea to plan to meet in Piemonte sometime next year. We'll try to coordinate our schudels and then send you some possible dates.


Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Nov 3, 2008.

Sounds like a great Idea. I look forward to seeing what we can do!

Reply by Nicolai Soegaard, Nov 4, 2008.

I'm really enjoying life here in Piemonte, although the weather is terrible. Yesterday I visited Mario Marengo and Scarzello and today I'm visiting Bartolo Mascarello (Maria Teresa) and Elio Altare. I also have visits at Giuseppe Rinaldi and Mauro Mascarello coming up. Yesterday I had dinner at Osteria Veglio in Annunziata. The food was very good and I had an excellent bottle of Elio Altare's Barolo "normale" 2004. It was a fantasticly seductive wine - pure elegance but still with very good structure. It was an excellent choice of wine, not only because of the quality of the wine, but also because of the fact that Elio Altare walked into the restaurant an hour after I had arrived. He was with Enrico Scavino and some Americans that included Napa winemaker Garen Staglin. The Americans had won some sort of charity auction so they were touring Piemonte and were having dinners with various producers. Being very fond of the 2004 Barolo from Altare, I asked the waiter to tell Elio thank you from me. She did so, and Elio got up and walked to my table. His answer to my praise of his wine was just " yes we all try to do our best around here". I think that is just so typical of this humble character.

Well I think yesterday was my lucky day, because after I had finished my dinner, Elio sent over two glasses of wine to me. It was his own Barolo Arborina 1999 and Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra 1999 - both from magnums. Both were powerhouses and especially the CMG was a extremely tannic. But fantastic wines both of them. It was very interesting to have them side by side. You could really smell and taste the difference in terroir and also the difference in winemaking. Two excellent expressions of nebbiolo - yet very different. Altare with the elegance and Clerico with much more power. Half an hour later, Enrico Scavino sent over a glass of his Rocche del Annunziata 1998. It was completely different from the 1999s. Much more approachable and with rounder and sweeter tannins. Talk about being at the right place at the right time :-) I wish I knew how to thank these two brilliant winemakers. It was so generous of them. I can't wait to my visit with Altare later this afternoon.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Nov 4, 2008.

Nicolai, you are having a killer time!

Piemonte is like that though, it's so small there are always lots of right times/right places.

Can't wait for my next visit!

Reply by Daniel Petroski, Nov 5, 2008.

Very jealous as well, but I implore you to resist the temptation to be drinking 2004 Barolo's. These babies need some serious time to reach the epitome of wine perfection!

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Nov 5, 2008.

You got that right Dan,

We're only tasting now. I'm just starting to delve into my 89's, though any real delving will wait for next years 20 year retrospective tasting. For current drinking I'm cleaning out some of the 60's vintages and really enjoying the 70's and 74's, though the 78's have finally come into their own and are outrageous. The 85's are at peak and even the 98's offer solid drinking now. So much good Barolo, so little cellar space, not!

In all honesty I am not as enthusiastic about 2004 as many others are. the wines are very elegant with soft tannins and a bit of dilution due to the high yields. While I can't tell from the barrel samples I tried this year I think the 2005 may be more to my liking. The 2004's are very reminiscent of the 1985's. Both the gentle style of the wines and the producers fawning over how perfec the fruit was and how easy a growing season it was.

I'm not convinced that 2004 is going to be a particularly long lived vintage though the wines at the top are fabulous. For my Money 1999 is the vintage to back up the truck for and lay down in a dark little corner somewhere. Like many great vintages it was not eaasy to appreciate on release and was under-rated, sometimes wildly, while more obvious vintages, such as 98 and 2000, got all the love.

Time will tell but, like you, I'll be keeping my hands off for about a decade. Next year when I revisit Piemonte I'm sure I'll be able to try many again with the producers. That's the best way to try em young, on someone else's dime!

Reply by Nicolai Soegaard, Nov 5, 2008.


You say that 1985 is at peak now. I have not had many bottles of 85, so I can't comment if you are right or wrong. But this Sunday, Stefan Toepler and I had a bottle of Crichet Paje 1985 at Ristorante il Falstaff in Verduno. It made me think of the fantastic bottle of 1988 Crichet Paje we shared in April. This bottle of 85 , however, was not nearly as advanced as the 88. I will actually say that it was not even close to peak. It was extremely young. So I guess there are still some 85s with a long life ahead of them.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Nov 5, 2008.

Ah, Roagna makes excellent wines that really take well to cellaring in almost any vintage. They are super endowed with extract from their long macerations but are so balanced coming from those vineyards that live in harmony!

I've never had dinner with Stefan, I look forward to a coordinated attack with us all sitting in il Flastaff!

And the next time you visit NY we can drink some 85's maybe. Or whatever else may interest you.

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