GDP on Wine

Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz

Lunch with Enzo Brezza

Posted by Gregory Dal Piaz, Sep 24, 2008.

It was great to meet Enzo Brezza among the clutter of his busy, slightly cramped, almost outdated yet wonderfully working wine cellar where wines continue to age slowly in botte. The newer part of the cellar is on 2 levels with temperature controlled stainless fermentation vessels and an area for malolactic in concrete occupying the first floor while bottle ageing takes place one flight down.

Adjacent to the ageing cellar is the commercial end of the operation and while tasting Enzo was busy dealing with retail customers, large shipments and the daily goings on of the Hotel Barolo and Brezza restaurant above us, in the Brezza family for three generations.

Incidentally at the end of our tasting it was well into the lunch hour and though the restaurant was closed Enzo and his wife invited us to join them for lunch. Sitting on the patio of the restaurant over-looking the village of Barolo we were treated to a classic Piemontese meal. Starting with the finest carne cruda and vitello tonnato then onto excellent plin and tajarin it was one of the finest meals of the trip. I highly recommend a stop for lunch or dinner and the Hotel looks to be an excellent choice for a stay in the area with it’s central location and in-ground pool I can’t think of a better home base for a visit to the region!

But of course we were here for the wine and were able to taste the entire line-up from bottle. Interestingly Enzo presented the Sarmassa from 2003 and 2004 to us blind asking for us to tell him which was which. While I tasted the ’03 first it was not until I tasted the ’04 that I knew for sure which was which.

All the Barolo get years in botti averaging 15 years of age. New botti are treated to a saltwater soak for a month and then are seasoned for 3 or 4 years with Barbera before being used for Nebbiolo. The style here is a balanced one featuring the fresh, fruity qualities of each grape. Though traditionally made these wines offer much early appeal and cellar very well over the mid-term.

2007 Dolcetto Fossati - 88pts
Bottled 10 days earlier
Very high-toned nose with slightly fleshy bitter cherry and a touch of cigarette ash 2
Lithe and elegant in the mouth with sweet fruit and a good tannic bite 2+
Refreshing in the mouth, almost a vinello style with great pure fruit and a bit of arugula floating above 2+
The finishes continues the arugula note over bitter cherry with admirable length 2+

2007 Dolcetto San Lorenzo - 88pts
From the back of the Cannubi hill facing west
More restrained on the nose with a gentle green tobacco tone to the dark fruit 2
Big and lush with soft tannins and a dense feel2
Darker flavors in the mouth with a decidedly woodsy/earth tone to the wild cherry fruit and a touch of sweet tea in the background 2
Finishes with lovely tannins and lots of dark cherry fruit and cherry pit tones ending with emerging tannins 3

2007 Barbera Santa Rosalia - 88pts
From a vineyard between Alba and Diano that is also used for Nebbiolo
Reticent nose of earth, green flowers, and undertone of raspberry jam, turns very floral 2+
Good sweet entry is followed by bright acidity and featherweight tannins. 2+
Very fruity in the mouth with plum and red berry tones, fresh delicious and uncomplicated2+
Finishes a bit short with a gentle cherry fruitiness pulled along by the fruity acidity 2

2006 Barbera Cannubi Muscatel - 87pts
1 year in new botti
Smoke, ash and a woody background note compete with violet and darkly earthy notes on the nose 2+
Weighty in the mouth with soft acidity and a touch of tannin 2+
Plummy flavors have a hard candy edge tot hem with just a touch of drying tannin on the mid-palate 2
Finishes a bit short but refreshing with a touch of mineral bit on the back end and a smoky finale 2

2006 Nebbiolo d’Alba Santa Rosalia - 91pts
9-12 months in botti
Really fresh aromatics are redolent of cherry, herb, and sandy soil with a touch of bitter citrus rind. Develops engaging notes of rust, rosewater and an edge of cedar. 3
Soft and fruity in the mouth with lots of soft tannin, solid acidity and a gentle sweetness 2+
Up front there is a rush of lovely strawberry fruit with a sandy soil background and underlay’s of sweet licorice and green herb 2+
A bit grippy on the finish, which is long and pure with a young, leafy edge and fruit blossom notes, and lingering licorice tones Lovely austerity. 3

2005 Freisa Santa Rosalia

From cork finished bottle - 87pts

The nose offers up tons of dried floral notes with very minerally and earthy notes as well as a bit of balsamic treebark and pink peppercorn tones 2+
Fairly tannic for it’s weight and a touch drying 2
Spicy in the mouth with a distinct mineral bite to the sweet/sour huckleberry/plum fruit 2+
Finishes with a touch of rustic, aggressive tannins but has good spicy notes and even a bit of blueberry on the finale 2

From a vino-lok finished bottle - 89pts

Fresh on the nose with intense floral, almost perfumed soap tones and more intense and clear spice notes of menthol, sassafras and drying hay 2+
Still fairly tannic but a bit fleshier 2
Freshly fruity in the mouth with much better definition to the violet, dark plum, and spicy/mineral iron flavors 3
Finishes with brighter fruit and clean notes of spearmint and dark plum 2+

2003 Barolo Sarmassa - 88pts
Just opened
Cool and low key at first with notes of limestone and leather being joined by increasing florality and an underlying sweetness of fruit that is a bit animal 2+
Slightly aggressive tannins on entry with a lot of power in the mouth though a touch hot and drying 2+
Darkly fruited with strawberry confiture tones and an edge of bitterness that recalls espresso and licorice, slightly medicinal 2+
Soft and easy on the finish with medium length and a bit of pasticcerria going on 2+

2004 Barolo Sarmassa - 91pts
Just opened
Grassy and earth on the nose, reticent with a slatey sort of smokiness and gentle tones of smoldering hay and a menthol top note 2+
Smooth in the mouth with excellent integration, a balanced, seamless feel 3
Fresh fruit tones with good cut added by fresh herbal notes. An array of sweet notes from licorice, to violet, a touch of red apple2+
Very gentle tannins on the ethereal finish with its appealing soil tones and flourishes of menthol and tobacco 3

2003 Barolo Bricco Sarmassa - 88pts
Herbal and savory at first with notes of sassafras and cola over fresh meaty/spicy tones with an anise like freshness then develops a definite confiture of dark fruit aspect with bitter earth in the background 2+
Fresh in the mouth yet a bit soft and the tannins are a touch drying 2
On entry there are dark coffee bean tones followed by dark, almost roasted fruit with dried herb and soil nuances adding complexity 2+
Finishes with fresh mineral accents to the dark, drying fruit notes and a finale of almost molasses/baking spice 2+

2004 Barolo Bricco Sarmassa - 93pts
A big, fruity nose starts out with classic cherry in alcohol notes then a bit of prune plum, freshly cut herbs, salty mineral notes some prosciutto hints and layers of floral and forest floor tones. Great nose 3+
Big and full in the mouth with big, round tannins and very well integrated acidity 3
Slightly bitter on entry then a blast of dark cherry almost confiture of strawberry fruit with an edge of melon rind. Fairly spicy with a touch of espresso crema. 2+
Really muscular finish with a broad and deep quality to the red berried fruit and a lovely bitter cherry pit tone to the finale 3

2003 Barolo Cannubi - 88pts
Bottle opened for 2 days
The nose here is very intense with a layer floral quality very strong on violets then sweet, chinato like tones that recall cola and root beer. 2+
Very fresh in the mouth with ripe tannins and good acidity 2+
Lovely mineral and licorice tinged midpalate has nice strawberry fruit tones and a menthol top note 2+
Finishes long with more menthol tones and shows a touch of heat 2

2004 Barolo Cannubi - 91pts
Bottle open for 1 day
Very clean and pure on the nose with pure rose, slightly foxy red berry fruit and licorice then refreshing mineral/sand/limestone notes. Like walking through sandy soil in a garden after a rain. 3
Elegant in the mouth with a round feel that integrates fine acidity and very ripe tannins 3
The flavors of dark cherry are just a bit fudgy/stewy but with good, refreshing herbal top notes 2+
Finishes with lovely transparency and good grip 2+


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