Wine Talk

Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz

Palladino is worth the search!

Posted by Gregory Dal Piaz, Dec 15, 2008.

Palladino is not a name familiar to most American buyers of the wines of Piedmont. But they should be. With a historic property that dates back to 1870, it may be surprising that Maurilio Palladino only began bottling his family’s wine in 1975. As is the case with many of the historic properties of the region, they produced wine sold in bulk for decades before bottling the wine themselves.

While this sense of experimentation began in 1975, it continues full force through today. The tidy cellars, just off the Piazza in Serralunga, offer fine evidence of this as one see’ the temperature controlled fermentation vessels lined up with botte and barrique of many origins, and even sizes.

The style here is one that seems very well managed, an intelligent style for a market anxious for wine. That may leave some with an impression that these are not wines to be taken seriously since they may lack the ability to evolve and age but tasting through the line-up here this is obviously not the case. These are wines that will develop and do show positive development in the glass. While my notes on the older Palladino wines seem to have been misplaced it becomes perfectly apparent that, while these wines age relatively quickly, the age very well indeed developing greater nuance and depth with each passing year.

The techniques used here really cover the entire spectrum of the range with plenty of barriques in evidence on one hand, yet with the use of natural yeasts, unless there is mold in the vineyards, on the other. Palladino is a great example of why wineries should be judged on the basis of the wines they produce rather than the techniques that they use.

We began our tasting this afternoon working our way through the cellar tasting from various barrels. Barrel tasting notes

2005 Barolo Serralunga from a used Botte -
Starts off with barrel stink then turns very gently autumnal with leafy notes and strong notes of dirt and medicinal roots. In the mouth this is full of sweet fruit with very fine tannins and good supporting acidity. There is excellent concentration with chewy, dense fruit accented with a touch of black spice tones. The acidity emerges a bit with air giving the backend a plum skin/apple skin edge that leads to an earthy, woodsy finale. A bit simple but complete 87-90pts

2005 Barolo Serralunga from a used botte redone in 2006 -
This offers up a much cleaner nose than the previous wine with intense, sharp medicinal roots and dark fruit tones. In the mouth there is a stark difference, this is softer with less cut and blacker fruit though the length is noticeably greater. The range of flavors is quite broad with green melon top notes, earthy, mineral tones and fine seared cherry fruit. The tannins appear to be more drying and this wine lacks the balance of the previous wine. I can see how blending them can produce a sum greater than its parts. 87-90pts

2005 Barolo San Bernardo 2005 - from new Portuguese barrique - will be Riserva
This has a base of dried flower and licorice tones with a leather edge but the cedar and spiced wood tones are obvious if not quite dominant. In the mouth there is good depth to the dark, cocoa tinged dark cherry fruit with some nuanced iron and soil tones emerging from the earthy fruit though this turns tougher with air as the wood tannins begin intruding a bit on the back end which is a bit tough and drying. 86-89pts

2005 Barolo San Bernardo 2005 - from new French barrique - will be Riserva
This offers up intense incense/candle wax tones over a core of dark and earthy fruit that is surprisingly intense. With a background of light toast notes Very elegant in the mouth with fine wild berry fruit in a bright, juicy register. The tannins here are very fine and in harmony with the fruit. There is good length here and the final offers an array of fine tea notes. 88-91pts

2005 Barolo San Bernardo 2005 - from new French 114 liter barrel - will be Riserva
Very spicy on the nose with a great aromatic array and while the wood spice is there the wine doesn’t smell particularly woody. Very bright and elegant in the mouth with wonderfully pure red fruit that are accented with spicy herb and mineral notes that recall fresh, bitter salad greens. Really an excellent mid-palate though the wood tannins begin to intrude on the finish and while the light toast notes emerge on the finish it really highlights the purity of the fruit in a curious way. 91-93pts

We then moved out of the cellar and adjourned to the formal tasting room. The remainder of the notes are from freshly opened bottles.

2005 Barbera d’Alba Superiore Bricco delle Olive

From 45-year-old vines, fermented for about 3 weeks in stainless steel then transferred to 500L Tonneaux for 12 months. The Tonneaux are refreshed once after 3 years, and then changed out.

This opens with rather strong balsamic wood/pine resin notes then segues into tones of baked clay tile, light cigar tobacco, and hints of cinnamon toned backing spice. This is made in an easy, round style and lacks some of the acidic bite I look for in Barbera. There are nice red fruits and the feeling is very pure and fresh with cleanly presented red cherry and lingonberry fruit tones that lead to a finish with a touch more assertive acids and some red plum skin tones. 87pts

2006 Nebbiolo d’Alba from vines in Roddi
Fermented in Stainless steel for 16-18 days before being transferred to botte.
This is really minty, so intense that it smells Icy though there are nice notes of raspberry, leather and calcium adding complexity. In the mouth this feels a touch relaxed even though the acidity keeps things bright and the rigid tannins are slightly obvious. The mid-palate offers up slightly jammy raspberry fruit with notes of dried earth, dried herbs and tobacco in particular adding complexity. The finish is nice and brisk as the tannins gain dominance and the fruit gains a fine juicy quality. Solid Nebbiolo 87pts.

2004 Barolo Serralunga
Fermented in Stainless steel before being transferred to botte, with a few second pass barrique for excess wine. This spends 3 years in barrel then 1 in bottle before being released.

The nose here is very expressive with excellent complexity and depth to the jammy nose full of melon rind and black raspberry fruit. There are touches of iron, oyster shells and smoke that float above the fruit. This has excellent balance but as is the house style, it’s a touch easy and relaxed with good structural balance between the soft acids and ever so angular tannins. There is a huge melon note on entry with good freshness to the black cherry fruit that saturates the palate and leads to a back end with subtle notes of mountain flowers and bitter licorice. This finishes a bit raw and young. Really illustrates the house’s relaxed style that really expresses the fruit of the grape over complexity or power. Very well done in this style drink 2012-2020 89pts

2004 Barolo Vigna Broglio - from a half-hectare vineyard just under the Castle of Serralunga, from 45-year-old vines, the 2005 was the last vintage before the vineyard was uprooted and replanted.
Fermented in Stainless steel for 18 days then transferred to barrique, 50% new 50% second passage, for 2 years.

This is not particularly giving with a feral quality to the dark wild berry fruit that is backed up by noticeable wood tones in the coffee bean register and typical hints of licorice and balsamic herbs. This enters the mouth with a soft and blocky feel though there is a sense of incipient sweetness that builds in the mouth. There are subtle dried hay and wild berry tones that turn gently medicinal on the back end but he wines feels light and transparent in the mouth. The grippy tannins emerge on the finish, which has low intensity but reveals a finale of pure, sweet fruit. 2011-2020 90pts

2001 Barolo Vigna Broglio

This still has just a hint of raw wood on the nose but it is amply backed up by a big, sweet, slightly stewy core of dark fruit with white soil and ash tones. There is a good, layered feel to this in the mouth with fine tannins and acids in balance with the dark, chewy, earthy core of fruit. While the fruit is big there is plenty going on in the background as well with a big spicy root, almost horseradish note, and black spice, medicinal, leather and bitter licorice notes offering support. This finishes with tooth grabbing tannins that clamp down on the finale a bit abruptly ending the slightly candied black cherry fruit that has a savory, tree bark almost truffly edge. 2012-2020 92pts

2001 Barolo San Bernardo Riserva
Fermented for 18 days in Stainless Steel then transferred for 2 years ageing in new barriques as well as an additional year in Botte.

Offering up a sweet pool of finely ripe fruit on the nose this is in a cooler register with a touch of herb and sundried tomato in a clear, precise style. Big and bright in the mouth with great acids supporting an elegant mouthfeel. This has finesse as it delivers its dark, ripe fruit with its bitter/sweet edge offering tension between the fruit and tomato tones and the mineral, tar and herb notes. A bit of vanillin shows itself on the finish but an aggressive black minerality quickly gains the upper hand and offers great length. Impressive stuff 2012-2020 91pts

2000 Barolo San Bernardo Riserva
Surprisingly cool and complex on the nose with a full array of classic scents that range from forest floor, tree bark, and damp tea bag to wildflowers, coal, orange rind roast herbs, and medicinal and backing spice tones. Super nose! In the mouth this is big and plush without a lot of excess weight, it is broad and mouth filling with very good balance. This pumps out layers of tea, chamomile, mint and herb notes over a still taut core of almost chewy, dark fruit. This opens further on the long finish, fanning out with a touch of coffee bean bitterness and a hint of dried porcini. More evolved than one would expect from a 2000 but with this sort of complexity one wonders why one need wait much longer. 2008-2018 92pts

1999 Barolo San Bernardo Riserva
This opens with a tight edge, a very cool and focused nose that has excellent intensity and purity if not overly complex. The nose opens to reveal penetrating mineral and herb notes with a tea like eucalyptus top note over a tarry core of fruit. Flesh and almost sweet on the attack the citrussy acidity quickly grabs hold and keeps this cool and compact with sinewy, very red fruits that recall wild strawberry and wild cherry. This is very fresh but lacks some complexity though nice tones of cardamom and green anise seed offer some contrast to the fruit on the very crisp, long finish. Still youthful and bright this is simply delicious. 2008- 1020 91pts


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