Oct 5, 2010

2004 Fratelli Revello Barolo Vigna Gattera (from Annunziata di La Morra)

Fratelli Revello's 2004 barolos have proven as some of the most consistent wines for the vintage, this one not disappointing either. Tasted in October 2010, I bought the wine from Cantina Communale di La Morra, the municipal wine cellar in the village of La Morra managed by an association of wine producers selling local wines (www.cantinalamorra.com ). The beauty of the Langhe region are the local municipal tasting cellars where local producers sell and offer their wines for tasting - there is one in each of the most siginificant villages producing barolo wines, in La Morra, Serralunga d'Alba, Castiglione Falletto, and in the village of Barolo itself (as well as in Barbaresco). Only Monforte d'Alba lacks one, however you will find a very good restaurant / wine shop in the center of the village which you should visit.

The 2004 barolos are from an exceptionally good vintage, thus I anticipated a big however still youtful wine worthy of cellaring. And the wine delivered just that.

The wine has a a medium purple / garnet color i.e. still youngish appereance for a wine of 6 years of age, i.e. a color not characteristic of the nebbiolo grape's usually more brownish appearance. However it did have an orange hue - now this is more characteristic for the grape. The nose has beautiful notes of ripe, as well as already dried, black fruits, perfume, musk, plum and tobacco, however no coffee here.

Tannins are rather big however offering good structure and not drying the mouth at all. The palate is full-bodied with ripe black fruit and excellent acidity. The high alcohol burns a little and continues to power itself through the palate. Although the nose did not reveal any coffee, there are cappuccino notes in the long aftertaste which turns into chocolate in the end.

Fratelli Ravello's 2004 barolo certainly introduces to try more wines from the Annunziata area within La Morra! The wine was already very pleasant at 6 years of age, it is a classy and quality example of barolo which will develop nicely for several years as it includes high alcohol, tannin, acidity and fruit content. It would be very pleasant to try this wine in another 6-10 years, however it is already very drinkable. Another prime example from barolo's 2004 vintage. I would rate this one very high, at 93 points out of 100.

Oct 3, 2010

Oddero tasting @ Oddero Estate

Oddero belongs to Barolo's traditional producers and produce a large range of wines. I visited the estate in La Morra with tasting organised in excellent english, with really friendly people welcoming to visit the estate. Thus I would recommend a visit, the estate is located in Fraz. S. Maria 28 - 12064 La Morra (Cn).

As a reflection  from tasting their wines and especially their excellent Barolo Vigna Rionda 2000, I would recommend searching for vintages which are at least 10 years old for barolo. This is due to the fact that the traditional winemaking method puts a lot of tannins into the wine which need to soften and integrate into the wine with time. However it takes patience. For me Barolo Vigna Rionda 2000 was one of the highlights of the trip - year 2000 produced a very good vintage in Barolo and plenty of ripe fruit thus helping the traditional winemakers' balance the wines with the big tannins.

1) Dolcetto d'Alba 2009
From a really good vintage for Dolcetto, a wine of medium ruby colour with light fruit, the acidity is more emphasised here.

2) Langhe Nebbiolo 2007 - Already almost brown with an orange hue, Langhe Nebbiolos are meant for earlier consumption than barolos even though they are made from the same grape variety. Barolo wines command the best grapes and are matured longer in oak while Langhe Nebbiolos are usually made from nebbiolo grapes not grown in the Barolo DOCG area, are declassified barolo cru grapes or grown in vineyards lower in "value"). Perfume of dried red fruit with dark nuances and tobacco. Large tannins so signature of the nebbiolo grape, however lacks the structure of barolos.

3) Barbera d'Asti 2007 "Vinchio" - The sandstone soil of barbera vineyards located on the Asti side have more chalk than those on the Alba side. The wine was matured 12 months in Slavonian oak + 12 months in stainless steel. This single vineyard barbera is from vines 60 years old. It has interesting nose of underbrush, rasperry tea and some leather as well as oak. Nuances of cherry dominate the palate, however fruit missing still.

4) Barolo Classico 2006 (grapes from La Morra & Castiglione Falletto) - The Barolo Classico is intended for combining La Morra's elegance and perfume with Castiglione's more masculine structure. And the nose reveals beautiful perfume of roses so belonging to La Morra as well as dark fruit turning to rasperry so evident of Castiglione. Medium intensive colour of garnet with orange hue.
The fruit is semi-ripe in this one with the tannins overpowering due to young age and traditional winemaking where the wine sees 30 months of oak maturation. The fruit is slightly overtaken by other components, however should develop nicely with age. Aftertaste is long. Good potential here.

5) Barolo "Villero" 2005 (Castiglione Falletto)- A single vineyard barolo from grapes grown in Castiglione Falletto, the wine was first produced in 2004 thus it was only the secod vintage for this particular wine. The same grapes were used in other bottlings of barolo prior to Oddero deciding to craft a single vineyard wine.
A medium colour with an orange hue and fast legs. There is some banana in the nose (like I found in many of Fontanafredda's wines). I think the wine could have more structure to it given that grapes come from Castiglione Falletto, area known for its combination of both structure and finesse, and comparing to other local wines. The nose gives oriental tea and animal notes. Palate is medium to full bodied however not totally in balance as fruit is not ripe here and big, chevy tannins dominate the palate. Following traditionalists, the wine was matured in oak casks which are used for 30-40 years. The large tannins should soften with age, however this one nees a lot of time - maybe the fruit will not measure up even at mature phase.

6) Barolo 2005 Bussia Soprana "Vigna Mondoca" (Monforte d'Alba) - The Bussia vineyard in Monforte d'Alba is where widely know traditionalists such as Aldo Conterno, Prunotto, Fenocchio, and Colla grow some of their most important wines. Compared to the 2005 Villero, the colour of Bussia Soprana had more brownish look mixed with ruby, with an orange hue likewise. Again, the banana is in the nose, however mixed with nice dried fruit, raisins, oriental spices and flower aromas. The palate is again overpowered by tannins, and the 2005s are too young to be drank at this stage (only 5 years old in 2010). Again, the extraction is slighlty less than what some other producers are able to do, however I would anticipate that this develops better than the 2005 Villero.

Finally, I have to say that Oddero's 2000 Barolo Vigna Rionda was very good, and it really is a testimony to the aging potential, as well as need, for this producers' barolos.