Finally I opened a Bricco Rocche Prapo 2000 which I had purchased a couple of years ago to accompany some really nice 350gr entrecote steaks on a Saturday night at home.
The "Prapo" vineyard is located on the southern slopes of Serralunga d'Alba area in Barolo where Ceretto has planted 2.4 hectares since 1972, thus promising a more masculine version of barolo wines. And the promise was delivered in a package with some nicely developed fruit. The wine's large tannins craved for red meat. After decanting for nearly 2 hours, the sweet fruit of plum, cherry and fig notes was beautifully accompanied by notes of coffee, chocolate and vanillin, the latter obviously from extensive oak aging.
And oak aging is the tale of this wine - the wine was matured for as long as 30 months in 300 litre barrels. Ceretto's winemaking style seems to put a lot of maturation elements into the wine (alchohol, tannins, acidity), thus placing a requirement for ripe fruit to level with the maturation elements. Fortunately, this wine's fruit was ripe and survived the requirements. Tannins were somewhat high initially and were not fully integrated at this stage of maturation, thus dried mouth straight after opening. However they improved with long decanting.