Posts tagged ‘bruno giacosa’

Reevaluating 2005 Barolos

Sergio Germano (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

“In my opinion, the 2005 Barolos are the best balanced of the last decade.” - Sergio Germano, winemaker, Ettore Germano estate, Serralunga d’Alba

Each year, I am invited to taste the new vintage of Barolo at a series of special press tastings in the city of Alba, only a few miles from the vineyards of these famous wines. Last May, I tasted over 100 examples of Barolo from the 2005 vintage and while I liked the wines overall, I was not that excited. I gave the vintage a rating of three stars – very good – and thought that while some of the wines were nicely concentrated, others lacked fruit. In other words, a mixed bag.

A few months later, I saw the promising notices in a few of Italy’s top wine guides such as Gambero Rosso and Duemilavini (the guide of the Association of Italian Sommeliers) regarding these wines. Each guide had given their highest rating to more than two dozen 2005 Barolos. My immediate reaction was that the staff of these guides had been too generous.

But after retasting some of the wines last Friday at the Tre Bicchieri tasting in Chicago, I have to admit that these publications were quite accurate. Any Barolo will improve after additional time in the bottle and now almost ten months after I first tasted the wines, they are rounding out nicely. The wines are now showing more expressive aromatics as well as more pronounced fruit on the palate and are indeed beauitfully balanced wines. 

I think what happened was that 2005 followed a great vintage in 2004. That vintage combined remarkable aromatics and fruit that were evident immediately upon release. Combine excellent concentration along with ideal acidity and you had a recipe for greatness. 

Wines like this don’t come along too often (otherwise the word “great” to describe a vintage would be relatively meaningless) and sure enough 2005 was  a year that gave us wines that were not as immediately impressive as those from 2004. Call these wines shy, if you will, but they did not show as well upon release as did the 2004s.

Now I am reevaluating my thoughts on the 2005 Barolos. Here are a few thoughts on a few of my favorites:

Brezza Sarmassa

Dried cherry and caraway aromas, medium-full with stylish tannins. A classy wine with pleasing herbal notes from this ultraconsistent, traditional producer. Best in 12-15 years.

Ettore Germano Prapo’

Gorgeous orange peel and marmalade aromas; elegantly syled tannins and beautiful acidity. Round, complex and complete, this is a silky, graceful wine. Best in 10-15 years. I also like the Germano Ceretta, which is a more powerful wine; however the Prapo’ gets my vote as the top Barolo from this producer.

Vajra Bricco delle Viole

This Barolo is from a small vineyard just above and outside the town of Barolo and means “hill of violets.” That is an apt descriptor for this fragrant wine which is as supple and as elegantly styled as you could want from a wine made from the Nebbiolo grape. Perfect acidity, bright fruit and ultra fine tannins. The finish goes on forever. Best in 12-15 years.

Vietti Lazzarito

Luca Currado at Vietti has been producing remarkable wines from this great Serralunga site for the past decade and has made this one of the winery’s best bottlings, an impressive feat considering that Currado also produces a Barolo from Brunate and Rocche. Deeply concentrated with firm, balanced tannins, this has the stuffing to age well for at least 12-15 years, perhaps longer.

Bruno Giacosa Le Rocche di Serralunga

No surprise here, as this is a huge wine with great fruit depth and typical Serralunga structure, meaning this will need many years in the bottle before its greatest complexities emerge. Big spice in the nose and on the palate with youthful, firm, but nicely integrated tannins, this will offer pleasure for at least two decades more.


March 3, 2010 at 10:21 am Leave a comment

Best Barolos

Renato Ratti Winery, Annunziata (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

Renato Ratti Winery, Annunziata (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

A few months ago, I assembled the choices of several Italian wine authorities regarding Brunello di Montalcino. Today, we turn our attention to Barolo. (more…)

November 3, 2009 at 3:18 pm Leave a comment

Arneis

One of the joys of Italian wines is finding a wine like no other; Arneis, a dry white from Piemonte is one of those treasures.

The word Arneis is roughly translated in local dialect as “rascal.” This is used to describe a youngster who gives his or her parents a bit of trouble.

Arneis can also be translated as “crazy” and that’s exactly what people thought of producers in the 1960s who wanted to produce a white wine in the midst of the Barolo zone. Luca Currado, current winemaker for Vietti, one of the best-known producers of Arneis, tells me that his father decided to produce a white wine after finding this variety in the middle of vineyards planted to Nebbiolo, the great red variety that is the sole grape used in Barolo. This white grape was known as “Nebbia Bianca” at the time (later it became known as Arneis) and Alfredo Currado decided to ferment the grapes separately instead of with other red grapes. Thus Vietti is generally credited as being the first producer to work with Arneis in 1967.

Today, there are several producers of Barolo or Barbaresco who also produce an Arneis; among the best are not only Vietti, but also Bruno Giacosa and Gianni Voerzio. Both Vietti and Giacosa produce a Roero Arneis, meaning the grapes are from the Roero district, located across the Tanaro River from the Barolo and Barbaresco zones. As the soils are not as thin here and are also sandier, they are ideal for this white variety.

Most bottlings are aged in stainless steel and not oak to preserve the delicate aromatics of pine, melon and pear. Medium to medium-full, Arneis has lovely texture and a dry finish with lively acidity. These wines should generally be enjoyed in their youth. The current 2008s are quite good, while the 2007s are generally outstanding. It’s doubtful you’d find examples of older bottlings of Arneis, though I recently tried a bottle of 2005 from Vietti, which was in fine shape.

Naturally, there are several impressive producers of Arneis in the Roero district; among these are Cascina Chicco, Cascina Pellerino, Malvira and Matteo Correggia. The last two producers are among my favorite; the Coreggia being a richer, fatter, more lush style, while the various bottlings from Malvira tend to be more subtle with complex floral and herbal aromatics (especially the Trinita bottling).

Producers of Arneis worth searching for include:

  • Vietti
  • Bruno Giacosa
  • Ceretto
  • Cornarea
  • Matteo Correggia
  • Malvira
  • Fontanafredda

 

 

Danilo Drocco makes an excellent Roero Arneis at Fontanafredda (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

Danilo Drocco makes an excellent Roero Arneis at Fontanafredda (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

September 2, 2009 at 5:36 pm 2 comments


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