Valter Fissore, winemaker, Elvio Cogno (Photo ©Tom Hyland)
In my previous post, I included an update on the most recent examples of 2012 Barolo I had tasted last fall in Piemonte. This is an excellent vintage, one where the wines offer great typicity.
Here are notes on a few more wines:
At Elvio Cogno in Novello, Valter Fissore has been an ultraconsistent producer over the past decade with his exquisite Barolo releases from the Ravera vineyard, which his winery overlooks. There are as many as four Barolos from Ravera in the finest years.
For 2012, the Cascina Nuova, produced from the youngest vines of Cogno’s part of the Ravera vineyard, has classic dried cherry and dried rose aromas that are almost Pinot Noir-like, very good acidity, medium-weight tannins and excellent persistence. This has immediate appeal, although it will drink well for another 10-12 years, perhaps longer. Overall, this is a wine with lovely harmony!
The Ravera bottling offers a bit more spice in the aromas along with light balsamic notes; there is admirable varietal purity throughout and very good freshness, thanks to ideal acidity levels. This is a bit richer on the palate than the Cascina Nuova and should peak in 12-15 years. It is a lovely Barolo, typical of the site as well as the vintage.
The current release of Cogno’s Bricco Pernice Barolo, also from his vineyards at Ravera, is the 2011; this offering is 100% Lampia clone of Nebbiolo, and the vines for this wine have an average age of 55 years. Offering attractive red currant perfumes, along with notes of strawberry and a hint of pepper, this is medium-full with excellent persistence, round tannins and a distinct earthiness in the finish. While I have not been overwhelmed with too many Barolos from 2011, this is one of the most complex and most elegantly styled wines from this vintage. Look for this wine to be at peak drinking in 12-15 years.
The Vigna Elena is always my favorite Barolo from Cogno; it is unquestionably the most refined and elegant. It is the most feminine of the Cogno Barolos, which is appropriate, given that the wine was named for the daughter of Valter and his wife Nadia Cogno; the whimsical label features a drawing by the young Elena.
The current release is the 2010, from an outstanding Barolo vintage, and the wine is exceptional! This is one of the most singular of all Barolos, as it is produced solely from the rarely seen Rosé clone of Nebbiolo. As you might imgine from the name, the Rosé clone delivers Nebbiolo with more seductive rose, cherry and strawberry perfumes; the tannins are quite silky, and the acidity, as was typical for the 2010s is very good. Cogno releases this wine later than his other Barolos (it was aged for three years in 40 hl Slavonian oak casks), and it is a wise decision, as the wine is just starting to offer greater complexities. Perfectly balanced, this is a lovely, sublime wine, one of the best examples of how graceful Barolo can be, when the right vineyard, winemaker and vintage come together. Despite the refined quality of this wine, make no mistake, this will age. I have tasted several releases of this wine over the years, and my estimate is that the 2010 Vigna Elena will peak in 30 years plus! This is an outstanding wine! Bravo, Valter!
Mariacristina Oddero (Photo ©Tom Hyland)
Another first-rate producer of Barolo is Poderi Oddero, in Santa Maria, a frazione of La Morra. Due in large part to the diligence and drive of Mariacristina Oddero, this has become one of the most consistent of all Barolo producers over the past dozen or so years. Mariacristina will always point to her father as her inspiration; indeed he was a winemaker who respected tradition and crafted many remarkable wines. I tasted the 1964 Barolo from Oddero a few years ago, and it was in superb condition, with a wonderful freshness and sublime elegance. Mariacristina respects her father’s belief in a classic Barolo, produced with grapes from various plots and communes; she has, over the last twenty or so years, expanded the winery’s portfolio, as she now releases a Barolo from a number of the zone’s finest cru.
The classic Barolo from 2012 from Oddero is a fine introduction to Barolo in general, and of 2012 Barolo in particular. Medium-full with very good varietal purity, the wine has classic tar and dried rose perfumes to go along with the notes of dried cherries in the nose, and has round, medium-weight tannins. While approachable now, this will offer greater complexities with a few more years, and should be at peak in another 10-12 years.
The 2012 Villero Barolo, from a vineyard in Castiglione Falletto, offers lovely aromas of spiced cherries along with hints of cinnamon and tobacco seed; these spicy notes are typical of Barolo from Castiglione Falletto, and are testament to the typicity of the 2012 Barolos. Medium-full on the palate, this has impressive complexity, medium-weight tannins and good acidity, and is a wine that well expresses its site. This is an excellent Barolo; peak in 15-20 years.
The 2012 Oddero Rocche di Castiglione Barolo has a lovely young garnet color, along with perfumed aromas of red plum, wild strawberry, red pepper and a hint of carnation; you’ll probably fall in love with this wine just by smelling it! Medium-full with very good to excellent concentration, this has a big tannic backbone; yet the tannins are in harmony with the depth of fruit. This is a classic Rocche di Castiglione Barolo! Peak in 20 years plus – Excellent now, probably Outstanding quality in another decade.
The 2012 Brunate, from the famous cru in LaMorra (and part of the Barolo commune), offers aromas of cinammon, red cherry, strawberry, tobacco and cedar. Medium-full with very good concentration, this has rich, well-integrated tannins and very good acidity. This is a bit tightly wound and is clearly made for the long haul. Displaying beautiful varietal character and ideal ripeness, this will be at is best in 15-25 years, and may drink well for a few additional years after that. Excellent.
The 2006 Vigna Rionda Barolo Riserva is the first 10-year release from Oddero; fittingly, the wine is something quite special. Offering notes of balsamic, tobacco, dried cherry and tar, this is medium-full with excellent concentration. 2006 was a memorable vintage, resulting in powerful wines, and indeed there are still big tannins showing in this wine, although they are nicely resolved. There is excellent persistence, good acidity and wonderful complexity. It’s a treat to taste this wine now, to see how it has developed, but this will need at least another 12-15 years to show its best, and should be at peak in another 20-25 years. Exceptional.
The Barolo Riserva Bussia Vigna Mondoca is always a highlight among the Oddero Barolos. The current release is 2010, which was clearly an outstanding Barolo vintage. The Vigna Mondoca wine, from a small parcel of the Bussia vineyard in Monforte d’Alba, is always rich with fruit and tannins, and offers excellent complexity; I’ve written in the past that this is the finest Barolo you probably haven’t tried. Offering aromas of red cherry, cedar and tobacco, this is medium-full with excellent concentration. The mid-palate is quite rich and there are big, firm tannins, along with very good acidity that keeps every aspect of this wine in harmony. This is a wine that has an excellent sense of place; you sense that right away when comparing the other single vineyard Oddero Barolos. It’s not a delicate wine by any means, and it does need time to round out and settle down, but patience will most assuredly be gloriously rewarded. Peak in 20 years plus. Outstanding.