Yet another in a long line of 1996 Barolo vintage reassessments. We waited for everyone else to post theirs so our wines could get a little more age.
This line up is slightly different from the others–our tasting group has a price limit for our monthly tastings so we don’t get carried away, and to make it easier on those on a budget (eg the winemakers). So a number of obvious wines were not included.
Wines were stood up for a month, and double decanted 6 hours before the tasting. The tasting was not blind.
Overall the wines were very, very good, although probably not as wonderful as we all expected. A number of the wines were surprisingly ripe–almost a tad over-ripe. I personally thought several of the wines had somewhat coarse, clumsy tannins, although this is something that could resolve with time. Also several of the wines opened up markedly in the glass, so plenty of air is in order for these wines.
1996 Marchesi di Barolo Barolo ‘Cannubi’–
Many folks thought this would just be token taste before we moved on to the better wines, but it was actually very intriguing.
High toned red fruit, tar on the nose. Slightly tart red fruit profile, distinct saline, somewhat overt acid, good length. With time, the palate smoothed, and the fruit became broader and riper. Still very red and saline. Surprisingly good.
1996 Elio Altare Brolo ‘Arborina’–
Much darker, roses on the nose. Palate had darker fruit, sweet smoothness, fairly tannic but they wee fine, some finishing bitterness. Not a lot of overt wood, but I think some of the sweetness is from this. Very nice wine, still somewhat young. Feels a little less like Barolo to me than many of the other wines.
1996 Borgogno Barolo ‘Riserva’–
Mid-range color, less on the nose. Balanced pleasant, still young wine that seems to have a little less of everything in comparison to the other wines.
1996 Marcarini Brolo ‘Brunate’–
Ripe, almost a little over-ripe. Darker fruit and good density. A little softer than the previous wines, some deft oak on the finish. The most ready to drink of the wines so far. Doesn’t feel as “fine” as some of the other wines. Sort of a “middle class” feeling wine, but I think ready to enjoy.
1996 Elio Grasso ‘Casa Mate’–
Maderized/oxidized. Cork looked like it might have been creased.
1996 Vietti Barolo ‘Rocche’–
More serious wine, darker. Tar and a bit of a meaty component. To me a little flat on entry, and tannins in the finish a little clumsy and coarse. Also wondered if a little too ripe? Certainly still a bit young. I thought it a bit out of balance, but a couple of others were really pleased with it.
1996 Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo ‘Monprivato’–
Perfumed, nicely ripe, dark fruit but has a high toned feminine feel. excellent length. Still a background heaviness/bitterness to the tannins. Also slight oxidation. Very nice wine, but not quite as impressive as I remember it.
1996 Bruno Giacosa Barolo ‘Falletto’–
Much lighter, see-thru color. Charming, sweet, brown sugar type fruit and nice length. Delicious, but also had more evident VA than any of the other wines.
1996 Massolino Barolo Riserva ‘Vigna Rionda’–
Bigger, darker wine with broad dark fruit flavors and very good length. Tannins a little more refined than some of the other ‘big’ wines. Very nice–i’d actually give it a little more time.