Advice needed: Air time for 2004 Barolo?

Need some advice.

I will be organising a 2004 Barolo retrospective in a few weeks for my wine group. Approx 12 wines will be served in three brackets.

How much air time I need to give them?

I was thinking along these lines:
Ask participants to pull the cork out of the bottle in the morning with slow-ox for rest of the day in the cellar.
Double decant in the evening at home before coming to the venue (1-2 hrs before arrival).

Pour wines from first bracket into decanters on arrival to restaurant.



I would double decant, but I would not triple decant (double decant at home, then to decanters at restaurant). I’m sure they could take the double decanting earlier in the day, too, if you want.


Wow, this is quite an extreme view.
I have some 2004 in my cellar, yet untouched and was thinking to open a few before the end of the year.
At 10 years of age is good to have some data points…
Anyway, Sanjay, please report back your impressions.


Looking forward to the notes. EWS did a similar tasting recently. I believe they said they said they double decanted 3hrs ahead of time.

Barolo made in the 2000’s is much more accessible than most made before that. Riper fruit, sweeter tannins, cleaner winemaking have all contributed to the possibility of earlier drinking, especially in warmer vintages like 05, 07, and 09.

I’m not a Tanzer subscriber so I can’t see the details, was their tasting a protosynaptic pain/pleasure exercise?

Well, I have zero experience with Baroli older than 25 years.
But I can say without hesitation that a number of 2007 Baroli drunk at 5-6 years old gave me a lot of pleasure (Cascina Francia, B. Mascarello, G. Rinaldi).
Also, in the other thread about 1999 and 2001 Baroli people seem to have enjoyed the wines a lot.
I have also enjoyed greatly Baroli from the vintages 1996-2001 in the last couple of years.
Perhaps all of these will become better in twenty years, but I am very happy to drink them for pleasure (not as an academic exercise) now, rather than wait twenty more years.

If I interpreted you correctly, you think this is nonsense.
I find this an extreme - of an extremist if you want - point of view.

Not at all. The quote below sums it up well:

“This tasting of 2004 Barolos and Barbarescos turned out to more of a “mixed bag” than the original tasting, as we found a greater range of quality. At the high end, we tasted four or five truly spectacular wines that were universally loved by our group. At the other end, we had just as many disappointments, particularly from traditional producers like Bruno Giacosa and Giacomo Conterno, whose wines were not nearly as well received as the modern-style wines. Pitting modern versus traditional wines is an inherent drawback of the blind tasting format, one that we have to live with.”

I’m looking forward to see if the OP agrees.

It’s extreme because you’re obviously extremely sensitive to the astringency of tannins, to an extent that VERY few lovers of Barolo are, and you’re erroneously assuming that everyone else is like you. I enjoy lots of Barolo that’s well under 25 years old. I do think this is just a few years early to be sampling a bunch of '04s, but I’m sure some will show well.

So, I’m going to dissent a bit here, but, for me slow-o is the only way to go with young(er) Nebbiolo. What might be gained on the palate is sacrificed on the nose.

+1 This is what we did for the 1999’s and 2001’s. I think slow-o all day and DD before travel is the way to go.

Thanks for posting that. I probably shouldn’t have quoted your post. I just felt the need to reiterate Travis’s unintentional comedy with protosynaptic pain/pleasure exercise.

I am someone who very much appreciates fully (or indeed over-mature) nebbiolo. If it’s still in good health at 40 or 50, then it can be truly amazing.

However saying that wines at 10 years old would hold no interest whatsoever would either be an extremist view, or being OTT in the comment for impact. There is enjoyment to be had, though it will indeed quickly become tough going without suitable food.

FWIW I would encourage people to try some 20-30+ year old Barolo in addition to tasting young. For many the whole point of nebbiolo is catching it in it’s autumn years, so beware the urge to make judgements when the initial fruit has faded, but the tannins are still firm. I’ve seen comments before from people saying the wines are “dried out” at 10 years old.

IMO I wouldn’t sweat the decanting options. Some will be more open than others but if drinking with food, then all should show some of their personality. What might be cute though, is to find a single older wine to finish on after the meal, one that should be nicely resolved. It might help suggest where these young wines might be heading and show the difference between the toughness of youth and the delicacy of old age.

Hope it goes well

Thanks for posting that. I probably shouldn’t have quoted your post. I just felt the need to reiterate Travis’s unintentional comedy with protosynaptic pain/pleasure exercise.[/quote]

Agreed. My experience is with Bdx, which I frequently open “too early” to check and see development. It’s a fun exercise and everyone knows the wines aren’t at peak. While I’m new to barolo, I don’t know why this would be different.

Thanks for the advice. I will follow that.

Wow, how rude can you be? I’m curious, do you act like this in real life or are you a message board tough guy? Why stomp on someone’s thread? It obvious you have a multitude of issues. I suggest you seek help with a good therapist.

He is Barolier than thou.

I had the chance to sample a number of 2004s recently in Piedmont (Conterno, Scavino and Clerico) as well as some 06s and 07s, all over meals, and found each to be excellent and, though young, showing some wonderful characteristics - a nice stage of still exuberant youth but yet some evolution. Both my wife and I didn’t think they were premature. AND neither did the sommeliers that assisted us and discussed them with me.

Additionally when discussing vintages with a variety of people in Piedmont, they were very surprised that I hadn’t opened any of my 04s or younger vintages - while they thought there was no issue with aging, it seemed that locals start to drink Barolo with about 8-10yrs of age.

The absolutist notion expressed above that they shouldn’t be touched and there is nothing in them to be enjoyed strikes me as flat out wrong as a generalization and nothing more than a personal preference. I don’t doubt that the 04s can age nicely (and I plan on aging many) and I don’t doubt that some people enjoy old Barolo, but that doesn’t make their view of their own palate anywhere close to correct for other people (and I would guess most other people).