Barolo dinner last Thursday

Barolo dinner at Grappa Thursday night. Great evening. Grappa put together a menu that paired well and gave us great service as usual. I wasn’t feeling well at all yesterday (this week) so no formal notes but will not general impressions/takeaways here.

With Carpaccio (Killer carpaccio that is marinated in a complex mix of wine/liqour/seasonings for weeks - delicious)
2007 Boizel Grand Vintage Champagne. Nice, light blend of PN & Chard, with fine mousse. Great w the Carpaccio.

NV Bellefon Rose Champagne. Once I tasted this, my palate wanted to stay with the Rose - in my Rose wheelhouse: Fine, light to med bodied, good red fruit, great complexity. YUM.

1970s: (3 hrs slow ox, then decant just before serving)
1970 Germano Barolo
1971 Terre del Barolo Barolo Riserva Numerata
1978 Marchesi di Barolo Barolo
The ritual/saga started earlier in the day with some slow ox. The 1978 seemed advance so I opened a 1970 which seemed slightly corked, so I opened a 1971 which was murky in colour. So, I gave the 3 hrs, carted them off to the restaurant and hoped for the best. All 3 improved and ironically the 1978 was the best of the bunch - best colour, most alive. The other two showed ok but for me were a bit disappointing. My takeaway here was not to underestimate how older bottles can come alive with some gentle slow oxing and to not be too discouraged with initial indications on opening.

1990/1996/1996: (1 hr decant)
1990 Parusso Barolo Mariondino - don’t judge this bottle by it’s label. It was immediately appealing. Very smooth with elements well integrated but good fruit still showing. Lots of life left. Consistent with other recent bottles.
1996 Pio Cesare Barolo Ornato - again appealing right away. Cesare’s Ornato seems to show well consistently for me, from good vintages. This was know exception. Deeper and fuller than the 1990.
1996 Luigi Pira Barolo Marenca - this started off looking and smelling more advanced, perhaps oxidized. However, with about 1 hr to 1.5 hrs, this wine came alive and was wonderful. this was a relief as I have 6 more to go. The takeaway here is that this wine is drinking well but needs a good 2 hrs or more to show well or risks disappointing.
All 3 were drinking well with lots of life ahead.

1999’s: These had 2+ hrs decanting time
1999 Roberto Voerzio Barolo Cerequio. The nose on this was bigger, fresher, riper and very appealing. It is the type of intoxicating nose that makes me feel I can get lost in the glass. On the palate, it was smooth and rich, but not as deep or complex as the Cascina Francia. The style was very much fruit forward, approachable despite being a very big wine. Solidly into it’s drinking window.
1999 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia. Not as expressive on the nose as the Cerequio but bigger, deeper, and more complex. This was my preference for the palate. Drinking very nicely but clearly has a long long way to go.
For those who like the fruitier/approachable style, I get the appeal of the Cerequio. I loved the nose. In the end my palate seems to edge closer to Cascina Francia. Both were terrific wines.

Overall is was wonderful to take a journey through time with these wines while enjoying them with good friends and food. Great way to spend a Thursday, or any evening.[media][/media]

Thanks for posting, Ross. Nice Thursday!
Where are you and Grappa restaurant located? Is that a risotto dish with black truffles? flirtysmile
IMO the Luigi Pira wines can be excellent values. Not surprised that yours over-delivered. Meanwhile, I wish I owned the G. Conterno 1999 Cascina Franca. [swearing.gif]

Yes, nice notes, thanks for posting! Good to know about the Parusso, as I have a couple of '04’s that I was beginning to have doubts about it, owing to the style. Guess they just need more time? Have some, well really one Marchesi Riserva, 1990; perhaps that needs more time as well?

I had the 90 Mariondino last year and it was gorgeous. 1990 seems to be a year where everything worked for modernist winemakers in Barolo.

Hi Peter, Grappa is in Toronto (Etobicoke). Yes, black truffle over mushroom risotto with the Sandrone & Conterno flight. Agree re: Luigi Pira wines can be good values.

Hey, you drink the wine, not the label! [cheers.gif]

Nice dinner & wines Ross.

Yes, that was my point… [cheers.gif] ‘Slight label condition’ = buy signal/bargain. ‘Major label condition’ can mean great bottle at a good price! [cheers.gif]

Coincidentally, I’m enjoying this exact bottle this evening. It’s a little meaty, but very lovely. The perfume on this bad boy in 10 more years is going to be oozing out of the bottle, wish I had another.

A friend of mine who believes every wine should make you think of Bordeaux brought a bottle to a blind tasting at my house. The wine was gorgeous. The oak had totally integrated. A 95 drank a couple of years ago was horrible, scant fruit but great structure and still a bunch of oak.

Perhaps modernist barolo can show well in great vintages with 25 plus years in the cellar. I also had a 1990 Scavino Canubbi that was really nice.

David, I think you’re right about modernist approach in great vintages + many years. Perhaps it boils down to the oak needing time to settle down and integrate, then the inherent quality of the fruit shines in harmony with secondary and tertiary notes. Glad to hear others are having good results w the 1990 Mariondino. 1990 Scavino Cannubi - NICE! I stumbled onto it in an auction and am glad I did!