Giovanni Scanavino Barolo Riserva Vertical (67, 71, 74, 78, 79)

Amazing night of Barolo, in what was a farewell of sorts to a very dear friend.

The wines were from an old wine lover and bottle shop owner in the 1970-80’s in Western Sydney who had a soft spot for the wines of Giovanni Scanavino. The wines have been stored since purchase in an underground double brick passive cellar.

I am still simply shaking my head at the fact that we were discussing 4 different vintages of Barolo of around 40 years of age and picking out their vintage characteristics as the wines were just so pure and clean and fresh. Well made Barolos’ ability to age is breathtaking.

The 67 was unfortunately not really drinkable the other 4 (71, 74, 78, 79) were all amazing in their own way, the 78 more floral and lifted dark cherry and plum, the 79 slightly more alcoholic and brandied the notes. The 74 with lots of structure and length and the 71 soft and more delicate yet with a nice backbone. They were constantly evolving in the glass over the course of about 3 hours.

We started off with a 1973 Pommery champagne which was showing wonderfully, some bead still evident, honey colour, really nice aromatics, brioche, and caramelised characteristics. A nice young 2011 Crawford River Riesling followed by a fantastic 2000 Muller-Catoir Spatlese which had just enough acid to keep it fresh and a really good depth of fruit to make it interesting.

After the Barolos we had a 1978 Scanavino Barbera, which was showing beautifully, more plums and a richness on the palate with a deeper colour.

A cheeky 1971 Bullers Calliope Shiraz was showing surprisingly well, rich dark cherry and raspberry, very much in the current mold of the Calliope style big, rich and almost port like. It also opened up in the glass.

Then a lovely Ripasso(?) style 1948 Leone de Castris, Negrino, this was all fruit cake, brandy, kirsch. Great way to finish.

Food was Italian with lots anti-pasto, calamari, pizza, tiramisu to keeps us going for the 4-5 hours and they let us take our time which we really appreciated.

Great ‘casual’ night of wines and good friends.

Nice notes, definitely in awe at the great lineup of wines.

It’s sad about the '67 as the Barolos and Gattinara I have had from that year have been really enjoyable. I would definitely suspect a bottle issue, which happens.

A+ for location and experience! Thanks for the insights into a Barolo producer that I have never heard of. Looks like it was a great time.

Never heard of this producer. I’m not even sure it shows up in the Sheldon Wasserman book.

Anyway, where is this producer’s vineyard(s)?

Glad to hear that the majority were awesome; they looked really vibrant in the pics. The 48 Negrino sounds facinating too.

I know she is currently getting flogged in another thread, and I don’t really have an opinion of her, but Alice Feiring dedicated a chapter to Scanavino in her Anti-Parker book. I think the takeaway was that the first time she had the 68 Scanavino was an “aha” moment, and when she went to track this guy down, she found out that he had been disgraced due to additives or something else. Wasserman recommended to avoid Scanavino wines in his book, but who knows, maybe he didn’t age his ones long enough.

Yeah I get the impression he was bought up/out by others. Most of what you see is prior to the 80’s of his wine. A similar tasting on a Chinese website via Google Translate.

As I said they were from an elderly gentleman who ran a bottle shop in the 70’s so they may have been quite a novelty in Australia in those days and something he’d picked up or knew from trips abroad. He was being moved to a care facility due to his age and was not able to drink them, which is why the wines were available. I’m hoping he’d be happy they went to a good/appreciative home and how well they showed.

Great story and pics Dave. The colours on the wines is remarkable.

Thanks Dave. I have a '79 in the cellar that you have inspired me to crack over the weekend.

Fantastic evening with good friends! The 73 Champagne was still quite youthful and lively with good acid and got even better as it warmed up over the 10-15 mins in the glass. The Crawford River (was a 2014) is always a classy wine, but Cam’s Muller-Catoir Scheurebe 2000 soon stole the show with juicy mandarins, orange, great balance and effortless drinkability. For the Barolo’s my ranking order was 78, 71,74 then 79. The 74 did have better structure than the 71, but I found some more length and complexity in the 71. But the 78 was excellent - perfume, structure, length, great tannins, very nice indeed! The 79 started off almost sweet Shiraz-like, but did settle down a bit. The Barbera 78 was soft and fruity in comparison to the 71, 74 and 78, but still really lovely drinking. The Buller could almost have been any age, that it was a 71 showed their remarkable consistency and ageability. The 48 Negrino was lush and rich, yet surprised me with it’s earthy notes and dry finish. Fab way to end the night!

Great pizzas and service at Verace in Macquarie Park too.


Cheers for the post David, it’s always good to see lesser known aged Barolo show well. I’m also glad y’all saw Shannon off appropriately, he’s good people.

It is interesting to me how much the bottles in the pictures from the tasting vary from the bottle pic I took in the Valtellina recently. Were there actually two different Scanavinos? If it was just one, did he change the bottle style in the late 1960s?

Great pics. Thanks for taking the time to post notes

Had the '79 last night Dave. It had a piss ant little cork like the ones pictured but it has done its job remarkably well. The wine was so fresh and engaging. It had a calm nose of chestnut, tar, raisin, figs and Indian spice. It was full and round with structural elements that were there but unobtrusive. There were some porcini notes and it had real flesh and a very savoury finish. I line of whippy acidity kept everything clean and fresh. Brilliant with rib eye

Good to hear Jeremy! Thanks for the notes, glad it was showing ok for you.

We had the 1961 a couple of years ago. I didn’t expect much and was shocked by how fresh the bottle was.