Recent notes starting with an ancient Mascarello

Going to start working on some notes from the last month or so, but this wine was last night and was so pretty I decided to post.

1952 Cantina Mascarello Barolo Canubbi Riserva - from a trusted source in Italy, from original owner. Color looks darker in picture than it really was. You could see your fingers through the wine, translucent ruby. Lovely color. Decanted off sediment (tons of it) and initially thought the wine smelled a bit alcoholic, but I know to take my time with old Nebbiolo! This sat in the decanter for 4 hours before it was smelling really good. Gave off like a candied violet aroma on the nose. Aromatically and on the palate, was a fine elegant old wine. No tannin left, just primarily tertiary qualities and the remains of fruit. A delicate balance of pleasure. Let’s be serious, old Mascarello is riddled with bottle variation, and I’ve definitely had my share, but this was a really good one. Happy 65th!
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Thanks for sharing Daniel. Sounds like you had a fantastic bottle!

we had the 71 in Piedmont and the wine was glowing. Great note on a 65 year old wine.

Can’t think of a better place to drink a 71 Mascarello!

Couple more nebbiolos first. Starting with a string of bad luck:

1978 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Riserva Speciale Villero - oxidized, super mega ouch
1985 Aldo Conterno Barolo Riserva Granbussia - also oxidized, another ouch
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Gaja saves the day:

1978 Gaja Barbaresco Costa Russi - this was awesome. Lightyears of life ahead of it. Dark and powerful and brooding. I think Ben Goldberg mentioned he had a great bottle recently as well. Super wine.
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1990 Gaja Barbaresco Sori Tildin - another great Gaja. 89s and 90s from Gaja are lights out. Great wines. Great fruit, spice, roses. Super finish.
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1967 Gaja Barbaresco - last of the Gaja trifecta (these were a few weeks apart by the way) - this wine is a consistent performer. Far more evolved (in a good way) than the 1978, this wine always delivers a great mature nebbiolo. Taking on more ethereal notes, great acidity, still nice balance of fruit. Wonderful.
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Old Gaja Rocks.

Adding another nebbiolo note from yesterday.

1971 Produttori del Barbaresco Riserva Rabaja - talk about a wine punching above its weight class. I paid less than $100 for this and it was just great. Excellent condition. I’ve had my consistency issues with old Produttori, but when its on, it can be really great and at the pricing is definitely a good gamble. Balsamic notes, darker nebbiolo fruit profile. Nice finish. Perfect drinking window.
Another nebbiolo from about a month ago, no pic:

1967 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco - a constant performer. sweet notes, ethereal wine. Just always delivers great pleasure like all of the 67 Giacosa wines.

awesome wines daniel. i’ve only had a couple of 67s and 71s (produttori, monfortino, etc.)…loved them all. still have yet to try a sound 78 though.


Don’t give up on 78, just about the longest lived vintage of nebbiolo you will ever find.

Starting with some French wines as well.

2005 Vieux Chateau Certan - this bottle was especially memorable as it was a gift from Alexandre Thienpont when we visited the estate back in 2007. Struck a balance between a sexy wine and a balanced and polished wine. Just the right mix. Dark fruit, chocolate, some spice, really lovely.

Couple more quick notes from this batch, starting with some Rhones:

Side by side 2000 and 2001 Jamet Cote Rotie - no pics, out for dinner. Both really delicious, as Jamet generally performs in all vintages, yet the 2001 was the clear outperformer. Had extra savoriness and umami qualities that just put it over the top. Delicious.

Also, a few Chave’s - couple weeks apart though.

1999 Chave - outstanding wine. Gamey, savory, but great fruit backbone. Awesome and typical Chave.

1991 Chave - this was as good as any of the nebbiolo’s I’ve posted about. All the wonderful aspects of the 99 but more mature, and just so elegant. Superstar!

Wrapping up the Nebbiolo from this batch:

Another super sad casualty - 1985 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Riserva Falletto di Serralunga d’Alba - despite what I thought looked like a good cork, this was oxidized badly. Not salvageable at all. Quite tragic.

On the other hand, some great wines:

1964 Cantina Mascarello Barolo Riserva (Bottled in 1968) - this was absolutely exquisite. One of the best wines I’ve ever had from the estate. Ethereal beautiful nose. The smallest bit of tannin left, great finish. Stunning wine. Note the bottom part of the label literally disintegrated when I pulled the plastic wrapping off it!
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1971 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Vigneto Montefico di Barbaresco - a classic 71! In perfect shape, great sweetness on the palate. Some menthol notes, great structure. The wine was in much better shape than the label was!
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1970 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Vigneto Santo Stefano di Neive d’Alba - another wine of the same era in really nice shape, though I think the 71 Montefico was its superior. Slightly more of the balsamicy profile. Nice length, really nice to drink. Of these three wines the 64 Mascarello was the tops.
Every bit the equal of the wines, the 71 Giacosa had the pleasure of being accompanied by the best Flannery NY Strip I’ve ever had, and I’ve been a customer of Bryan’s for about a decade.
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