1964 Fratelli Carema Rosotto Nebbiolo
5/24/2014 90 Points
Deep caramel with ruby center. The cork did its primary job admirably for nearly 50 years, but ended up on the inside; the bottom was way more stuck to the sides than the disintegrating top, clarified through a coffee filter. The nose is old but alive, leather, old wood, black fruits and a little smoke. The palate is spicy and brighter, almost shocking tartness at first, plums and brambleberries through a barely tannic veneer of ashy campfire. It settled down in the mouth and with a little food (even just a bite of white chicken), the finish is fresher and tart again, more tannic and quite long.
Amazingly noticeably fruitier and calmer after a few hours, these old nebbiolos really benefit from a lot of air.
I, too, was surprised, however in the last year or so I have had by CT count 33 bottles of nebbiolo from vintages 1961-1974, and I am no longer surprised. At first I treated the delicately, decanting gently just a bit before serving or even simply opening and letting stand for a couple of hours. I now typically double decant 2-8 hours ahead, and they Still are often at their best very late in the evening or even the next day!
Exposure to air is apparently a necessity to revive their fruit and freshness, no matter how counterintuitive it may seem. I have now also found this to be the case with some 20+ year-old riesling I have:
1990 Fürst Löwenstein Riesling Auslese Weißsilber trocken Riesling
9/20/2014 - 92 Points
Evidently from a period when the estate was run by Schloss Vollrads. Lightly orange 18K gold. Yet another old white wine which really needed some airtime to shine. The first day it was a little cloudy, with no nose and not much palate except citrus tart.
A day later, nice nose of pineapple, overripe tart peach, honey, and flower buds. The palate is full and has a soft texture, tropical and honeyed, very ripe but almost vanishingly sweet, and bracingly mouthwatering. The finish is a powerful extension of the palate, more mineral and just barely short of too tart. A fascinating style, old-fashioned, very ripe riesling vinified to near-dryness and very mature. I don’t have enough experience with contemporary dry German wines to compare.