2000 Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra- Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (4/30/2013)
Out of curiosity, just pop and pour, the first note is luxurious oak not unlike Voerazio but a bit more red fruits, dry cherries and cherries. Expressive nose displays sweet fruits, dry cherries, strong note of balsamico a la Monfortino, iron, ash, earth, chestnut flour and finishes with espresso beans. The palate displays extremely sweet fruits, intense acidity, aged balsamico, minerality and noticeable yet sweet tannins. With air, less oak presence and more balsamic note. I have not checked the weather condition in 2000 but the wine tells me that it must have been pretty warm growing season with hot summer but not like the 03. The second day, tannins were more noticeable but the concentrated sweet fruit provided nice balance. This is a big scale wine with sweet fruits. I personally think that this wine is not quite ready, perhaps another five to ten years if you are looking for tertiary dominant notes. I will definitely need to share a bottle with Tom, Henry and Kelly. (95 pts.)
Kevin, if you like Clerico, the 2008 Ciabot Mentin (they dropped the Ginestra in 2007 due to some DOCG thing, although it remains the same vineyard) is a very strong vintage for this producer. Clerico can be divisive for folks because of the new oak, but my impression from both speaking with the import director for Clerico as well as tasting the newly-released 2007 & 2008 vintages was that they had dialed this back somewhat in recent years.
I still have a bottle or two of the 1990 CMG in the cellar, and the last time I checked on it, that was drinking beeyootifully.
The 2000 and 1998 of this wine when I last had them were very oaky. I don’t particularly like chocolate and vanilla in my Barolo, but that being said, there is exuberant fruit. While they are quite drinkable now I’ve packed mine away in the hope there will be some integration in the next 5-10 years. If you are relatively oak blind, go at it. FYI, the 98 Pajana doesn’t seem to me to be nearly as hammered, and could be one to enjoy in the interim.
I just checked my CT notes and the 06 seems to show similar flavor profile, albeit young, as the 00 with intense sweet fruits. The 89 Bussia also seems to show similar but in this case a bit more mature. I now think that the house style is consistent and to my liking.
2006 Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra- Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (5/29/2011)
This is a big scale wine, dark concentrated very ripe sweet dry fruit, licorice without much anise note if that makes sense, perhaps molasses, without the dominant tar and scorched earth notes this would have given overripe impression. The nose also displays dry cherries, fruitcake, bitter chocolate, leather and a hint cedar as the end note.
The palate shows impressive concentration, bright acidity and strong presence of tannins. The tannins are neither sandy nor obtrusive yet mouth puckering which is interesting. It also leads to a slightly bitter finish.
This is truly a vin de garde. Current drinking is not recommended but high 90’s potential = 95 pts. Perhaps fifteen years from now? (95 pts.)
The use of Oak is very interesting to me. I don’t mind a hint of oak in relatively young wines. The issue with oak for me is when there is not enough fruit concentration to handle the oak which results in very dry and short finish. I thought oak was mostly shown in the beginning.
I have little to no previous experience, but I just tasted the '08s along with an '07 or two and found everything very oaky. I was told they’re doing 80% new barrique, so if that’s dialing back, it isn’t by much, unless I was misinformed. The regular bottlings from the 2 sites did taste somewhat different from each other, but both tasted very much of oak to me, to the point where I would call it the predominant flavor.
Peoples threshold for oak varies significantly (and for that matter for other variables such as acidity, alcohol, etc). At one stage, almost 15-20 years ago I was enamoured by the high octane styles emerging from Barossa and Mclaren vale in Australia. Now, I find them most unpalatable. The wines haven’t changed; I have.
Peoples threshold for oak varies significantly<<<<<<
In response to Doug’s post. For the record, I am “oak agnostic”, so I will clearly drink and enjoy Baroli that Brad Kane (as an example of one of the more oak-a-phobic tasters I know) would find unpalateable. Like I said, I found the entire 2007 & 2008 line-up acceptable, even on release, so in this case Doug & I clear differ in our opinions. I spoke at length with Luciano Racca fronm Clerico, and we were discussing how they’ve changed barrel suppliers over the years, the degree of toast, etc., so it’s not just a simple statement like “80% new oak” that encapsulates everything that goes into the winemaking.
Bob, I agree completely with all of this, but I do think that however you look at it, 80% new barrique, regardless of toast level and quality of oak, adds a very significant oak signature to a Nebbiolo wine. At least, I would say whatever they’re doing is making these wines smell and taste overtly oaky to me. However, I wasn’t trying to say it’s wrong to treat them that way or that anyone is wrong for liking them, even though these wines are obviously not for me. I also didn’t form my opinion based on that number (it can be just as wrong with % new oak as with %ABV), and didn’t start asking until I had already been tasting, so that I could see what I thought of the wines on their own merit first.