TN: '93 Nikolaihof Vinothek, 71,78, and 90 Barolo, 94 E-S Halenberg BA

Dinner at the Elephant, Baltimore

My better half and I returned to Baltimore to visit good friends and get a little winter under our belts to feel like Christmas time. This was the first of two Nebbiolo mostly nights. We ate at the Elephant, a newly remodeled and reinvented restaurant opened by my wife’s friend’s. It is a beautiful setting with very good food and the service was solid and comfortable feeling. I will return on our next visit. Tom, Henry, Marlene, Kim and I were the group. A casual and comfortable setting and it was great to catch up in a more intimate, slow paced setting.

All the Barolo was double decanted that AM.


  • 1993 Nikolaihof Gruner Veltliner Vinothek - Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau (12/2/2016)
    Stunningly deep and fresh nose. Geologic matter predominates yet it is subtly floral. Dense yet with crystalline clarity and focus, tremendous tension and power with grace. A mineral inflected savory and regal wine drinking at peak. Fantastic 96 (96 pts.) On a night dedicated to nebbiolo, this was my WOTN

    1997 Nikolaihof Riesling Vinothek: flawed

    Nebbiolo Flight One:
  • 1990 Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (12/2/2016)
    At The Elephant Baltimore

Double decanted in the AM

Ripe and pruny, but did not seemed cooked. Lacking tension and focus. Broad shouldered but clumsy, more on the cocoa and fatter textured side. Maybe the vintage combined with elevage did not come together so well. I think this was a correct bottle, and not a bad bottle of wine, but not a good one for my preferences either. My, how I have changed in the last decade. Considering the wines to follow later, I elected not to drink this. A stark contrast to the beautiful '89 Clerico wines form the following night. NR as my personal preference would skew CT scores for others.

Posted from CellarTracker

[*]1978 Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo Riserva Bussia - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (12/2/2016)
At The Elephant, Baltimore

Double decanted in the AM

Dark, full bodied and savory with ferrous and licorice undertones. More on the meat and soil side than perfume and roses. Deep more than broad, at this point the wine has come to outstanding balance and everything comes together into a cohesive beautiful wine at peak. No reason to hold. beautiful 93 (93 pts.)

Flight Two

[*]1971 Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (12/2/2016)
At The Elephant, Baltimore

Double decanted in the AM

A beautiful nose with fruit that has blended into the savory and soil components to achieve something better. the fruit is mature, but you can feel its ripeness (in a perfect level of ripeness sense, not in an overripe sense). There is broad plate presence without heaviness while maintaining focus and harmony. At peak maturity. A beautiful mix of earth and savory notes, with more red than darker fruits. Mushroom, beef broth, all with lift and tension that carried its power beautifully. there was a freshness from its well balanced acidity. This excelled with food, and was the most complete of the wines this night. I have had a lot of luck with older Cavallotto Barolo, and this is no exception. 94 (94 pts.)

[]1971 Cantina Mascarello Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (12/2/2016)
Where the Cavallotto had a broader frame, this was more grace and with higher tone. Dried rose petals and sour cherry fruit not he nose, but the fruit fresher on the plate than the nose. Understated and resolved at this point. Lithe yet still with power and painted with a finer brush than the Cavallotto or Cordero di Montezemolo. Elegance with subtle power, with the fruit fading toward a little sour cherry, more savory and turning toward autumnal flavors. Beautiful mature Barolo fading- at least this bottle. 93 (93 pts.)

]1971 Cordero di Montezemolo Barolo Monfalletto - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (12/2/2016)
At The Elephant, Baltimore

Double decanted in the AM

Elegant and resoled at this point. Autumnal savory nose, with porcini, some sweet decay, and with fruit in the background. Lovey acid- earth interplay here. An elegant, understated mature Barolo drinking as it gracefully fades. I really enjoyed this, and a better bottle than the last one I tried earlier this year. 91 (91 pts.)

[*]1994 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Beerenauslese - Germany, Nahe (12/2/2016)
At The Elephant, Baltimore

Orange rind, honey, flowers, and Grand Marinier. Ripe and rich, with nice if not transcendent lift. It is trying, but seems not quite all together at this point in time, like a camera with a perfectly framed beautiful subject, but just out of focus. Sweet and lovely, with enough acidity to carry its RS well, and it certainly is outstanding, and I don;t want to damn it with faint praise, but I had much higher hopes for this based on a reasonably recent 1994 3* Halenberg Auslese. 92 (92 pts.)

Overall, this was a very cool setting with solid food and engaging and comfortable service. We felt at ease and very comfortable. The tour afterward looking the architecture and history of the building was worth the trip in and of itself. A very cool first group night.

Thanks for reading.

What a terrific line up! Both intrinsically impressive and with added geek factor to boot. Thanks for the notes on some great wines, all right up my alley.

love the Nikolaihof Riesling Vinothek. I agree with your notes. It is a powerful wine but still has some elegance.
I visited winery couple month ago. Picked up the 97s and 00s. As it is getting impossible to buy Keller’s G-max now, the vinothhek is a close substitute for me now.

Good luck to your friends! I had many a meal, including a prom dinner, at the Brass Elephant!

We opened a 97 Vinothek some months ago in DC. Boy was it big, in need of some serious unwind. Next to a 2001 Prager Klaus, it showed infantile, even though it is older. I really like the wine, a good deal more than say Pichler’s Unendlich, but never have had a “Mature” bottle.

Cheers on the notes

Thanks for the note on the Vinothek. I haven’t tried the '97 yet. The '95 is among my favorite bottles of Riesling.

We had a '71 Barolo tasting a couple of years ago. The Bartolo Mascarello was lovely, but was the only wine that didn’t improve with a long (4 hours+) decant.