Quelle surprise, five Barolos and all very drinkable at their different stages of lives. Nice to catch the two elder statesmen at their plateau, while the younger Barolos showed surprising approachability (other than the Negri which was my bottle, and whose style I am familiar with). Overall a very strong set of wines.
1997 Gianni Gagliardo Barolo Riserva - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Mature appearance with bricking. It had a plummy grapey quality that I had with the Brovia the previous day so I thought this was younger than it was but a little advanced, turned out to be older than the Azelia. Similar middle-of-the-road style to the Azelia that didn’t scream either modernist or traditional, the earth and tar became more prominent after a few hours. A wine at its plateau with resolved tannins, the finish was longer than the Azelia’s.
1998 Azelia Barolo San Rocco - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Mature appearance with bricking, thought the vintage as a cool one as it was similar to a Fontanafredda I had previously so was guessing 1998 or 2000. Was showing as a wine made in a middle-of-the-road style even though I believe this was when the producer was very much modernist. The oak was fully integrated and did not show much pruney character that I associate with modernist producers, but it did have a deeper, spicier nose, and sweeter fruit than the Gagliardo. Resolved tannins with fading cool fruit suggests that it is time to drink up.
2010 Diego Conterno Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Guessed that this was from a warm vintage with the heat and ripeness of fruit. Fruit was a little sweet and sappy, some liquorice. Finish was a little alcoholic but otherwise everything was still kept in check, perhaps the quality of the vintage helped to achieve a well-balanced wine. Thought this was the densest out of all the wines, definitely has the structure and fruit to last for a while more yet.
2013 Giulia Negri Barolo Serradenari - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Second time trying this producer after being very impressed by its entry-level Barolo. Made in a new-school Burgundian style with lighter extraction that obtained silky rather than coarse tannins, with very pretty red fruits on the nose and the palate. Liked the floral nose of this a lot, some sweet, ripe cherries on the palate and a driven finish. Turned darker and more brooding after a few hours. Very approachable now and I prefer to drink wines made in this style in their youth for their deliciousness.
2015 G.D. Vajra Barolo Bricco delle Viole - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
On opening this was a mess, showing as a wine that was way too modern and ripe. Everyone agreed on 2015 as the vintage for this one. I was quite disappointed after loving the 13 and 16 of this wine, but after a few hours this settled down to become a brilliant wine. The alcohol and vanilla on the nose had dissipated to give a nose of strawberries and a little VA, palate had plush fruit of cranberries and cherries that led to a mineral finish. Showed similarly to my experience with the 2016 which also oscillated between the sublime and the ridiculous.
2014 By Farr Chardonnay - Australia, Victoria, Port Phillip, Geelong
Poured as an aperitif. Dead ringer for a Burgundy, full of zesty citrus fruits and a serious backbone of acidity, not overly ripe and round at all. One of the most impressive new-world Chards that I have tried, better than Kumeu River certainly. Just had a reductive smell to it that took a long while to dissipate in the glass.