TNs: Conterno, Sassacaia, La Spinetta Pin, Serpico, Scavino, Caprai and more, all Italian

Our Friday lunch group met as usual at the Santa Barbara Club where we were served righteously by Dave and treated to Chef Kim`s Italian delights with the following wines brought by our members:

NV LAMBERTI PROSECCO ROSE- a light and fun Porsecco rose treat that was pleasing and palate cleansing for what was to come.

2009 GIAMPAOLO MOTTA LA MASSA- another not so serious, but fun wine from Tuscany of 70% sangiovese, 15% cab and merlot; very easy quaffer that has some earthy, sweet red cherry fruit notes.

2007 ALDO CONTERNO MASANTE DOLCETTO- one more of the less serious wines before the big boys, from a stellar producer in Piedmonte, this exhibited a lot of nice, young fruity essences finishing a little tart.

2009 OCCHIPINTI IL FRAPPATO- from Sicily, I liked its generous offering of fresh red and black fruit; another easy quaffer.

2000 ARNALDO CAPRAI SAGRANTINO DI MONTEFALCO- a new exposure for me and much to my delight, this really shined; a full body with lots of complexity; some lovely clove, coffee and cherry rounding out into a full on pleasure; 100% sangrantino; my # 2 WOTD and one for me to seek out.

1997 BARBI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO- great depth and a multitude of flavors including cedar, cigar box, black wild cherries with a lot of firm tannins still not evolved, but promising a long life time.

1998 SASSETTI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO- a winner; smooth and silky, delicious throughout, this just was a special wine showing so great, I went back for more; my #3 WOTD.

1997 ARGIANO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO- the Brunellos are looking good today; this has good fruit in a medium body and although I liked the Sassetti better, I`d drink this in its absence.

2000 GIROLANO DORIGO PIGNOLO DI BUTTRIO- from Friuli which is more renown for its whites, this is good and offers some different notes amongst its black fruity and minerally characteristics including graphite, coffee and licorice; the story goes that this producer resurrected this varietal and I can see why, its big, generous and complex; 100% Pignolo.

1996 ALLEGINI AMARONE- my first taste reminded me of zinfandel fruit, but it had the typical Amarone honeyed, raisiny sweetness and texture.

2000 SASSACAIA- well, I`d been waitng to taste this since I saw it on the side table and it did not disappoint; incredibly well balanced, this was creamy rich and silky smooth, not big and in your face, just beautifully integrated and steady with finesse and integrity; hands down, my #1 WOTD.

1995 LA SPINETTA PIN- decanted; nice and easy to drink, this was good throughout and offered lots of mild red fruity notes and a softness in the mouth feel.

1993 PAOLO SCAVINO BRIC DEL FIASC BAROLO- just OK with my palate, this was more Amarone like, a little heavy and intense; I`m not sure where this is headed, if anywhere.

2003 SERPICO AGLIANICO- 100% Aglianico; Ive had a bit of this wine lately and this bottle was showing sort of mid range with the others; more like a spicy, peppery Rhone, it displayed a lot of red and black fruit after a real floral nose and its deep, dark red/ black color; my palpate may have been distorted by this time; I was looking for a little more as Id experienced on previous occasions and it may have offered such in time, but I went back for more Sassacaia in favor of returning to this one as it was emptied.

Another great Friday lunch that extends into the remainder of the day, at least on my palate and a smile on my face.


Some interesting vino there, Blake - can’t say that I recall ever having a Pignolo-based wine.

Off your note, I’m thinking the '93 Bric del Fiasc was flawed in some way - '93 was not a very ripe year in Piemonte, so unless the wine was somehow cooked in transit or similarly abused, hard to imagine a nebbiolo showing an amarone-like flavor profile. I’ve still got a couple of bottles left from a case I bought on release, so I’ll make a note to pull a cork on one to check it out, but the last time I tried one, this still drank like a relatively young wine.

Dorigo’s Pignolo was a HUGE hit here last year…vaporized in three weeks and it was not inexpensive.

Nice notes.

No “r” in Aglianico for the Serpico.

Here are some of my impressions - some in stark contrast to Blake’s.

I loved the Frappato, in all its charming simplicity. Nowhere but Italy…

I thought the Caprai 25 Anne was surprisingly pretty and tannins were smooth and resolved. My recent bottle of 95 25 Anne was counterpoint to the 00, with the 95 being brawnier and just coming around. The 00 is great now.

The Barbi was nice. smooth. I tend to not buy ubiquitous producers, so this was a surprise to me.

97 Argiano was, to me, the best of the 3 Brunellos. Gorgeous.

I thought the L Sasetti was not ready, with firm tannins and rich, sizable fruit.

Sadly, our chef at the Club couldn’t shake her Cajun roots enough to cook Italian food with the wines. For example, the course we chose to serve with the Brunellos was a Cajun-French amalgum: Crab-stuffed Sole atop Fresh Fetuccini (mislabled linguini) with and Orange Beurre Blanc cream sauce. To me, this dish was almost nauseating in its inappropriateness to go with Brunello.

The 96 Allegrini might be the sweetest (RS!) Amarone I’ve ever had shy of Recioto. One sip was enough for me. Very atypical.

I thought the 00 Sassicaia was overly acidic, and unpleasant. I tried a few times to find some pleasure in the wine. Disappointment of the Day!

The Pignolo may have been my wine of the day.

The 95 Spinetta Pin was my contribution. It drank very nicely, thank you. Better than I would have expected. Lacked the overt international polish that I had feared.

The Scavino Bric del Fiasc was smooth, and nice enough for the 93 vintage, a vintage that has repeatedly disappointed me from multiple producers. This was good, not great, and I am thankful I never bought 93 Barolo. Definitely a vintage worth missing, given the string of successes from 95 on.

This is the second bottle of 03 Serpico that I have had. I turned Blake on to this wine when Wine Cask had them at 50% off. This bottle - and perhaps all bottles of 03 - seemed to be in hibernation. Seemed very young and tannic, really closed down hard since I had it last about 18 months ago. Let it sleeep for another decade and it will emerge greater than ever.

Here are some of my impressions - some in stark contrast to Blake’s.[quote]

And so there you have it. Two opinions, palates on the same wine. If Id known Bernies dislike for the Sassicaia, I would have gladly offered my empty glass for his pours. And, regarding the food, my vegetarian option was very tasty and worked well with the wines and in fact, the 7 guys at my end of the table raved about their food and the consistently fine quality this venue has provided. Oh well.

I only took a short pour of the Sassicaia because others were taking more than their share. I wanted to make sure some of the bottle made it around the far end of the table.

re: The food. There are some people who think Cajun cooking is the high point in American cuisine. I am not among them. I won’t restrain my criticism of the chef merely out of politeness.

When our group first started at The Club, the chef was the famous Norbert. He delivered on all levels and knew how to match food to the wine theme. Because he is European, knowledgeable about wine, and has a great palate. Sadly, he and The Club parted company. In comparison, the current chef displays almost no understanding of wine. If people are happy eating her food, good for them. I have different standards.

I took one of these to a dinner not too long ago, and I fully agree with your comments. Still drinking very young, and far from Amarone like. Here’s my quick note from the evening

  • 1993 Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric dël Fiasc - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (1/29/2011)
    Dinner at Seaquam’s (Vancouver, BC): Opened and let breathe for approx 6 hours prior to tasting. First impression, very youthful on the nose, dominated by plum, as well as prune notes and some heat. Lots of black licorice coming through on the palette, as well as more plum, and some black pepper. I was surprised how young this is drinking, and although the fruit is on the softer side, and there is a lot of acid present, it had a great long finish and was very enjoyable. No rush to drink this up.

Posted from CellarTracker

I appreciate your feedback as I had not had this wine previously and did not have an expectation. After your comments, Bob and Matt, I checked with 2 others in attendance to get their impressions and both concurred this bottle was flawed and may have been cooked or stored improperly or at any rate, atypical. I will seek out another experience to give this one a chance to show its merit. Thanks for the input.