TNs: White Truffles and Barolo in the Philly Burbs

Last Sunday evening, 14 Philly Area oenophiles participated in a wonderful meal at Blackfish in Conshohocken, coordinated by Dave Kaplan and orchestrated by Chef Chip Roman. Notes on the wines that made it to my table:

2002 Gravner Bianco Breg Anfora from Magnum
Joly-esque with some wet wool and lightly oxidized cherry skin, rich midpalate and an almost red wine intensity. Good acid and a smooth finish. I found this to be an enjoyable and accessible “orange wine” showing an approachable anfora character.

2004 B. Moreau Chassagne-Montrachet Champs Gain 1er
Minerals, light oak, touch of grapefruit. Very clean and bright with smooth citrus and more minerality in the attack. Crisp and agile. Nice length. Very sleek and satisfying.

2000 Louis Latour Batard-Montrachet
Rich dried apricot and honey. This lacked the agility of the Moreau. Good acidity and weight with some slight nuttiness. A long finish but it seemed to be missing the verve I’d hoped for.

1967 Oddero La Morra Barolo
Tarry oak with some surprisingly unpleasant chemical esters and root vegetables. Decanting would’ve really helped this evolve. After popping and pouring, it took 2 - 3 hours for the qualities to emerge. A fat and clunky start slowly transitioned to a classy rich integrated Barolo. Excellent acidity, dried cherry, leather, tea and intriguing texture.

1970 Ratti Marcenasco Abbrazia Annuziata Barolo
Another non-decanted aged Barolo. Irritating sweaty underarm aromas eased with time allowing the underlying minerals and herbs to emerge. The elegant aged red fruit filled in slowly and revealed a soft classy balance. The wine was still improving as the meal ended.

1971 Monfaletto Annata Barolo
Double decanted several hours prior to the dinner. This was on it’s game from the moment the first glass was poured. Roses, violets, dried cherries with a creamy rich texture. Tremendous youthful red fruit intensity with great acidity followed by a captivatingly long finish. WOTN at our table.

It’s hard to describe the adventure that older Barolos can provide. Upon opening, they can appear spoiled, flawed, or just plain wrong. But air and patience can yield a remarkable metamorphosis. There’s a tremendous appeal to these 40-ish year old beauties when they awaken. The aged qualities (call them secondary or tertiary, whatever those terms mean) are incredibly engaging, not to mention dynamic.

1989 Poderi Aldo Conterno Vigna Colonnello Bricco Bussia Barolo
Tea, tar, and some VA. A touch of softness in the middle followed by a pleasing long finish. Quite enjoyable but not quite playing up to its potential.

1989 Prunotto Bussia Barolo
Ripe red fruit (cherry) attach with green tea. Youthful full rich mid integrated palate and excellent length broken up by some rubbing tannins. Showing fine intensity and complexity, just a few more years should help integrate the whole package. Still one of my favorites of the evening.

1995 Giuseppe Mascarello Monprivato Ca d’Morissio Barolo
Sensual nose with complex floral notes supported by asphalt tinged red fruit. Excellent acidity. There’s a feminine style that captures the wine’s youth, depth and vibrancy creating a lovely elegant balance. Gorgeous and a runner-up wine for the evening IMHO.

There was a clear gap in style and complexity after the 95 Mascarello. It’s slightly unfair to make direct comparisons because the primary components of the younger wines appear more as separate parts than an integrated whole, nevertheless:

1998 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo
Ripe, relatively soft, stylish and somewhat modern. Red fruit driven with earth and herbs. There’s good intensity with sandy tannins interfering with the finish. A very nice wine but hard to appreciate fully after the more aged line-up.

1998 Clerico Ciabot Mentin Ginestra Barolo
Somewhat oaky with ripe fruit, herbs and asphalt. Almost new world like. There’s softer acidity. Enjoyable full midpalate with softer tannins than I expected. Some heat emerges on the finish. Another Barolo that showed less complexity than its elders.

2000 Clerico Ciabot Mentin Ginestra Barolo
Oak, ripe, red and dark fruit, tar and dill. Lacking midpalate interest and acidity. Even more new world than the 1998. Just not a fan of this style although who knows where this is headed in 10+ years?

2000 Falleto di Serralunga Barolo
Young with earth, tea, and controlled oak. Good acidity, Rich long rustic red fruit midpalate with appreciable tannins. A masculine style but I enjoyed the rusticity.

1988 Doisy Daene Barsac
Rich deep honey and orange blossom. Soft acidity with sweet rich intensity and some slightly tropical notes. Good viscosity. Bright enough to avoid being cloying. Enjoyable length. Very nice pairing with the creamy dessert.


  • White truffle custard, potatoes
  • White truffle poached local egg, kombu broth
  • Sweet onion crepe, white truffle fondue
  • Chesnut ravioli, castelmagna cheese, sage, brown butter, white truffle
  • Scottish pheasant, potato puree, white truffle
  • Artisan cheese, white truffle honey
  • Caramel doughnuts, crème anglaise

The treasure

The Presentation

As always, dynamite notes.
Need more photos of the truffles though. Love food porn.

Not a Clerico fan, and those notes seem consistent (in general) with almost every Clerico wine I have had (some, less redeeming).

Spot on call with the Ca D’Morissio. More burgundian, and always seems to pull off that classy, velvety style.

A number of the modernists (I’m thinking here primarily of guys like Clerico & Scavino) had gotten a little carried away with the new oak by the '97-'99 period, but many have cut back in more recent vintages. I don’t know how these wines will evolve, but can say from experience that the '89, '90 & '93 Clerico CMG’s have all been very tasty wines that were, at least to my palate, in balance in terms of their fruit & oak components.

Rich, I’m assuming the 2000 Falletto was a Giacosa wine (I’m pretty sure that’s a monopole vineyard for him). And do you know who brought the '95 Ca?

Sweet Onion Crepe with White Truffle Fondue

Chestnut Ravioli

There’s pheasant under there somewhere

Bob, I believe Don might’ve brought both the 00 Giacosa (apparently yes, from the pre-dinner list) and the 95 Ca’


I think Bartolo just turned over in his grave. If new oak or any other modernist tool tried to set foot in Cantina Mascarello, it would have been shot on sight!

The very traditional approach of Bartolo Mascarello lets the vintage show its character. 1998 was a ripe forward vintage. But many vintages of this wine tend to seem light and fruity when young. Typically the intensity only comes with age, though they are never “big” wines.

Hi Richard,

It is not fair to post a thread like this [cry.gif] deadhorse … joking.

Thanks for the nice note, several favorites of mine … and tartufo … love it.


Thanks for the education Ken. Didn’t notice any oak, mostly the softer approachable ripe fruit style. Not knowing any better, I would’ve guessed a traditional Barolo would typically be more acidic, austere, angular and tannic, especially considering the relative youth. No doubt about the Ciabots.