Jun 21, 2012

1960s - 1980s Barolo tasting + 1995 Ferrari Perle

Mature barolo

Having participated in several tastings of mature nebbiolos lately, below is a short description what to expect from nebbiolo turned adult, and the multitude of nuances one can get from wines which have aged beautifully.

Tasting notes are from an interesting line-up of 1960s to 1980s barolos collected from Italy. Mature barolos and other wines made from nebbiolo grape (like Spanna, Carema, Gattinara) offer excellent price to quality ratio. Luckily the price inflation experienced in top bordeaux and burgundy wines has not reached these Piemonte's jewels yet - and wine enthusiasts hope it won't for a while.

The tasting included really well aged wines and 1964 Giovanni Manzone, 1978 Montanello and 1982 Fenocchio stole the show being truly adoreable wines.

1978 Moscone Barolo

Color of a ruby jewel. Loads of sediment in this one, as in other wines in the tasting. Moscone's Barolo 1978 has an austere personality, however the grip from big tannins and acidity in the aftertaste bring you back on earth. A bit oxidized however could be expected from a barolo of this age. Nose has mature nebbiolo trademark burned rubber feeling with cherry tree / black cherry and cranberry notes in an almond liqueur / cherry liquour like package. Notes of black tea in nose which is personally really enticing to find in a wine. A peppery feeling in aftertaste too.

However the wine was not the winner in this tasting as the nicely dried fruit was left behind in intensity to other wines tasted during the evening.

1978 Montanello Barolo (Castiglione Falleto)

The color is amazingly still a youngish medium intensive ruby, however flirting with brownish with an orange hue. The wine is also in other respects youngish, not showing signs of being tired at all. This is a fresher version of mature barolo with really nice acidity. A broad range of aromas in the nose: cinnamon, tea, trademark burned rubber/burned sugar as well as fermented strawberry juice, coffee, licorice and ripe plum. Mouthfeel is fresh from high acidity, pure and balanced on mid-palate turning to cranberry / lingonberry notes in the aftertaste which is strong.

Acidity carries this wine really far in aftertaste. With air the wine develops in the glass where ripe fruit takes a larger role than after only short decanting. A beautiful mature wine!

1982 Fenocchio Barolo (Monforte d'Alba)

Another jewel in the glass. What a wine this turned out to be! Color of a ruby jewel, the wine looks terrific in the decanter. Orange color is taking over bit by bit this wine, obviously from long maturation. From a great vintage. Full-bodied even in nose. The slightly oxidized nose is really interesting with aspargus and dill notes mixed with burned sugar and tar, herb liqueur and licorice - a lot of green notes however in a nice package. On the palate the wine is full bodied with really ripe fruit and sweet alcohol, mocha, chocolate beautiful dried fruit supported by tannins which are integrated and the aftertaste continues and continues. An excellent wine.

1974 Enrico Serafino Barolo

A perverted nose of meat gone bad (like slightly rotten) and plaster, which arise consideration of brettanomyces in this wine. Also slightly oxidized, reminding of a sweet sherry wine as in the nose there were, along with mature nebbiolo's burned sugar, also syrapy sweet fruit and truffles. Full bodied taste which develops on mid-palate into a beautiful and concentrated dried strawberry feeling. Also some orange notes on palate. However the taste does not last long and the wine's acidity is not up to par in this peer group.

It was striking to find these qualities in the wine as according to other tasters a recently tasted Serafino's barolo from late 1960s was in excellent condition and delivered in a big way.

1964 Giovanni Manzone Barolo (Monforte d'Alba)

Giovanni Manzone's 1964 barolo is one of the more aromatic and multidimensional wines in respect of nuances developed from long aging we have had in barolo tastings. There are more barolo tasting notes to be updated in my blog, however this Manzone wine is a really good one, if not great and was a favorite among the tasting crew.

Brick red color with beautiful orange developing in the sides and a watery rim. Loads of sediment. The beautiful mature wine expresses itself in multitude of ways in the nose. The bouquet is like meshing together some oxidised wine (like madeira) with notes of violet, licorice, fried sugar, sweet cranberry, apricot and "toffee & caramel", even some leather. No burned rubber here. Also some tasters noted "plum dessert cream" and "sour orange". Plenty to adore in this one. Further on the palate the wine has a nicely oxidised feeling, like in madeira wines. Dried fig, black tea and cigarbox dominate in the mouth while tannins are big and give structure, however do not attack, not anymore due to the wine being evolved.

1995 Ferrari PerlĂ© (Fratelli Lunelli, Talento Trento D.O.C.)  

Having never tasted Ferrari's sparking wines, the 1995 Perle offered a pleasant surprise as the sparkling wine was suberb. Some say that the wines from the region are closest to Champagne compared to other sparkling wines - Ferrari Perle stood in its own class on its own merits. Made metodo classsico, i.e. champagne method, this Italian jewel has small bubbles and the attack is velvety as acidity is mellow and almost caressing. Toasty, beautiful floral notes supported by fudge / caramel and light apple notes (the wine is 100% chardonnay). Acidity is medium minus at most, however the wine is in balance with the acidity level. "Pina colada".

Jun 8, 2012

1975 Chateau du Tertre (Margaux) - Past its peak however still offers plenty of enjoyment

The 1975 Chateau du Tertre's nose offers such great aromas and promise that it was a pity to find that on the palate the wine had already seen its peak. Most of the fruit of the wine had disappeared and the absence of fruit allowed maturation components (tannin, acidity and alcohol) to dominate the palate. However how much kicks and enjoyment can you get plainly from the bouquet of a wine? Plenty I say if you consider this wine!  Based on the promise of the nose only it would be really interesting to taste the chateau's wines from late 1970s to 1980s where fruit content should still remain. If any reader has a view on the vintages which are still alive, please comment below to this blog. 

How then to describe the beautiful nose? Try to think of espresso, plums, leather, chocolate, basil, herbs, meat and smoke in a slightly oxidized package, that's what you get in du Tertre at 37 years of age. It was extraordinary. Vintage 1975 is not considered a great one, at most average in Margaux. Thus wines from du Tertre older than 1975 could still survive today, however I would recommend enjoying them soon. The 1975 should have been drunk at least 5 years ago. 

The mature color was originally ruby however turned brick red/brown in this stage with lots of orange on the sides of the glass. On the palate the wine is medium bodied and there was still plenty of acidity. The taste is quite linear i.e. follows a direct path, not many layers here. While developing considerably in the glass this is a sensitive expression of mature bordeaux, although quite lean. The wine was surprisingly good with Morbier cheese. A friend of mine bought this bottle for €30 from the Netherlands.