Nebbiolo - traditionalists vs. modernists

Tasted July 31, 2013 by Collector1855 with 213 views

Introduction

We tasted some high end Nebbiolo at a collector's home. I am no expert on this grape but I greatly enjoyed the evening.

My take away is:
- Nebbiolo is really an aromatic and complex grape. I see why many people rave about it.
- I prefer the modernists. Their wines are just much softer, nicer and easier to understand. I wonder whether "traditional Barolo" is sometimes just a euphemism for unripe fruit or clumsy winemaking where drying tannins dominate the wine, like many Bordeaux of the 70ies and 80ies. Taste and decide for yourself.
- 2007 is great vintage for soft and ripe Baroli
- Clerico's Ciabot Mentin and Elio Altare's Arborina 2007 are my WOTN.

Flight 1 (8 notes)

Red
2007 Giovanni Almondo Roero Bric Valdiana Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Roero
93 points
Tasted blind. Medium garnet with ruby core. Expressive nose of ripe red and black fruit with floral notes and a bit of toast. Medium bodied with soft tannins, quite fruity and not at all astringent. A very nice example of a modern Barolo.
Red
2001 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Rabajà Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
88 points
Tasted blind. Medium garnet. Reserved nose of raspberries, dried fruit with some earthy and leathery, typical Nebbiolo, notes. On the palate quite restrained with some drying tannins. I did not get lots of pleasure from this wine, too conservative, not enough fruit.
Red
2008 Sottimano Barbaresco Cott√° Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
94 points
Tasted blind. Deep ruby. Expressive nose of dark fruits with some dried fruits and floral notes with eucalyptus, nice and complex. On the palate the fruit dominates as well. Soft and caressing as the tannins are ripe and balance the fruit well. Really well done. Good length too.
Red
2008 Elio Grasso Barolo Gavarini Chiniera Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
95 points
Tasted blind. Medium ruby. Expressive nose of raspberry, strawberry with flowers (rose, violets, elderflower). On the palate medium-full bodied with strong but pleasant fruitiness dominating. Very silky tannins and good overall balance and length. Another modern and caressing Barolo.
Red
2004 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
91 points
Tasted blind. Medium garnet. Classical Nebbiolo nose of strawberry, mint, leather, tar, yeast and an medicinal undertone, complex. On the palate medium bodied with strong tannins which are a bit drying. Aromatically complex, no doubt, but for my taste a bit too conservative on the fruit.
Red
2007 Elio Altare Langhe Nebbiolo Vigna Arborina Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
96 points
Tasted blind. Dark ruby. Expressive nose of dark fruits, fig, flowers with black tea and smoke/oak, really sexy and complex. On the palate full bodied with strong but very silky tannins buffering the spades of sweet and ripe fruit. Outstanding mouthfeel, good complexity and length. Really a great Nebbiolo for which you don't need a degree in Oenology to understand it. 96+
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Red
2007 Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
97 points
Tasted blind. Medium garnet. Reserved nose of raspberries, strawberries with dried fruit, sweet spices and tobacco. Nice and complex. On the palate medium-full bodied with very silky tannins. Wow, really nice. Very good complexity and length too. I just love the 2007 vintage which made ripe and soft Barolos. When I drink this I wonder whether "traditional Barolo" is all too often a euphemism for unripe fruit or clumsy winemaking where drying tannins dominate the experience. I guess everyone should decide for himself.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2000 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
96 points
Tasted blind. This is the "grand daddy" of all Baroli. Famous, sought after by collectors and therefore expensive, traditionalist style. Initially quite tight and closed but the aeration did wonders to it. Medium garnet. Expressive nose of raspberries, strawberries with leather, meat and olives. Very elegant and complex. On the palate medium-light bodied only but with excellent balance and elegance. Really complex and long. A good example that a traditionally made Barolo can have a soft mouthfeel too. 96+