The first time that I opened a bottle of the 2009 CRB Côt for my GF she liked it, but didn't get the big deal, "it's OK, not great". We were at a bustling restaurant drinking from bistro glasses so I decided to drop another bottle on her. This time I decanted it and only had the decanter on the table. The wine is deeply pitched and dark but not brooding. Strong dark pitted fruit with some sort of tree bark and forest thing laced with pungent minerals and dark earth. Enveloping. Strong but not fierce tannin demand food. Interestingly, grilled bread smeared with Humbolt Fog cheese and just roasted peppers makes the tannin melt and the fruit come right to the front. Drinking this wine makes me sentimental and nostalgic for lots of reasons. For the last vintage of the Côt from these 120 year old vines, which this certainly is, for the retirement of Didier and Catherine, such wonderful, dynamic, intelligent, humble vignerons, and most importantly for two dear friends that I miss very much. The CRB wines, and this wine in particular, are life affirming.
The 2013 CRB Pif continues to be a gem. Rough and tumble to start with blue and black fruits smashed on rocks so it splatters in your face. It has that pasty tannin from the côt that hits you right up front, but recedes a bit with air. It sort of demands food, so I oblige. For this particular bottle, I didn't finish it the first night (gasp!) so I was able to follow it a second when the fruit became much more confiture like without ever becoming clumsy. I also love the woodsy and herb notes that dance across the top of this wine.
FINALLY! I've checked in a few times over the years on the 1996 Produttori Barbaresco Rabajà without much luck. The other night was a GODDAMN-I-SHOULDA-BOUGHT-MORE moment. It has started to get to a great place for me with the mid-palate stitched together with umami-like sensations. The nose has deeply pitched black cherry fruit and other classical notes. There is the purity that 1996 always promised. There is still plenty of tannin but not so much that it it can't be enjoyed by itself, but it is really perfect with food as the fats meld with the tannin to produce a complete whole. Really fantastic and worth checking in on if you have a decent stash. I think it is still a year or three away from hitting full stride where it'll probably stay for a while.