Piedmont II - better and learnings

Barolo, Alba, others

Tasted November 23, 2019 - November 29, 2019 by MC2 Wines with 284 views

Introduction

Here we go again. Last year was spectacular so I knew we had to come back. So here we are in truffle land around Thanksgiving again. And while mistakes were made on this trip (we opted for a tour company and in retrospect we'd have been better off doing it ourselves esp given how much we like to geek out and learn about new places and do the research). Overall though, there was a lot to recommend it. After all, who doesn't love a city (Alba) that smells like chocolate every morning (Ferrero factory)? Or the copious amounts of white truffles that could be found on almost every dish? Or the charming little villages? And while we might have had a few 'misses', we also visited some great spots.

Flight 1 - Tasting @ Borgogno (8 notes)

When you land in Europe and you're a bit jetlagged and room is not ready the next best thing you can do is find yourself as the first entrants of a tasting room where there's lots of interesting things to discover.

White
2017 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Derthona Italy, Piedmont, Colli Tortonesi
Much fuller bodied. Lots of lemon peel. A hint of the waxy. It's very much rhone white for the piedmont taste. I was slightly searching for the lighter entree into the weekend and this wasn't that, but when I revisited I liked it.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli No Name Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
It's incredibly approachable. This is a wine I'd love to see on a restaurant wine list where I am drinking tonight and I need something I'd be interested int. It's all gravel and mineral. Some lighter tannin. A bit of fruit. A touch of the barnyard (but lower than many others this week). It's a wine that isn't necessarily complex but is when considering the daily drinker price.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2014 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Fossati Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Part of a horizontal of their single crus. Should be noted that they take the best of the single crus for the Riserva of that year so this is what is left. This is all very sandy soil. Very much lighter. Some red fruit. Good structure. For me even though this was meant to be most approachable I want more time (at least 10 years?). It's enjoyable though.
Red
2014 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Cannubi Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Part of their grand crus tasting but again the best of the wines always go into the Riserva so this is separate. Very fresh tasting. Lots of the minerals and a bit of the truffle here. More of the earthy notes than the Fossati. Just a hint of fruit. This is the most famous vineyard and meant to be the best, but it's somehow just a bit inbetween the two and as a result I found myself going back to the extremes more.
Red
2014 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Liste Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
The third of the three single vineyard horizontal. This is mostly red clay and has a very different profile to the others. Lots of red fruits. More iron. Lots more tannin of the truly mouth coating variety. This is a wine that needs a lot of time. And yet somewhere in the background I sense an elegance that wants to come out. I think I'd like this quite a lot with more years (at least 10-15).
Red
2012 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
At this price point (close to $60 USD) this is one of my favorites of the tasting. This was a very compelling, very young wine. So needs tons of time. And need to be ready to lie down. But lots of the darker red fruits, lots of the mineral, and overall tasty but just not quite fully integrated yet. Would love to see with more time.
Red
2003 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
I don't understand how this can have one of the best scores of the Riservas. Of the tasting it was my least favorite wine and I'm not 100% sure that across 4 of us we actually even finished the glass. I guess a very hot year which can be ok except it's breaking down. Lower acid. Dried leaves, smells like a barnyard, it tastes slightly better than the nose, but not by that much. It wasn't for me.
Red
1982 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Funnily enough they must have a lot of it since it's still on the by the glass pour. It's all young and fresh. Dried herbs. A certain vibrancy. Some dark fruit. It just rocked all of the others in the flight but to be fair it had the benefit of age and talent. Some of the younger ones will get here and they were more reasonably priced (the '12 or maybe the '14 Liste or Fossati).

Flight 2 - Tasting @ other Barolo wine store (3 notes)

I feel like I need to find the name of this store since the pricing was pretty good and I absolutely loved the proprietor who is a barolo native with some family in the states. We got a few random bottles for the trip here.

Red
2015 Paolo Manzone Barolo Meriame Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Initial reaction was higher alc than what we'd been drinking. It's darker in style. Some fig. Somehow it all integrates with time and at that point I enjoyed it. Agree some more age could help.
Red
2016 Azienda Agricola Quazzolo Barbaresco Ovello Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
This is the more modern style. When I say more modern what I mean is straight up modern. For me this tasted like chewing on oak chips. I am sensitive though so I can't say it would be like that for all. Higher alcohol again. Just too much. I couldn't bring myself to get to a third sip (one sip for first impression, second to confirm, third was just not appealing).
Red
2013 Franco Conterno Barolo Riserva Bussia Munie Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Prob my favorite of the threesome. This is red sour fruits, lots of minerals, a slightly surprising chewy tannin. But it still tastes great. I enjoyed. If I owned it though I'd be drinking many years later.

Flight 3 - Lunch @ La Cantinetta (1 note)

I remember dinner at this place last year and mostly an oven baked egg dish with truffles that was one of those very memorable dishes. This was good. Perhaps even very good. Wine list was a bit tougher though and looking back from the end of the trip I'd say that colored the experience a bit.

Red
2009 Cascina del Monastero Barolo Bricco Rocca Riserva Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
It's a bit of a toss up when you tell a restaurant that specializes in recent vintages and doesn't have the first few wines that you ordered that you'll take a bottle of something not on the list with age. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you don't. This is definitely more modern style. Heavier. More one-dimensional. I make it sound awful and it's not. Totally drinkable, but it didn't surprise or delight at all. It was a background wine to some food.

Flight 4 - Tasting @ Barololand (5 notes)

Last year we went into this shop to taste a few things and they had an amazing selection and I got pulled out to go to 'Barololand' (which is not marked anywhere on the building. Now we know. So we went through a few glasses and went back to get a bunch of stuff sent to the US as our upcoming wine club tasting is a Barbaresco theme.

Should also note this was the only Cappellano we had on the trip which was prob a miss as it was maybe my favorite in what was clearly a very strong line-up.

Red
2014 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
I had super unfair expectations for this wine. There was a big Piedmont event the weekend before and many said this was the producer that stood out. But this is the most recent release and those wines were many years old. So this is darker fruits, some mineral, there's a great vibrancy and brightness tot he wine. It's really made to age. There's just this background that maybe with some time you will pick up on elegance, but it's not there yet. So it was nice, but not really drinking right now. Hold for a long time.
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Red
2014 Cappellano Barolo Piè Rupestris Otin Fiorin (Gabutti) Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Maybe my favorite of this group. There is perhaps a slightly less precise note to this (which is odd for me - typically I love the precise), but this is all sea floor and maybe a touch of mint and red fruit and some great structure. It's a younger style wine but one that I want to spend time with over many years.
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Red
2012 Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo 90 di Riserva Bussia Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Stone and slate and red currant and maybe some other red fruits. There's a very clean ending to this wine. I struggle with what exactly was different but there was something different from the Cappellano which made me just love that wine and think this was very good. I think maybe vibrancy level?
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2012 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Tre Tine Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Another favorite in the flight. I know it's too young and I agree, but there was all of that iron and red fruits and this slightly dark and brooding character to the wine and yet at the same time a certain preciseness. Which I appreciated. Very nice
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Red
2011 Marziano Abbona Barolo Ravera Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Maybe the QPR of the trip. We stuck this next to the grand masters and while it wasn't at that level it didn't totally get destroyed. Again more of the sea floor. Black fruits. Lots of plum. It's very young and there's this note of potential. The tannins are almost overpowering. It's a more reasonably priced wine that badly needs the age. Tasty though.
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Flight 5 - DInner @ Rossobarolo (5 notes)

A definite miss last year. This place was just awesome. I wish we could do another dinner. Everything was so very top notch from the wine list to the food to the amount of truffles that ended up on a dish. It has earned a place in a regular line-up for us.

Red
2008 E. Pira & Figli (Chiara Boschis) Barolo Cannubi Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
We were pretty unfair to this wine. Stuck it next to some just straight up amazing bottles. And I'm not totally convinced on it. There was quite a bit of funk and barnyard which I don't think meant bad bottle but prob meant not the freshest profile. So for me this was stinky cheese and barnyard and old socks and all of that. Just the hints of black fruit. As I said, overshadowed, so I didn't totally get into it.
Red
2004 Roberto Voerzio Barolo La Serra Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Surprisingly not as overshadowed as you'd have expected next to a Montfortino. In fact for most of the evening this was the wine that was most vibrant and shining in the glass. It took some time for the other to open up. Lots of darker fruit. There's more here, but it's not ripe or intense and it just seems to be enjoyable. So I was a fan.
Red
2008 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Straight up special. Starts more austere. I liked the Voerzio better in the beginning and yet both struck me as needing a decant (which neither had). This wine though at the end of the night is pure old school elegance. It's got a crispness to it and a depth of flavor and just this overall impression of special that was hard to miss. I didn't take detailed notes, but this is the glass I finished my red wine evening with and it was best at the last sip.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
2018 Gianni Doglia Moscato d'Asti Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Moscato d'Asti
I almost never drink this style of wine at home and yet at the end of the night and a big meal I find that this is exactly the right thing to hit the spot. It's sweet, but not overdone. Very light. Like three steps away from sparkling water. Helps to manage the intensity of the food. Stays very easy. I look forward to this in this context.
Red - Fortified
N.V. Montanaro Barolo Chinato Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo Chinato
This is a style of wine that works for me with maybe 2-3 sips and that's it so that's all I had here. It was a bit more muted than classic chinato. Still lots of herbs. Medicinal aftertaste. But not something that feels overdone.

Flight 6 - Vino di Vicino tasting (5 notes)

This is a place we ended up last year and bought a few fun bottles so since it was raining we found ourselves back again. Did a few glass tastings. Appreciated the breadth of their offering esp in terms of what they have for sale with some good deals to be found if you look hard enough.

Red
2013 Castello di Neive Barbaresco Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
First wine of the day and for me the wine of the tasting although I think I was influenced by the fact that it was so light and easy and just a good gateway. It's clean and soft and some light red fruits and gentle and very soft tannins. Maybe not the wine I want to own for the long term, but one I can drink now easily.
Red
2014 Francesco Rinaldi e Figli Barolo Le Brunate Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
One of the favorites of the tasting. Tons of mineral and sea bed and black fruits and a higher tannin that made me think the wine needs some more years to be really in the right drinking window. It's very young, but there's good potential here.
Red
2013 Rivetto Barolo Briccolina Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
The dregs of the bottle. And still it beat the sibling but perhaps because it was true barolo to me. Very red fruits and red iron and all of that. A bit tired and not my favorite of the group, but drinkable.
Red
2013 Rivetto Barolo Leon Riserva Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
I have no explanation for what I got here. Everyone else also liked the other Rivetto more, but for me this was just straight hand soap and slightly offputting and no one else had the same impression (we all tried from the same glass and my initial impression was some residue but didn't seem to be true for the broader group).
Red
1996 Mauro Veglio Barolo Vigneto Gattera Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Out of a coravin and who knows how many pours the bottle had been through so hard to give a strong judgment. This glass was not my jam. All barnyard, truffle, coffee rinds. It's gone beyond the secondary into straight up tertiary. Not sure about it honestly.

Flight 7 - Lunch @ More e Macine (5 notes)

This is a restaurant that is prob a bit more wine than food. The people here know what they are doing and they love it. We ran into a group celebrating multiple birthdays and they saw our table with Selosse and Roagna and realized they had some kindred spirits. The first bottle poured was a Riesling that I didn't get a picture of. The last few were shared as well. Overall a lovely meal and one where we found ourselves still consuming lunch 3 hours later.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Jacques Selosse Champagne Premier Cru Lieux-dits Extra Brut Mareuil-sur-Ay Sous le Mont France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru
Champagne for the red wine drinkers palate. Originally served in a champagne bucket and in an effort to speed the evolution we kept it out and I tried to leave my glass alone as much as is possible when there is selosse in there so it could get some evolution. For as much as I did it, I was rewarded. The last sip I had of this wine was by far the best. It just adds some extra layers of complexity. It's a special wine and yet it's super young (Jan 2019 disgorgement) and so I don't think as special as it could have been. Added some weight and good acid and then just maybe a touch of the fancy french brioche.
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Red
2013 Roagna Barbaresco Faset Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Never seen this vineyard with this producer but I imagine it has to be a newer one and of course it's all small production. Rounder, more fruit (mostly sour red), it's got just the background of the minerals. Elegant. Not quite as good as the brother one we tried alongside and yet I liked this a ton.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2014 Roagna Barbaresco Albesani Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
My wine of the meal. It's true that it is higher acid and to me this mostly meant that we crossed into that slightly ethereal style and lots of red fruits and a very balanced style and while it gained some more body with time it continued to be very elegant. I enjoyed it a lot.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Rosé - Sparkling
2005 André Beaufort Champagne Grand Cru Brut Rosé Millésimé France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
Small pour. Tasted older than I would have thought. Slightly carmelized flavors. Reminded me more of old champagne than a rose really, but I love old champagne so I was a fan.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Arione Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
First vintage. Last year when we tasted here they told us about it but we'd never had it. It's very young. A lot tighter than the other wines. Lots of promise. Good acid. Underlying fruits. Minerals slightly there but not quite as powerful. Enjoyable again, but really needs years to drink.
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Flight 8 - Dinner @ Ristorante Bovio (5 notes)

Last year this dinner totally did me in and while this year I got through every course but the dessert it is quite a lot. If you come at this time of year you must do the white truffle menu. It is well worth it, just probably better to not have had a 3 hour lunch right before. Overall delicious. And a fun wine list to boot!

White - Sparkling
N.V. Guillaume Selosse Champagne Ville-sur-Arce Largillier Extra Brut France, Champagne
Can tell the selosse background in this producer. There’s that bit of oxidative in the beginning that jumps out and the wine has a roundness at the start. It’s the back end where it seems quite different. A bit leaner and a very quick finish. Left in the glass for most of dinner to see if it would open up (find that most of the Jacques wines require this), but this never did seem to evolve past the impression. Still a nice wine but not worth the tariff I don’t think.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2004 Sottimano Barbaresco Cottá Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Prob my least favorite of the three reds we had. This was big and heavy and brooding and didn’t have the right acidity to balance. Lots of dark fleshy fruits. And just a touch of ash. Overshadowed by the others.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2012 Giuseppe E Figlio Mascarello Barolo Monprivato Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
My favorite of the three reds even if it is a bit young. Quite approachable. There’s a nice clean and tart and slightly mineral and red fruits. Well structured and very enjoyable.
5 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2004 Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Originally a hint of mustiness here but it seemed to fade with time in the glass. Can tell there’s some years on this. Slightly tart red fruits. Bit of background mineral and sea floor. Tasty.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
2019 Saracco Moscato d'Asti Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Moscato d'Asti
It’s a tradition for us in piedmont after every meal to end with moscato. I wish I could really differentiate between these but I’m not sure I can given when they fall in the evening. This was lovely as always though. Not too sweet. Great bubbles. Very refreshing.

Flight 9 - Tasting @ Ca' dal Baio (6 notes)

This is the kindof winery I might have gone to for the name (Baio being a type of horse). I'm not sure it was exactly our wheelhouse. The wines were fine, but not something I will be seeking out. Of the group Pora probably my favorite.

Red
2018 Ca' del Baio Langhe Nebbiolo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
Complete and total BBQ wine and a reasonable drink for the price point. This is all stainless steel and then 5 days maturation with the skins before bottling. It's surprising how much tannin is still here in the wine. Very fresh. Almost not really a red except for the intensity of the tannin. Made me think BBQs and pool side in a summer. A wine to serve a touch chilled.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Ca' del Baio Langhe Nebbiolo Bric del Baio Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
The langhe nebbiolo but with 1 year in the barrel and about three times the amount of skin contact as the basic version. This was just bottled maybe 10 days ago. It's a lot darker in style. Rounder. The tannin is there but somehow maybe a bit more integrated. Softer. But with texture. It's still an easy wine. Probably I think better with food.
Red
2016 Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Autinbej Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
A very easy drinking Barbaresco from 3 of the vineyards in the area. One is eastern facing and two are western facing. Two years in the big barrel. Mice. Higher tannin. Darker red berries. Very young. This is an easy Tuesday night pizza wine.
Red
2015 Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Pora Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
My favorite of the group I think. It is again very much on the young side. Again a fair amount of tannin although not quite as intense as the Riserva. Darker red berries. A bit of tartness esp towards the end. Some almost green or stem notes in the finish. It's works pretty well.
Red
2013 Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Riserva Asili Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Initially this comes across as quite tannic and very intense. It needs a lot more time. Opened a bit in the glass, but always felt like it was a touch on the chewy side. Darker style. Leaves the impression of more oak. Spice cabinet. A bit more pepper. Needs time.
White - Sparkling
2018 Ca' del Baio Moscato d'Asti Particella 101 Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Moscato d'Asti
Very nice and light and bright and easy. Just the hint of honey and sweetness. It goes very well with a hazelnut cookie. Very fresh and easy.

Flight 10 - Bonus: Tasting @ Produttori del Barbaresco (1 note)

Hadn't originally planned to go here but they had a tasting room in downtown Barbaresco and we were early for our lunch appointment. Just tried the 50 year anniversary wine. This has never been my producer of choice, but I can respect that they make a nice wine.

Red
2008 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco 50º Anniversario Riserva Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
It's amazing what a few years can do for a wine. This spent 3 years in oak and then the rest in bottle and was just released back in September. It's amazing what age can do to a wine. Already getting some more secondary notes. Much more earthy than a lot of the barbaresco we had in the morning. Lighter red fruits. Still quite young with good aging potential. Some tannins, but they had softened. Overall an interesting bottle.

Flight 11 - Lunch @ Campanac (2 notes)

When you walk in you are greeted by big meat lockers which makes it clear what you should be thinking of eating. This was a menu I'd have liked to say 'yes' to most everything. Instead we all got a bunch of different stuff and there was lots of sharing. Steak was good (unfortunately out of the Chateaubriand which i think would have been amazing). Also enjoyed the goose plin quite a bit. And as we've yet to manage a visit to Roagna kept the tradition of at least ordering for some meals alive.

White - Sparkling
2013 Roses de Jeanne / Cédric Bouchard Champagne Blanc de Noirs Cote de Bechalin France, Champagne
Off the wine list at a restaurant in Barbaresco. Sometimes it is nice to get a bit of bubbles as well given all of the reds that we are drinking. This started quite tight. Tons of bubbles. Surprised me a bit. I'm not sure we ever got to a totally open version of the wine, but it was nice and a bit interesting which is always fun.
Red
2013 Roagna Barbaresco Pajè Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Lovely and very drinkable even if it is a bit on the young side. Love the blend between the tart red fruits and the more mineral nature of the wine. It's very elegant. Nice acidity and balance. A very well made wine and quite enjoyable.
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Flight 12 - Tasting @ Marchesi di Gresy (7 notes)

This place was packed - perhaps one of the busiest spots that we've visited. A bit less modern than the morning but still with the french oak although sounds like they were more comfortable with aging them. Overall I enjoyed it. The wine was nice and nicely priced and something I'd keep an eye out for in the future with some age.

White
2018 Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy Langhe Sauvignon Blanc Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
Very fresh and easy and drinkable. It's balanced. More honey. Maybe a bit of mineral. Decent body, but I wouldn't say very heavy (not for example at the level of a white rhone). Good acidity. Drinking easily.
Red
2013 Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy Barbera d'Asti Monte Colombo Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Barbera d'Asti
Vineyard was planted in 1998. This vineyard is located closer to Asti than to Barbaresco. 1 year in french oak, 1 year in the big barrels, 2 years in the bottle. Interesting because everyone talked a lot about the acid in this wine and I didn't really get that (at least not more than an average wine). It's not 100% my grape. Lots of darker fruits (red plum) and a more brooding style. Maybe a bit of rosemary. Very fleshy in nature. Somehow the weight seems to get to me a bit more here. I prefer the barbaresco style.
Red
2010 Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy Virtus Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
A very different wine. 60% Barbera and 40% CS. One of the first places to plant CS in the Piedmont region. 2 years in French Oak. Barbera is not my grape, but the Cab does seem to temper it a bit. This comes across as nice and fresh. Darker fruits. More of the green and herbal side. To be honest it reminds me of a CF profile more than CS. Well balanced. Interesting and different although not as good as the barbarescos.
Red
2011 Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy Merlot Monferrato Italy, Piedmont, Monferrato
Originally planted with the idea of also blending with the Barbera this wine apparently didn't work so well in that format and thus the single varietal version was born. It's a different sortof merlot. Has that velvety quality but it's almost like a velvet rope or something where there's some more texture than just that. Lots of red fruits but also a bit of licorice or annise. Very well priced.
Red
2016 Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy Barbaresco Martinenga Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
This was clearly a step up from the other wines. It's pretty. Lots of sweet dark fruits in the beginning. Good mineral character. A certain softness to the wine. The tannin is there, but not as overpowering as it is with some other wines we had this day. Spends 1 year in the bigger french barrels and one year in the very big Slovenian oak barrels and then almost one in barrel before release. With more time in the glass fruit turns towards the red and a bit more spice comes out.
Red
2014 Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy Barbaresco Riserva Martinenga Camp Gros Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
The Riserva in the line-up all from the same set of vines which are part of the Martinenga vineyard. This has more of a SW exposure than some of the other vineyards. It's dark red fruits from the beginning. Reminds me of a cherry liquor. Some spice. Bit more tannin. Very very young. Waits 5 years for release - 1 year in the french oak, 1.5 in the big barrel, and then closer to three years in bottle. Would be an interesting wine to see with some more time.
Red
2013 Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy Barbaresco Martinenga Gaiun Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Again from its own special plot which are the steepest and oldest vines in the vineyard. This yields a more powerful wine. Darker notes and still the sweet red berries. Some more spice and tannins. Needs a lot of age but I think I would enjoy it fairly well with 10-20 years.

Flight 13 - Dinner @ La Piola (3 notes)

Had been wanting to try this place given that it's connected to Duomo and was interested in their take on the Piedmontese comfort food. Didn't diisappoint (the ragu was one of the best that we've had). Overall a great meal. Took it a bit easier as we'd had a few big days in a row, but still quite nice

White - Sparkling
N.V. Michel Fallon Champagne Grand Cru Ozanne Blanc de Blancs France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
Off the wine list at La Piola in Piedmont (although I think it's really Piazza Duomo's wine list). This was very nice. It's got a slightly oxidative nose, but the palate is clear. Some more brioche and toast. Very fine bubbles. Drinks well.
Red
2014 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Rabajà Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
I love Giacosa so take this with a grain of salt but I'd say this was one of the least compelling bottles of his that I've had. Prob because it's much too young. It's light and elegant, but missing any depth to the wine. Came across as a bit basic which I suppose some of these white labels are meant to be. Unfortunately the price tag doesn't quite match the wine in the bottle at this stage.
White - Sparkling
2018 Vignaioli di S. Stefano (Ceretto) Moscato d'Asti Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Moscato d'Asti
Goes down crazy easily. I felt like a blinked and the bottle was gone across the four of us. It's very light and spritzy and good acid and nice sweetness and while I was a bit skeptical how it would do with a chocolate based desert it worked quite well. Very versatile.

Flight 14 - Tasting @ Fenocchio (7 notes)

This was a charming tasting. Interesting to speak to a member of the family who is in the fifth generation of wine making. I think we understood a bit more about the Bussia region as well. As one of the biggest MGAs it had never made as much sense to me. Also got a better feel for how the heyday of potentially expanding in Barolo is getting cut off for most of the family based wineries. Wonder what impact that will have going forward.

Red
2018 Giacomo Fenocchio Dolcetto d'Alba Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Dolcetto d'Alba
Our first dolcetto of the trip and while it's not a wine I feel a strong desire to have a ton of on this trip, I'm sure happy to have some. It's made in purely stainless steel. All fresh and fruits and reminds me of a darker strawberry. Easy wine. Made to drink with pizza or slightly chilled on a warm summers day when you still want red. Somehow still has some tannins and structure, but it's now overpowering. One of my favorites at this price point, but prob not something I'd drinking regularly.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Giacomo Fenocchio Barbera d'Alba Superiore Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d'Alba Superiore
I continue to super struggle with this grape. In almost any incantation. This is six months in stainless steel and six months in oak and it is the wine that gets the newer barrels, but mostly there's a lot of old barrels at this winery. The fruit is very intense. It is slightly sickly sweet and there's just a hint of stewed. Not particular to this maker, but this just never seems to be my grape.
Red
2018 Giacomo Fenocchio Langhe Freisa Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
6 months in stainless and 6 in wood. Still that 12-13 days of maturation. It's surprising to me this wine isn't more popular. To me it is many steps above the Barbera. Raspberry and blueberry and blackberry and just a slightly touch of drying tannin. Makes you want BBQ food. There is this slightly fresh note to it and overall drinks nicely esp for wine in that price point. Wonder when NY somms will get into it.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Giacomo Fenocchio Langhe Nebbiolo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
100% nebbiolo. More mineral notes. Get some orange peel. A bit of the softer feel. Tannins a bit harder than the earlier wines. I wouldn't be surprised if a few years (3 maybe) made this come into a better window.
Red
2015 Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
40 days of maturation, 3 years in the big Slovenian oak. Dark fruits and almost a darker floral structure. Some plum and similar. There's a nice balance to it. Almost a prettiness which I like.
Red
2015 Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo Bussia Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Bit more fruit than the standard Barolo, a middle mineral side, darker fruits. This is drinking pretty nicely. Black berries. Some drying tannin but the tannin is a bit softer. It's actually pretty approachable given the grape and style. Nice.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo 90 di Riserva Bussia Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Interesting the difference with a few more years in bottle and longer maturation. This is now more of the cherry, a bit of tartness, a light mineral character. There's a great elegance to this one. Drinks nicely, but this is made for the longer run.

Flight 15 - Lunch @ Trattoria della Posta (3 notes)

One of the highlights of the trip for me. The food here was perfectly excellent and the wine list was really fun. Tons of interesting producers and while we went with a three wine lunch it would have been easy to find a number of others that we were interested in. Some of the best wine service we've seen all trip. A true gem.

Red
2012 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Interesting how bright, red fruits, cherries, light and just a hint of the mineral side this wine was. It was approachable from the get go. And oh so very pretty and elegant and balanced. Drinking very well even so young. Wonder how it will evolve. Generally I love age on my wines, but there's something very appealing about this phase where the fruit is still so very vibrant.
5 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2012 Vietti Barolo Ravera Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
The dark and brooding one. This wine was served in large Riedel Sommelier series and it needed as much air as it could get. While the Barolo Mascarello was open for business right from the get go this was shy and tight and slightly tannic. We drank prob over 2 hours and I think it was only after it had spent 1.5 hours in the glass that I started to feel like it was showing a bit more. Darker notes and fruits and slightly more herbal in nature. Tasty wine.
Red
2006 Roagna Barbaresco Crichët Pajé Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Bucket list for me and so when I saw it at a not totally ridiculous tariff we figured we were up for a bit of a splurge. It was completely worth it. The elegance in this wine is just up another level. It's most driven by the mineral and it's funny how there's almost that sea floor that they talk about that you can actually taste a bit in this wine. Darker fruits. Great acid. And just perfectly precise. To me could easily be the wine of the trip.

Flight 16 - Tasting @ Oddero (6 notes)

This is a place you see a ton of around the US and we've ordered a few times when we want a moderately priced barolo (esp as some with age can be available on wine lists and similar). To me they are solid wines. Not one to knock your socks off, but feels like every time we have them we like them.

White
2015 Oddero Langhe Bianco Collaretto Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
The last year that this was a blend of Chard and Riesling although vast majority is Riesling (70%). All stainless steel. Very fresh. Green, papaya, tropical fruits. There is a touch of that chard flavor right in the finish that isn't my favorite, but was fun to try.
Red
2016 Oddero Barbera d'Asti Superiore Nizza Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Barbera d'Asti Superiore Nizza
18 months in oak (mostly Austrian). Grapes are grown in Asti area. Darker fruits. Plum and fig and all of that. I taste the alcohol more here than I do with the nebbiolo which prob isn't fair since I don't think it's higher. More oak. Very young. It's better than some of the other Barberas we've had, but it's not really for me.
Red
2014 Oddero Barolo Brunate Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
First thing I noticed was alcohol on the nose, but that went away. There's a lot more of an herbal, rose hip, darker fruit profile. Everything is a touch on the muted side. I think needs some more time.
Red
2015 Oddero Barolo Villero Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Tasting from a bottle that had been opened the day before and I think that made some difference for me. This seemed like the pretty and the dark fruits and even an almost minty note could come through. Tannins still there and a bit grippy but not as much as some others. The more air it got in the glass, the better the wine got.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Oddero Barolo Riserva Bussia Vigna Mondoca Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
More accessible than the first two barolo from this producer. It's got darker fruits and this impression of flower petals that you might see at a funeral (I'm not sure the flower, but the dark almost black ones). Slightly lower mineral style to the profile. Decent tannin. Good.
Red
2009 Oddero Barolo Riserva Vigna Rionda Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Despite having the most age of the group this wine to me was probably the least accessible. Just a dark and young little beast. Lots of tannins. There's almost like a black grape juice character to it. Maybe also plum and a riper style of fig. Certain freshness to it. Then the tannin hits you again. Give it some time to resolve. Somehow I think this could be the most beautiful of the group, but it's not anywhere near drinking window yet.

Flight 17 - Dinner @ Osteria La Libera (3 notes)

First time at this place. The thing about food in Alba is that every place is basically amazing and so when you like one a bit more or one a bit less I think at the end of the day it's a bit of splitting hairs. This I didn't like quite as much as I have liked other places, but all of the food was still good. Wine list was reasonable and easy to follow, but did seem like a few of the ones we were most excited about weren't available unfortunately. Overall good, but given how tough the food scene is in Alba I wouldn't be surprised if this didn't make it into the regular line-up.

Red
2013 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo Cicala Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Not as detailed notes and unfortunately didn't get to writing this one up until a few days later. It's red fruit dominated. Fuller bodied than some others. Slightly lower acid and more roundness. A young wine that could use some more time. Enjoyable though.
Red
2012 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
These wines have been interesting for me this trip. Traditionally Giacosa is a favorite and I am esp partial to the Asili which I think is one of the more elegant styles. Next to the Cicala this came across as a bit thinner and quieter. Still a tasty wine, but perhaps not the right contrast to have.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
2018 Saracco Moscato d'Asti Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Moscato d'Asti
Same producer as earlier in the trip although I think this was the year earlier still. Very nice and light and clearly well enjoyed by our group because when I went to pour myself a second glass there was none left in the bottle!
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 18 - Tasting @ Vietti (4 notes)

There are times where I think it's very clear that this is something that is a hobby, and I'm meant to be an amateur and barrel tasting is one of those times. I just don't really love it. Seems to kill the palate and the wine (as it's not meant to be ready) is not ready. Or even close. Then again, when you get the chance to tag along with Luca Vietti in his cellar the correct answer has to be 'yes'. So off we went through all the different barrels from the different vineyards from '17-19. While I didn't enjoy the barrel tastes so much, there are two new vineyards coming online that I think will be spectacular and listening to Luca talk about how he views wine and the family history and all of that made it well worth it. And at the end he opened up the new '16s so I took some notes on those at least.

Red
2016 Vietti Barolo Rocche di Castiglione Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Darker fruits and plums and berries in that almost ripe but not quite there state so that they come across as juicy but not overdone (this to me is a sweet spot of wine making that is difficult to capture). Background of oriental tea leaves. Mouth coating tannin (although our palates already a bit fatigued with all of the barrel tasting). Much too young to be opening, but you can see the promise.
Red
2016 Vietti Barolo Brunate Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Perhaps because of the name I've always thought of the Brunates as more dark and brooding and all of that but here there is some clear elegance and refinement (even in a wine that is very very very young). Yes the dark fruits, but a lovely minerality and a hint of black flower petals and almost you can tell there's some sand in the soil through the wine and while I don't enjoy eating sand at all there is some of that background flavor here (perhaps without the harsh texture) that also seems to add to the wine. Needs a lot of years, but clearly a very good one.
Red
2016 Vietti Barolo Lazzarito Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Probably the most powerful of the group. Again some dark and brooding style. It's got mouth coating tannin and the intensity comes through early. Background of the herbal. Some dusty style. Darker fruits. Of all of them this prob needs the most time, but still nice.
Red
2016 Vietti Barolo Ravera Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
In the past this has been one of my favorite vineyards and it was fun to learn more about it. Not originally one that might have been worth of 'Grand Cru', but given the change in temperatures over the last few years there is a feeling that this is one of the areas that is moving up in the world. Another stronger style (similar to the Lazzarito but perhaps not quite that far). Black cherry and mineral and this salt of the earth feeling to it. The stuffing is all lovely and the wine just needs time. I think will be a very good one one day.

Flight 19 - Lunch @ Ristorante Le Torri (2 notes)

A favorite lunch spot of mine from the previous year mostly because I really enjoyed their ragu. Still delicious. And had the parmesan risotto with truffle which was also great. A bit rushed in this case which was a pity, but a spot that we'll continue to seek out as it's always quite tasty.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Pierre Péters Champagne Grand Cru Extra Brut France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
A positive addition to our trip to Piedmont this year has been the inclusion of champagne as a nice cleanser and to start meals. This is a nice round standard slightly toasty variety. After a bunch of barrel tastes it was quite delicious.
Red
2010 Roagna Barolo Pira Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Yep, still quite taken with it. A bit tighter than the 2011 that we had with dinner that night, but it's a wine that continues to be elegant, more mineral driven, light black fruits, and overall I think maybe it's the texture and purity that draws me so much to these. Very lovely.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 20 - Tasting @ Cascina delle Rose (5 notes)

Another really charming place. Interesting to see some of the differences between producers where wine has been in the family for five or six generations and ones where it's much more recent. Second generation family which are doing some nice barbarescos and really very well priced. Have not seen them on many lists or in the US much at all, but the kindof wine I'd look for in a restaurant since the mark-up would feel less egregious.

Red
2018 Cascina delle Rose Dolcetto d'Alba A Elizabeth Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Dolcetto d'Alba
Dolcetto as an every day drinking wine works for me. Just soft and easy and fruity and makes me think of a lovely summer day but where you just want something that's a bit more than a red or rose. I think best served on the cooler side. From vines planted in 1958 so been around for quite awhile. On the barbaresco hill so prob should be planted to those, but I like the story that they keep some for this wine which was quite nice.
Red
2018 Cascina delle Rose Langhe Nebbiolo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
All stainless steel treatment which to be honest for some of these wines can be quite refreshing. It's has nice red fruits and a lovely freshness and very easy to drink. Makes me think of pizza. The kindof wine when you don't want to be contemplating a wine so closely.
Red
2016 Cascina delle Rose Barbera d'Alba Donna Elena Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d'Alba
Just not my grape. Three years in wood. It's all dark and brooding and reminds me of fruit salad with just a hint of the stewed (I don't think this was the wine making, I think it's just what this grape does or at least the impression it gives me over and over). Bit too much.
Red
2016 Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco Tre Stelle Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Lovely and always love shifting back to barbaresco after the barbera. This has a touch of heat and then quickly fades and it's all sweet red fruits and softer tannins and a very feminine style. After the initial impression fruit goes a bit more towards the sour side but in that great way that makes the wine feel very balanced. Enjoyable.
Red
2016 Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco Rio Sordo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Again more of the softer style although there's def some tannin in there. Darker fruits. More earthy. Needs a bit more time and less immediately approachable than the Tre Stelle but feels like a wine that will be lovely in 10 or so years.

Flight 21 - Dinner @ Osteria dell'Arco (4 notes)

I finally found the purveyors of one of my favorite egg dishes of last year. Which was yet again truly delicious. Also appreciated the ragu. So a great overall meal. Decent wine list. Roagna continues to be a go-to for me and never disappoints.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Ernest Remy Champagne Grand Cru Brut Mailly France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
Quite enjoyed this. Very light and refreshing and enjoyable. Great price point. Different than some other styles I’ve had. It’s more soft and gentle. Great value.
Red
2011 Roagna Barolo Pira Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Starts off with a bit of funkiness but settles into itself with some time in the glass. Mineral and dark fruit similar to the other years of this. Perhaps a touch more approachable. Not sure it’s the absolute best year of this, but it’s great as always.
Red
2011 Paolo Scavino Barolo Riserva Novantesimo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
We were heading to this winery later in the week but assumed it might be tough to get a taste and this wine is the reason we thought it made sense to do the visit. I remember thinking it was quite lovely and elegant in it's young age. With the extra year feels like it might have built out a bit more body. There is perhaps more of a noticeable oak than some other wines, but I didn't think overdone at all. It was nice although I think could use a bit more time and perhaps was missing some of the acid I remember from last year.
White - Sparkling
2019 La Morandina Moscato d'Asti Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Moscato d'Asti
While we had a moscato with basically every meal it was always at the end of the night when I was paying much less attention than I should. And they always seemed to go quite fast. I remember this one being very nice. I think perhaps a bit on the lighter side. Very easy drinking.

Flight 22 - Tasting @ Cavallotto (8 notes)

One of the tastings we loved last year since the winery is clearly classic and the wines are very good. Fun to be back and to do some mini verticals and horizontals to understand how 2012 and 2013 affected the wines.

Red
2018 Cavallotto Dolcetto d'Alba Vigna Scot Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Dolcetto d'Alba
Very easy and fruity and spicy and yet there's a hint more structure than the standard dolcetto. This is a wine that spends 6 months in old slovenian big oak barrels. Very fresh and easy and yet has character. Nice.
Red
2017 Cavallotto Langhe Freisa Bricco Boschis Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
12-15 months in oak. Lovely freshness, great acid, juicy. There's some pretty fruits. Slightly drying tannin. Lots of berries. Made me think of food that has a bit of a fatty note to balance the wine. A great table wine.
Red
2017 Cavallotto Langhe Nebbiolo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
Again lots of fruit and darker fruits. It's also easy and drinking nicely although that drying tannin makes me wonder if a few more years would make it a touch better. It wants food. Some red style. A great bargain.
Red
2016 Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
From a magnum in an unlabeled bottle that is prob better described as a custom blend from the large barrels than the final wine. It is however very tasty. Perhaps a bit higher alc at the beginning. Already has some lovely black fruits, good acid. Tannins are very fine. There's a nice and rustic style to the fruit. It's not getting bottles for a few more months and then released a few months after that and definitely a primary wine, but also one that is showing super well.
Red
2012 Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Vignolo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
This spends five years in oak and yet it hardly comes through. Higher acid. Theoretically less ageable than the 'classic' vintage '13, but certainly not overdone. I get everygreen, house plant, and just that general large leafy structure style to it. Black fruits. There is a slightly more refined style to this. It's interesting and time in the glass continues to soften it. Very nice. A wine that is built for a longer haul than some of the others we've been trying.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2012 Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Another 5 years in oak. This is definitely the red fruits but also more like earthenware potware. It's pretty. Fresh. Some lovely almost sweet and sour red currant. I don't think it's really close to the drinking window, but I do think it will be excellent when it gets there.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Vignolo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Blackberry on the nose and also in the glass. Good spices. Soft but drying tannin. Again that elegance, but also the youth. The spices seem to expand in the glass. Enjoyable, but not for drinking today.
Red
2013 Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Prob the most closed of the riservas that we've tasted. Darker than the '12 that was all in the red fruits. This is more in a middle zone. Some spice. Some touch of earth. I do believe it will be really lovely, but it is truly a baby.

Flight 23 - Lunch @ Osteria Veglio (3 notes)

This was recommended to us by a person in the restaurant business in NY so we were excited to try. Everything well done and overall enjoyable. Also fun to see that they support their neighbors and had a wines from of the really nearby places that haven't been at other spots.

Rosé - Sparkling
N.V. Legras & Haas Champagne Rosé France, Champagne
Sometimes I think rose champagne is missing the interest of standard bubbles and yet it's always fun because who doesn't like pink bubbles? This was that wine. Totally fine. It got value for Legras (RL Legras is a champagne I gravitate towards) and I hoped there was some familial influence but if there was I didn't see it. Totally fine. Light red fruits. Basic. But priced as such.
Red
2011 Lorenzo Accomasso Barolo Riserva Rocchette Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
This is a touch one. It's possible it was an off bottle. Certainly the nose was all funk and different and just that slight hint of cardboard. And yet the palate was all expressive and fruit and spice and seemed to be totally fine. I'm not great at borderline cork and some thought maybe borderline brett (which for me is often a benefit). I don't know. I know it wasn't as clear or crisp as some barolo can be. Drinks totally fine, but then not quite as good as the '08 Voerzio Cerequio so not sure if that is right.
Red
2008 Roberto Voerzio Barolo Cerequio Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
A producer I've always been drawn to with a vineyard that I tend to like. It's got that pretty red fruit that I like. More earthy. More texture. Felt like there could have been more oak from the texture, but didn't get the resulting flavor. It was drinking in a really good spot. I might normally say 10 years old too early, but this to be seemed spot on.

Flight 24 - Tasting @ Burlotto (6 notes)

I was tentatively excited about this one - I'd read some tasting notes on Piedmont that included this place along with many of my favorite spots and so I hoped that I might like it as well. Not disappointed. This is one of my favorite visits we've done.

Red
2018 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Verduno Pelaverga Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Verduno Pelaverga
First time with this grape and I didn't quite know what to expect. It's very soft and fruity and a bit spicy. Meant to be strawberry and white pepper and I see that. There's the red fruits. Very fresh and very clear. It is nice easy drinking red wine and gets some points for being the first time with the varietal.
Red
2018 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Dolcetto d'Alba Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Dolcetto d'Alba
A bit different since there's some whole stem in this blend. 3 months in the oak. Very fruity. Very juicy. This is going to sound bad, but it's the kindof wine I'd love to have around for friends who are not perhaps as geeky about wine but want some glasses and want something that evokes 'yummy' as a descriptor.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barbera d'Alba Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d'Alba
Much less aggressive than some other barberas so while I'm not a convert on this grape I'd take this version over a lot of the other ones we've had. 3 months in barrel. It's a bit less fruity. More spice. Mostly just a level back on flavors. If everything else runs at 8 this is running at 4. Which gives a softer feel. Totally fine. Still not seeking out.
Red
2018 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Nebbiolo Langhe Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
Great fruit, very fine tannin. Soft. Light. Drinks well. Certain prettiness to it. It's not in the same ballgame as the barolo, but I see the whole value play.
Red
2015 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo Acclivi Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Selection blend of the barolo classified grapes (and the higher end side of that - there's another barolo that are the remaining). This spend 30-33 months in oak in general. Spice and mineral and background of cherry. Pretty and just slightly juicy. Very soft. Very nice.
Red
2015 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo Monvigliero Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
First wine in one of our tastings this week that has floored me. This wine is special. Should underline and bold and all of that. This was a wine that made me take notice and I'll be on the lookout ever hereafter. It's pretty. Whole cluster fermentation which is of course very unusual in barolo but more usual for this cru. Elegant. Gentle. Sweet red fruits. Spicy. And did I mention beautiful? There's something about how this is pulled together where that is just the perfect word for it. Absolutely beautiful.
8 people found this helpful Comments (1)

Flight 25 - Dinner @ Dulcis Vitis (4 notes)

New spot for us although we'd tried to go last year (it is better if you have a reservation). Everything was really good and the ragu dish was just amazing. Perhaps would have gone with a more basic moscato as this was a pretty big meal and I was looking for just the light touch, but a place I'd love to return to next year. Also very much enjoyed the wine list with some fun bottles that had a touch more age.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Philippe Gilbert Champagne Cuvée Les Amoureuses France, Champagne
Had never heard of this champagne, but it was a reasonable price on the menu and so went for it. I'd say it's a nice champagne although does not really jump out. More just the standard bubbles type. But a good meal starter.
Red
2006 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Had not had much from this producer before this week, but I've been really impressed with everything I've had. Most of the wine producers have gotten very caught up in the MGAs but here it's the standard blend from across vineyards. There's always a certain elegance to the wine. Some red fruits. Some minerals. Very clean in structure. I enjoyed this quite a bit. It was opened and decanted and I think got better and better with every sip.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2001 Vietti Barolo Brunate Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
A touch of funk on the nose but that blew off. With a name like Brunate I expect this to be all power and intensity and it is more black fruited than red, but the more sandy soils also seem to keep it just a touch more nuanced and balanced than I would have expected. Touch less structure than there was on the Bartolo we had alongside. But very tasty.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
2009 Ca' D'Gal Moscato d'Asti Vigna Vecchia Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Moscato d'Asti
Every night we have been ending our day with Moscato because it is light and easy and almost acts as a digestivo. This was not that. It's more complex, more different. Hint of almost an oxidative note to it. It's a touch less totally sweet. Almost a hint of petrol. I think it was very interesting for what it was, but not totally sold on it for the end of a big Piedmontese meal where what you want is a bit less.

Flight 26 - Tasting @ Bartolo Mascarello (2 notes)

It is impossible to not be completely charmed by Maria Teresa and her passion for wine. We often ask about favorite vintages and everyone talks about the 'classics' or 'fresh' ones and she talks about all of the struggles and the places where the wheat gets separated from the chafe (my words, not hers). And it's true that every wine we've had from her has been just lovely. The Freisa with it's bit of bubbles also a bit interesting.

Red
2017 Bartolo Mascarello Langhe Freisa Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
Touch of effervescence which surprised me at first since I've only known this grape as a still variety, but apparently B. Mascarello does it a bit differently. Some secondary fermentation in the bottle and each a bit different so different levels of bubbles. Interesting because I would have thought the bubbles would add freshness, but this actually tasted a bit more intense in some ways than the other Freisa we've had. It's lots of very dark and brooding fruit. Touch of extra tannin. Made for the summer months to be served at cellar temp (so a touch cool) to go with more of the meat style foods. Enjoyable and a different style of wine.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Most of the places we visited this trip were all about the MGA (single cru vineyards) so it was refreshing to see the other side of the coin as well. There is just the one barolo. Over the course of our trip we had a number of them from different years and I liked every one including the 15 (which is I think really on the young side to be drinking). Beautiful elegance to the wine. Lots of red fruits and minerals and maybe a hint of flower petals. Get some almost iron ore flavor here which I tend to like in my wine. Even as it sat in the glass it was continuing to open up and get better. Very pretty style of wine and very much enjoyed (if I owned though this is sitting down for at least 15 years).
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 27 - Mini-tasting @ Damilano (3 notes)

We were running a bit early for our lunch and so found ourselves in the next door Damilano tasting room. Had a lovely dinner with these wines at Ai Fiori last year and fun to revisit the place.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Damilano Brut Metodo Classico Millesmato Italy, Piedmont, Piemonte DOC
No one has quite figured out how to be champagne, but for an easy set of bubbles as almost a pre-lunch refresher this was not bad. There's a bit of leanness and sweetness at the same time which surprised me. Fairly basic, but refreshing.
Red
2014 Damilano Barolo Liste Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Our second Liste vineyard (we had it the first day at Borgogno) and so fun to come back and try another. Similar to that incantation this came across as a 'fatter' wine. Darker red fruits, longer finish, more of a baby. Could use some more time I think. Cerequio was generally preferred among our group, but I will give that this had the better (and longer finish).
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2014 Damilano Barolo Cerequio Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Interesting. In general the preferred wine between this and the Liste. I did like the way it was a bit lighter, bit more acidity, fresher red fruits. Slightly lower on the minerality I associate with barolo and also a bit of a quicker finish. It was to me the wine that was more approachable today, but I don't know if we'd feel the same way in 20 years.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 28 - Lunch @ Camina Massimo (4 notes)

Another repeat from last year but well worth the trip. I think the only Michelin place we did and I always forget all of the extra food that seems to come with those. Still, it was all delicious. First time to have truffles with lobster and while perhaps the barolo didn't totally agree, I did. Great 'last' meal.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Dehours Champagne Grande Réserve Brut France, Champagne
I have been impressed at how many smaller champagne houses seem to make their way to Piedmont restaurants. This was very reasonably priced. Blend across three grapes. I found it enjoyable. Reasonable bubbles, nice pairing with some of the early bites that we had, and almost a bit of a lighter style in general which was nice. Disgorged in May 2018.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Tre Tine Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
This was a winery I was very excited to visit, but our tour company dropped it from the list in one of the last itinerary updates so we decided to do our own mini tasting on the last day. Next to the Brunate. This one was much more approachable I think between the two and it was the first bottle to go. It's a darker fruit profile. Still good minerals. Again that elegance. There was a touch more give here than the Brunate and perhaps a bit more ready to drink young although both to me needed a lot more time. Went best when paired with some of the meat plin options that others had.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Our own mini horizontal of their wines. Next to the Tre Tine. I know this is a vineyard that is meant to be a bit more accessible with the sandy soil, but this was definitely more of the dark and brooding style. Darker fruits. Some mineral. Very tight. It's was almost all primary at this stage. There is an underlying elegance with the power which I liked, but not even close to being ready to drink yet.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White - Sparkling
2018 Fattoria San Giuliano Moscato d'Asti Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Moscato d'Asti
Off the by the glass list. A nice bit of sweet to the end of the meal and was hoping the bubbles would also work well as a touch of digestif. Despite having drink a glass of this basically every day of our trip I struggled to truly differentiate across the different producers. This one seemed fine. Maybe a bit heavier in style than some others? I found myself most preferring the very light and just the hint of sweet style the most, but all were good and esp so compared to many of the versions found in the US. Appreciate the freshness of it.

Flight 29 - Tasting @ Paolo Scavino (5 notes)

A winery that was on our original list for a visit but towards the bottom and I was a bit unsure how I felt. Was pleasantly surprised. This is clearly part of the history of the place and someone who experienced all of the stages (from the full farm because you can't make money off just barolo through to a lot of investment in new vineyards and a winery and truly making it into a family business). The stories were great and the wines were fun to try.

White
2018 Paolo Scavino Langhe Sorriso Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
Was intrigued to try this. 40% chard, 40% SB, 20% viognier. It was the last one that caught my interest as we haven't see that grape much (at all?) in Piedmont. Early flavors are more on the chard side, a bit of that lemon chablis style, some what of an edge but the backend is all viognier and honey and a nice roundness and more floral notes. Not sure how I feel overall as I'm not really a chard drinker, but I did find myself enjoying the finish. Fun to get to try.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Paolo Scavino Langhe Nebbiolo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
From declassified barolo fruit (or at least both vineyards are classified to be barolo vineyards). Same plots every year. It's meant to be the 'entryway' drug into barolo. More affordable and perhaps a bit softer and easier. 10 months in oak. Very pretty red fruits, lower mineral content, lots of freshness, a hint of flowers. It's fairly easy drinking. The kindof wine I could see serving when you want something that drinks well, but that doesn't really require any contemplation.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2014 Paolo Scavino Barolo Bricco Ambrogio Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
The most approachable of all of the barolos served which could have been the vintage (only 2014 we drank) or could have been the vineyard (more in the newer area of barolo where there's a bit more sand to be had). Lots of dark currants and black fruits and a bit more minerality. There's a softness to the tannin which is the major differentiation between this and the other wines.
Red
2015 Paolo Scavino Barolo Ravera Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Blacker fruits, more refinement in the style (perhaps a bit more edge and less just soft). Decent tannins. Hint of mint. Drinking well, but of course will improve with age.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric dël Fiasc Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
First time I think with this wine which is the star of the portfolio and the one that's been single vinified since 1978 and helped put Scavino on the map. There is a bit more here and as a result it comes across as the youngest or least ready of the group. Darker red fruits, a bit more drying tannin, just this very little hint of sweetness. Very young, but would love to get to try one of the older ones and lots of great pieces to this.

Flight 30 - Bonus bottles (3 notes)

Always you end up with a few times where you want to pop something just to hang out and we're lucky enough to have an Air Bnb with some good hang out spots.

Red
2005 Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy Merlot Monferrato da Solo Italy, Piedmont, Monferrato
We drank this over a few different nights. Purchase at the winery and very reasonable and assumed it would be fun to try one of these with some age. This was a nice easy drinking wine. The merlot plushiness comes out a bit more, but always with a slightly darker fruit note. Not a wine that totally jumps out, but one that was nice over conversation with friends.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Bruno Rocca Barbaresco Rabajà Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Another wine that we tried over a few days. This was a purchase mostly because the very charming old man who ran the wine store's nephew made the wine. And so sometimes it's fun to try in those circumstances. Very young. Very tight. Even on the second day wasn't giving up much. Darker and brooding and esp so for a barbaresco. Not sure we gave it the right treatment though as first night was a pnp and the second it had been open and corked overnight, but no thoughts to a decant or anything like that. We were basically looking for wine we could sip over a good conversation with friends.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2012 Lorenzo Accomasso Barolo Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
I don't think I really did this wine justice as we had it at the end of the night at the end of some bonus bottles. We had been interested to try and I'm very glad that we got an opportunity to have a bottle over lunch later in the week. To me this was either a bit too young or a bit too tight or maybe my palate was a bit too fatigued. But it didn't jump out of the glass at me. More in the red style of fruits. Well structured. As the second bottle we had was also a middle review not sure if it's that I don't get the producer or that the story of bottle variation is true.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Closing

Every time we come back to a region I feel like we learn from the times before and we have just amazing times. This was an odd one for us since for the first (and last) time we worked with a company to help us organize visits. We had hoped that someone who was from here would have the access and we were happy to pay for that. We learned that what you think you are paying for and what you actually pay for are not the same thing (of my original wish list we went to none of the 'most wanted' wineries and only a few of the second level which ended up being my favorite visits). So next year we are back to do it yourself.

We did much better this year though with restaurants. Last year we didn't understand the importance of a reservation and we rectified the problem. Rossobarolo and Trattoria del Posta were standouts for me. I'm looking forward to going back (and to many of the others).

Similarly, this year we learned to appreciate staying in a town near many of the great restaurants and walking a bit more so we made Barolo and Alba our main points and I really enjoyed that.

Overall, it was an amazing trip. Fun to do with some extra friends. Piedmont is truly a special place and I'm already thinking about Piedmont III.

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