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Alba Wine Exhibition '08
Alba Wine Exhibition 2008

At the gracious invitation of the Unione Produttori Vini Albesi I found myself at a table in Alba on Wednesday May 7 to begin a four-day journey through the wines of the Langhe. Each morning I had the chance to spend over 3 hours with approximately 65 wines. While not technically a blind tasting I choose to work through the wines, five at a time, while tasting blind.

The expert sommeliers kept each bottles label out of sight as I duly recorded my impressions of each wine.  I judged the wines by breaking down my impressions of the nose, mouthfeel, flavors, and finish of each wine awarding from 0 to 4 points for each component.

The composite score for each was then translated into a familiar 100 point score. These point score are not to be used as some definitive rating for how these wines may turn out in the future but rather offers an opinion on how the wines are currently showing. Of course that implies a bit of forecasting with Nebbiolo this young but in order to understand each wine the reader is urged to read and consider the accompanying notes.

While we live in an era where point inflation and grade compression seem to be the status quo I hope all who read these notes will realize that an 88 point wine is something I would happily drink and if the accompanying notes indicate that that rating is based primarily on the nose and finish while the palate may have been unyielding that simply indicates the potential of positive development for that wine.

Scoring wine is an infuriating endeavor. Simply put each score is for a particular bottle of wine at a particular time under specific conditions. A large tasting such as this one is work and tasting so many youthful wines in a row can only allow for certain abstract and intuitive assumptions. I drink wine on its own with some frequency but generally enjoy a bottle with a nice meal. To that end I am more likely to award a wine high marks if it is vibrant in the mouth with bright acidity rather than offering up an explosion of fruit. Tannins are another element of wine and I am certainly not afraid of them. In fact, again with food in mind, I tend to prefer wines with angular, even austere tannins that work as a foil on the palate.

While I prefer this style of winemaking, a style frequently referred to as traditional, I cannot ignore well-made wines that may fall out of my comfort zone. Along with simply listing point rankings for each wine I have highlighted the wines that struck me as special by featuring them in bold.
The following listing records the Barolo of 2004 offered over three days of tasting. Organized by commune the wines gave a good overview of the quality of the vintage by commune. There is no doubt that 2004 is a successful vintage.  It was also a plentiful one and some wines seem to have suffered slightly from this abundance.

With the benefit of hindsight I can look back over the past decade and see that 1996 and 1999 stick out as the finest two vintages of the past ten. While it is still too early to sat definitively where 2004 will end within this extraordinary run of great vintages it does offer the consistency of 2001 with softer tannins and an extra bit of easy fruit that recalls 1985. It is no doubt an excellent vintage but I think it suffers a bit from 1985-itis.  By that I mean I have doubts as to whether these wines will meet the lofty expectations created by their early buzz.

While many of the top wines on my list come from the commune of La Morra I would say that La Morra is the laggard in this vintage with some wines feeling a bit too soft.  The fact that many high scoring wines came from La Morra has more to do with who participated in this tasting rather than an intrinsic advantage that that commune enjoyed during this vintage. In fact the generally softer nature of the wines of La Morra is exactly the type that will suffer from excessively high yields.

Castiglione Falletto offered up a solid grouping of wines during these sessions but again the tender structure left me wanting a bit more backbone.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the overall high quality coming out of the commune of Barolo.  These wines as a group offered up some of the best balance to be found during this tasting with fine ripe tannins and engaging acidity.

Monforte offered up many under-performing wines and since there did not seem to be any theme behind my lack of enthusiasm for these wines I have to attribute this performance to the selection of producers.

Serralunga offered up a mixed bag with many wines exhibiting a softer character than I would have expected in a great vintage.

From this experience I can make these sorts of brash generalizations but ultimately there are fine producers in each commune who have made the most with what they were offered this year. I think 2004 will develop to be a fine if precocious vintage that will offer medium to longer term cellaring potential but it is not at the level of 2001 or 1999. It is a vintage of Burgundian proportions highlighting a more delicate side of Nebbiolo.


95
#154 – Oddero Brunate – La Morra
#159 – Fratelli Monchiero Roere -  La Morra


94
#113 – Einaudi Costa Grimaldi – Barolo
#116 - Bartolo Mascarello – Various
#146 – Poderi Marcarini La Serra – La Morra
#207 -  Aldo Conterno Colonnello – Monforte

 
93
#99 - G Scarzello – Barolo
#108 – Giacomo Brezza Sarmassa -  Barolo
#115 - Giuseppe Rinaldi Brunate-le Coste – Various
#145 - Poderi Marcarini Brunate – La Morra
#156 – Mauro Veglio Rocche Dell’Annunziata -  La Morra
#240 – Guido Porro Vigna Lazzairasco – Serralunga
#241 – Guido Porro Vigna S. Caterina – Serralunga
#247 – Giovanni Rosso Serralunga -  Serralunga


92
#96 - G.B. Burlotto Vigneto Cannubi -  Barolo
#142 – Vietti Rocche - Castiglione
#162 – Oreste Stroppiana Vigna San Giacomo -  La Morra
#164 – Rivetto dal 1902 Leon – La Morra
#185 – G.B.  Burlotto Aclivi – Verduno
#219 - Giacomo Ascheri Sorano Coste & Bricco – Serralunga

91
#106 – Boroli Cerequio – Barolo
#111 – Virna Preda Sarmassa – Barolo
#128 – Tenuta Montanello Montanello – Castiglione
#134 - Fratelli Monchiero Rocche – Castiglione
#150 – Cascina Adelaide Fossati – La Morra
#166 – Mario Gagliasso Torriglione – La Morra
#178 – Agostino Bosco –La Morra
#200 – Rocche dei Manzoni Vigna d’la Roul – Monforte
#201` - Cascina Ballarin Bussia  - Monforte
#204 – Giovanni Sordo Ceretta di Perno – Monforte
#210 – Gianfranco Alessandria – Monforte
#217 – Ca Brusa Vigna d’Vai – Monforte
#226 – Cascina Cucco Cerrati – Serralunga
#230 – Palladino Vigna Broglio – Serralunga
#236 – Ca Rome Vigna Cerretta – Serralunga


90
#91 – Gianni Gagliardo Cannubi  - Barolo
#100 – G Scarzello Vigna Merenda -  Barolo
#105 - Luciano Sandrone Cannubi Boschis – Barolo
#144 – Roche Costamagna Bricco Francesco _- La Morra
#190 – Silvano Bolmida Vigne dei Fantini -  Monforte
#195 – Monti – Monforte
#229 – Brovia Ca Mia – Serralunga
#233 - Mauro Sebaste Prapo -  Serralunga


89
#94 - Francesco Rinaldi Canubbio -  Barolo
#103 – Fratelli Barale  Castellero  Barolo
#117 – Famiglia Anselma -Various
#127 – Giacosa Fratelli Vigna Mandorlo – Castiglione
#129 – Livia Fontana Villero- Castiglione
#132 - Oddero Rocche di Castiglione – Castiglione
#139 – Giacomo Fenocchio Villero -  Castiglione
#147 – Gianfranco Bovio Vigna Gattera – La Morra
#152 – Aurelio Settimo Rocche La Morra
#165 – Mario Gagliasso Rocche Dell’Annunziata – La Morra
#168 – Eugenio Bocchino Lu – La Morra
#169 – Vietti Brunate – La Morra
#177 – Vigneti Dosio – La Morra
#183 – Castello Di Verduno Massara – Verduno
#192 – Josetta Saffirio - Monforte
#193 - Josetta Saffirio Persiera  - Monforte
#197 – Mauro Veglio Castelletto – Monforte
#212 – Giacomo Fenocchio Bussia – Monforte
#224 – Gemma – Serralunga
#237 – Fontanafredda La Rosa – Serralunga
#243 – Luigi Baudana Baudana – Serralunga


88
#95 – Cav. Enico Bergadano Sarmassa – Barolo
#89 Damilano Liste – Barolo
#98 -Marchese di Barolo Sarmassa – Barolo
#101 – Angelo Germano Vigna Rue – Barolo
#110 -Virna Cannubi Boschis – Barolo
#118 – Prunotto – Various
#136 – Cavallotto Bricco Boschis – Castiglione
#137 – Brovia Rocche – Castiglione
#155 – Mario Marengo – La Morra
#171 -Mauro Molino Vigna Conca – La Morra
#189 – Silvano Bomida Bussia – Monforte
#216 – Fratelli Seghesio La Villa -  Monforte
#220 - Giacomo Ascheri Sorano – Serralunga
#228 – Cascina Luisin  Leon -  Serralunga


87
#90 - Bric Cenciurio Costa di Rosa – Barolo
#97 - Marchese Barolo Cannubi – Barolo
#114 –Agrivinicola Sebaste – Barolo
#138 – Franco Conterno Cascina Sciulun Vigna Pugnane – Castiglione
#141 – Roccheviberti Vigneti Rocche – Castiglione
#143 -Roche Costamagna Brunate – La Morra
#153 – Cordero di Montezemolo Bricco Gattera – La Morra
#158 – Revello Vigna Giachini – La Morra
#174 – Renato Ratti Conca – La Morra
#176 – Silvio Grasso Ciabot Manzoni – La Morra
#196 – Gemma Giblin – Monforte
#208 – Franco Conterno Cascina Sciulin Bussia Munie – Monforte
#215 – Armando Parusso -   Monforte
#242 – Luigi Baudana Cerretta – Serralunga




86
#109 – E Pira Cannubi – Barolo
#122 – Elvio Cogno Ravera – Novello
#123 - Marziano Abbona Terlo Ravera – Novello
#157 – Revello Vigna Conca – La Morra
#163 – Tenuta L’Illuminata Tebavio – La Morra
#179 – Michele Chiarlo Cerequio – La Morra/Barolo
#186 – Giordano Vini – Various
#191 –Fratelli Giacosa Bussia – Monforte
#194 – Monti Bussia –Monforte
#202 – Prunotto Bussia – Monforte
#214 - Costa di Bussia Campo dei Buoi – Monforte
#218 – Claudio Alario Sorano – Serralunga
#225 – Cascina Cucco Vigna Cucco – Serralunga
#227 – Luigi Pira Vigna Margheria – Serralunga
#232 – Rivetto dal 1902 Giulin – Serralunga
#244 – Ettore Germano Prapo -  Serralunga


85
#92 – Cascina Adelaide Cannubi – Barolo
#121 – Terre da Vino Paesi Tuoi – Various
#124 – Giacomo Grimaldi Sotto Castello di Novello – Novello
#125 – Roberto Sarotto Audace –  Novello
#126 – Armando Piazzo – Novello
#148 – Gianfranco Bovio Vigna Arborina – La Morra
#149 – Gianni Gagliardo Serre – La Morra
#161 – Franco Molino Rocche Dell’Annunziata  - La Morra
#175 – Silvio Grasso Bricco Luciani – La Morra
#198 – Ruggeri Corsini  – Monforte
#223 -  Massolino Vigna Rionda Margheria -  Serralunga
#231 – Palladino Serralunga
#235 – Paola Manzone Serralunga
#245 – Ettore Germano Cerretta -  Serralunga


84
#112 - Einaudi nei Cannubi  -Barolo
#131 – Cordero di Montezemolo Enrico IV- Castiglione
#133 – Franceso Sobrero Ciabot Tanasio – Castiglione
#173 – Renato Ratti Marcenasco – La Morra
#180 – Terre da Vino Essenze – Various
#187 – Terre Del Barolo – Various
#221 - Bruna Grimaldi Bardina Vigna Regnola – Serralunga
#222 – Cantina Gigi Rosso Arione  Serralunga
#246 – Pio Cesare Ornato – Serralunga



83
#119 – Luciano Sandrone Le Vigne - Various
#130 – Livia Fontana – Castiglione
#167 – Eugenio Bocchino La Serra – La Morra
#199 – Rocche dei Manzoni Vigna Cappella di S. Stefano – Monforte
#203 – Fratelli Alessandria Gramolere – Monforte
#209 – Gianfranco Alessandria San Giovanni – Monforte



82
#140 - Boroli Villero – Castiglione
#181 – Deltetto Sistaglia – La Morra/Monforte
#206 - Marziano Abbona Pressenda – Monforte
#211 – Poderi Colla dardi le Rose – Bussia – Monforte
#248 – Pio Cesare  - Various



81
80 and less
#88 Damiliano Cannubi –  Barolo
#93 – Michele Chiarlo Cannubi – Barolo
 #102 – Mauro Sebaste Brunate – Barolo
#120 – La Spinetta Vigneto Campe Vursu – Grinzane Cavour
#135 – Franco Molino Villero – Castiglione
#151 -Aurelio Settimo – La Morra
#160 – Cascina Ballarin Bricco Rocca – La Morra
#170 – Mauro Molino Vigna Gancia – La Morra
#172 – Gianni Voerzio  La Serra – La Morra
#182 – Claudio Alario Riva – Verduno
#184 – F.lli Alessanria Monvigliero – Verduno
#188  - Tenuta Rocca Vigna San Pietro  Monforte
#205 – Oreste Stroppiana Gabutti Bussia – Monforte
#213 –Costa di Bussia Tenuta Arnulfo – Monforte
#234 – Paolo Manzone Meriame – Serralunga
#238 – Fontanafredda  - Serralunga
#239 – Eredi di Virginia Ferrero San Rocco – Serralunga

 


Corked
Fratelli Barale Cannubi
Giacomo Brezza Bricco Sarmassa




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