Vino Vinace Consulting

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Piazza Vittorio Veneto
12060 Castiglione Falletto
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Wines tasted blind at the Alba Wine Exhibition (5/2008)

2004  Vietti Rocche - 92pts

Smoky and briary on the nose with excellent intensity. Perfumed floral notes and hints of baconfat and blackpepper recall hermitage a bit. Deep, dark fruits 3+
This starts out seeming a bit loose and light even but the citrusy acidity pulls everything together, very soft, gentle tannins 2+
A stony enrty is followed by some woodsy funghi notes and hints of bitter scorched earth. Some creosote and ash notes give and edge to the dried fruits 3
A nice finish if a touch astringent very long and very mineral driven with a gentle finale of toast 2

2004 Vietti Brunate – 89pts

Classic aspects of cherry in alcohol, seaweed, menthol, butcher’s wax and dried herbs are joined by slightly fudgy/toasted oak notes 3
Crisp in the mouth with nice tannins but an easy style that seems a touch loose 2
Lovely cherry pit fruit on the palate with notes of bitter mineral and herbs that add complexity. A hint of bitter coffee oils develops on the backend 2+
Finishes a bit aggressive and short with slightly drying tannins 2

Barrel tasting with Elena Corrado (May 2008)

While I had missed dinner with Luca Corrado early during my stay in Piemonte I did get the chance to sit with him for dinner at Ciau del Tornavento, one of Piedmont’s greatest restaurants. While dinner was wonderful I was more interested in catching up with Luca who I had not scene since he joined me in New York for our great Rocche vertical.

Unfortunately he was leaving the very next morning for Australia to do some judging and continue the investigations that have made Viett one of the pre-eminent Piemontese producers of our time. Continuing a tradition begun by his father Alfredo.

While I was not able to taste with Luca he made arrangements for me to meet his wonderful wife Elena who took me all through the winery tasting from cask and barrique on every level of the family’s 3-floor cellar. The top most floor with the equipment for fermentation and stainless steel vessels for assembling the bottlings, the middle level for malo-lactic and storage, and the third level, cold and damp for ageing in wood.

Once we had had an opportunity to taste through everything we joined Lucas parents Luciana and Alfredo in their living room to drink a bottle of the 1989 Brunate and their just released 2001 Villero Riserva. The winery itself is going through a bit of restructuring so the tasting room was closed but then again when one tastes in the tasting room one misses the opportunity to view the famous wall of art that the Corrados have amassed over the years.  And where else can one savor fine Barolo while handling ancient roman and Etruscan glass drinking vessels?

While I had only a brief time to taste the wines and chat with the Corrados it was a lovely time spent with the producers of some of my favorite wines. Since these where barrel samples and many could not approach to represent the final blend my notes are a bit briefer than usual. This combined with tasting in the cellars at different temperatures made a full assessment impossible but the quality of each sample still shined through.

2005 Brunate from Botte – (89-92pts)
Smoky and cedary with a bit of bacon fat on the nose. Full fresh and elegant in the mouth with a lithe feel. Crisp dark cherry fruit with a bit of cocoa spice on the midpalate which leads to a long, fruit driven finish with a bit of red apple skin on the finale

2005 Rocche from tank – (90-93pts)
Dark and more aromatic than the Brunate with a similar cocoa note but more limestone minerality and lovely floral topnotes. Cool and focused in the mouth with great cut and definition to the rich fruit flavors. Build in power and intensity in the mouth with big tannins on the finish.

2005 Lazzarito from tank – (92-94pts)
A fabulous nose with musky, dark, masculine mineral scents. Very fresh and elegant in the mouth yet very expansive with deep and broad fruit that is focused and ripe with some lovely emerging herbal/nettle tones. The finish is long and fine with a drawn out tone. The best of the 2005’s

2006 Barolo Brunate from barrique
Perfumed on the nose with spicy peach and apricot fruit. Crisp with great acids in the mouth but the tannin is a bit angular and the mid-palate is a bit too espresso rich at this point. Finishes crisply with great length if a bit toasty. Excellent potential

2006 Rocche from botte
Unexpressive nose but lovely austerity in the mouth. Very aggressive at this point but also very long with great mouth filling tension yet without great weight. Excellent potential.

2006 Lazzarito from botte
Big and woody on the nose but the big balsamic tones of forest floor and dried flowers burst through. Very fresh and crisp in the mouth with an elegant feel and refreshing acidity supporting lovely and wild berry fruit extract. Finishes with excellent length and emerging complexity to the slightly nutty, sottobosco rich wild berry fruit. Excellent potential ++

2006 Villero from botte
The decision to bottle this as a Riserva has not yet been made. The aromatics are feral and earthy with citrusy orange/grapefruit blossom notes. In the mouth this is chewy and powerful yet well balanced with a broad-shouldered feel. Long raspberry tones on the finish, which is still a bit blocky. Excellent potential

2007Barbaresco from barrique
Very floral and estery on the nose with a cedary edge to the apple-y fruit. Very fruity and fresh in the mouth with the houses trademark elegance. Very good potential

2007 Castiglione from barrique
Spicy and a touch oaky with notes of cinnamon and clove dominating the nose at this point. Easy in the mouth with a light feel to the lush, sweet ripe fruit then turns slightly drying on the backend before finishing with excellent purity to the citrus toned cherry fruit. Lovely. Very good potential

2007 Brunate from barrique
Estery and watermelony with gentle notes of mineral and flowers. Very crisp in the mouth and lacking a bit of focus at this point. Great array of flavors from spicy herbs/nettle/arugula to musky floral tones and a fine cocoa edge to the red berry fruits. More cocoa on the finish and even a hint of truffle. Excellent potential

2007 Rocche from barrique
Spicy and floral on the nose with mineral and herb notes dominating. Big and powerful in the mouth with chiseled tannins and fresh acidity. A touch of green herb keeps the dark fruit on the palate fresh with a really muscular feel though the long finish is a bit drying there seems to be excellent fruit to back it up. Excellent potential +

2007 Lazzarito from botte
A touch woody on the nose but with great musky floral notes and deep wild berry fruit. Wow this feels great in the mouth, plush yet ripe, luxuriously balanced with very strong fruit, deep black raspberry almost liquory fruit and that musky floral component. Superb showing. Exceptional potential

2001 Barolo Villero Riserva – 93pts
Freshly opened bottle
The nose offers up incredible intensity to the deep, concentrated black raspberry fruit with it’s complicating notes of cedar, treebark, and a hint of roasting pecan. 3
Big in the mouth yet seamless, you can sense the power but the wine has exceptional balance 3
Deep dark fruit with an almost chocolate edge to the sappy fruit that gives the impression of almost a pruny edge to the roasted berry tones but it’s in a very positive sense. Deep penetrating tones of clay rich soil drives the sweet chinato herbal tones to the back of the palate 3+
Big and powerful on the finish which shows signs of closing up in the glass 2+

              Vietti Rocche Horizontal with Luca Corrado -  (2/2008)

I'ld spoken with Luca Currado several times over the years trying to pull together this event and finally with short notice we were able to find an opportunity last night. And so it was that a dozen wine geeks joined together for what is an early candidate for dinner of the year!

It was delight to sit with Luca and drink these wines. Some tidbits gleaned from the evenings conversations.

1961 saw the first cru bottling which was from the Rocche vineyard. Prunotto also started Cru bottling in 1961 with their Bussia so these wines formed the foundation for the whole movement. All of Vietti's wines come from vineyards they own though the were forced to sell them at one point and had to repurchase them.

Temperature control came to Vietti in 1980 which is one of the milestones for the winery. the second would be when Luca took over the winemaking with the 1988 vintage. At that point he began the regimen that continues to this day for Rocche. Malo in barrique of which 1/3rd is new then after 3 months to botti for long term ageing. Luca did not make the wines in 1990 and 1991 since he was working outside of the country but returned in 1992.

Vietti was sued in 1968 for the use of the term Cru on the label, by the French. While the suit was being contested Luca's father continued to print the word cru on the label but over printed several lines to cross it out. Photo to come but it was a cool bit of trivia.

But now on to the show.


This first flight, while not offering the best wines, was a great flight. The progression from a wine at peak , through it's downslope, and at the end of it's life was both enlightening and interesting. These three wine worked so well together for a perfect introductory flight.

  • 1967 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Apon opening this had the very faded appearance of pale onion skin. The nose was dominated by sweet notes of madeirization with scents of limestone, earth, onion powder and panchetta adding dimension. In the mouth there was corresponding sweetness with an echo of strawberry fruit remaining and nice notes of dried orange peel on the finish which turned more spiced with notes of mulling spices and light cherry even. Obviously faded but still intact. @ hours later at the table this had gained sweetness on the nose with a nice combination of secondary and tertiary notes that recalled Chinato with it's blend of herbs, mint, and sweetness. In the mouth this was soft with good flavor intensity supported by the vibrant acidity. Citrussy and herbal in the mouth this is at the very end of it's life but the aromatic and volatile nose was a pleasure to smell (87 pts.)
  • 1970 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    While also very pale this retained a nice shade of bronzed red color. Offering less sweetness on the nose when opened this shared the dried onion and herb notes but offered a bit more dried fruits and leather tones. In the mouth this is really well integrated and gentle with less overt sweetness than the 67 but really lovely ripe acidity supporting fading berry fruit that turns citrussy on the finish. A bit lean and sinewy as is typical of the vintage with a touch of green tomato/green walnut on the austere finish. After 2 hours this had gained sweetness on the nose as well as somewhat floral but gave a sort of dull, matte impression that featured a dusty beet rootiness with hints of blood and mint. In the mouth this was softer than the 67 and more opulent with soft and round tannins that provided enough structure to keep this siky and elegant though without significant intensity or complexity. Still this remained sensualy enjoyable for its lovely resolved texture. This bottle probably underperformed for the vintage but we did catch it right in mid-downslope. Drink em if you got em. (87 pts.)
  • 1974 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    This was much darker and more saturated with a lovely mahogony red hue. The nose offers dark, caramel tinged savory notes of earth, stone, mineral, and cedar notes. In the mouth this retains some agressive tannins balanced by solid acidity. Austere and lean with faded fruit that offers moderately rich notes of earth and leather turning towards sour fruits on the finish ending with notes of flowers and persimmons. After 2 hours this really blossomed aromatically with note of pure ripe fruit and flowers. in the mouth this is fairly big and bordering on lush with great integration and lovely cherry fruit with notes of mineral and truffle adding complexity. The flavors are not as evolved as the structure which made this lacy and elegant bottle seem very youthful. Truly at peak though this may not have a terrible long life left. From a very cold European cellar. 2008-2012 (91 pts.)

Again we got luck here for while the 85 was corked this flight featured wines fully at peak and the wines worked well together as a group illustrating the quality of their respective vintage.

  • 1978 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    This was surprisingly pale and evolved out of the bottle. Luca explained that there are in fact two distinct bottlings of this wine, separate botti bottled a year apart which accounts for the range of experiences I've had with these wines. This I presume is the second bottling since it lacks some of the freshness and depth of other bottles. The nose is very perfumy with macerated fruits, flowers, nut meats, slightly candied and subtly minty and iron-y. It is both fresh and complex. Elegant in the mouth with good buffering material, ripe acids and soft, slightly chewy tannins support good sour cherry/sour melon fruits. There is lovely grab towards the backend that leads to a lightly floral, sour fruits finish which is long and turns redder on the final with a touch of mineral reverb. After two hours this has shed some of it's fruit as the nose offers up a more evolved, savory character that is a bit beefy and spicy. A touch drying in the mouth this remains powerful and dark but evolved both structurally and in taste. Imported through Chicago by Consolidated. This is not the better bottling. 2008-2012 (88 pts.)
  • 1982 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Visually we've entered a different period here with deep burnished red black highlights, and a mahogony rim. Sweet on the nose with baking spices, roast meat, earth and floral tones and hints of tomato and mineral. Rich and voluptuous in the mouth, so at peak, ripe tannins, ripe acidity, very tarry fruit that leans toward the strawberry end of the spectrum with complicating notes of church candle. Sinewy muscularity, this is like a dincer, The finish is very precise with good limestony minerality and a finale of gentle sweetness. After 2 hours this has a lovely perfume of roses, spices, stewed fruits and a bit of smoky speck. Great intensity and the layering of perfect maturity. In the mouth this is youthful with a chewy mouthfeel, great minerality with precise cherry pit fruit and an almost austere, angular quality. Firmly in it's drinking window one could ask for a bit more complexity here but texturally this is very appealing. 2008-2020 (93 pts.)
  • 1985 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    More evolved color than the 82 and lighter this unfortunately is lightly corked but one can sense the almost sweet fruit on the nose that is joined by notes of forest floor, balsom, asphalt, and floral, minty tones. I passed this around the table anyway since it was not fatally corked. It showed a very beefy character with sweet tarriness and herbs over dark fruits. Round and opulent in the mouth with a finish of slightly liquory root notes. This should have been very good but an accurate assessment will have to wait for a correct bottle. (FLAWED)

This of course was the flight of the night. Three great vintages, three great wines at peak yet with some room for improvement. It was here that one could really get a sense of Rocche with it's salty, floral, herbal fruit as well as the House style so vividly illustrated across three distinctly different vintages. Simply a great flight.

  • 1988 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    This looks just a little fresher than the 82. The nose out of the bottle is crazy, it smells like floral scented candles over pear and frutti di bosco preserves. I've never smelled a wine so intensely floral before wow. In the mouth this is elegant showing very fine integration with a bit of new wood. Not terribly complex or layered yet but rather linear with slightly jammy fruits up front and stony minerality under that leads out the back end to a finish that is a touch drying but offers a lovely and refreshing bitter almond twist on the finale.After 3 hours the nose here is sweet and almost treacly with some coffee crema notes, good hints of florality but nothing like before though that has been replaced by notes of moist earth, smoke, and pollen. In the mouth this is cool and restrained with a lithe, elegant quality to it. Dark and faceted this offers real cut and great integration with a finish that echoes the complicating notes of mineral and beef found on the palate. Just at the beginning of it's drinking window this is very fine stuff 2008-2020 (92 pts.)
  • 1989 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    paler and brassier than the preceding 3 wines this seems quite evolved on the nose with lots of floral highlights over a core of strawberry fruit with notes of tar, sand and prosciutto adding depth. Reticent and taut in the mouth with fruit tones floating above the palate this is mysterious with relatively light weight though very finely balanced. Brisk and with finesse, this offers stern yet not abbrasive tannins with really herby, rhubarby fruit that leads to a spicy finish that hints at curry tones. After 3 hours this has just blossomed with a nose full of salted capers, truffles, caraway seed, pressed flowers, and ripe fruit. The palate has really filled in and maintains nice tension with tons of ripe tannins and bright acidity that are gorgeously integrated. Very youthful , long and complete this is my WOTN. 2008-2025 (95 pts.)
  • 1990 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    A bit darker in the glass than the preceding wines this offers a new range of youthfulness. Fresh in the nose with notes of blond tobacco and earthy sotto bosco just peaking out of the closed nose. Powerful fruit still buffering the tannins though they do clamp down on the short finish that offers good mineral freshness. There is a taut core of good cherry fruit lurking in there.After 3 hours this offers a riper nose flush with dried fruits and ripe herbs. Languid and lush in the mouth this is well balanced and round but fairly 2-toned with contrasting very ripe fruits and very ripe herbs and not much else adding complexity. Still this does have a long finish and is fun to drink in a dumb blond way, and who doesn't need a dumb blond once in a while? 2008-2015 (91 pts.)

Here we entered a more difficult stage to assess, in fact probably the most difficult but the wines remained tru to their vintages and were surprisingly open. The 1998 in particular was one tonight.

  • 1996 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    This is the last bottle that iI really sat with before dinner. Obviously youthful red color. Smoky pork fat nose is spicy and peppery with cool, crisp stone fruits. Very fresh but very reserved. After 3 hours this had opened nicely with seared plum fruit on the nose joined by nettles, cardamom, faint curry spice, a touch of wood, butchers wax and prosciutto notes. The entry is cool and restrained with very feminine power, fine balance of ripe tannin and acidity. This is sexy and surprisingly gentle with a solid core of fruit offering classic licorice and tar tones but not really ready. the nose is offering more than the palate at this point but this looks to be very good. 2012-2025 (92 pts.)
  • 1997 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    This was only tasted after it had been open 3-4 hours. Riper fruits on the nose but unlike the 1990 with intact minerality and complicating notes of herb, mint, leather and dried date like fruit. Round and lush in the mouth though there is a bit of unripe bitter tannin here that dominates the finish somewhat. In the mouth the fruit has slightly exotic earth and tea components that are intriguing but this doesn't have the balance of the finest vintages. 2008-2015 (88 pts.)
  • 1998 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    This also was only tasted afor it had been opened for 4 hours. Very perfumy nose is plummy and aromatic with bay leaf, flowers, herbs and almost salty, really layered and intense aromatics here. In the mouth this is round, lush and seamless. It is very easy drinking but has freshness and godd depth and complexity . A very successful 1998. 2008-2020 (90 pts.)

Here again we entered a new stage of evolution, more about promis than performance. This trio will in time challenge the 88-90 trio and in 8 years I'll try all 6 together again for a fantastic evening but for now this was a bit premature.

  • 1999 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Again after 4 hours this offers a wonderful contrast to the warmer years with it's spicy, musky tones of wild orchard fruits, crisp mint and pine tones and subtle, nuanced notes of wood spice and toast. Fresh and crisp in the mouth with black cherry fruit that has great verve and minerality. Has a deceptive gentleness that makes it deceptively easy to drink but this should develop splendidly. (93 pts.)
  • 2000 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Again only after 4 hours in the opened bottle. Riper on the nose than the 99 and bordering on jammy with a spicy, matte quality yet with ripe herbs and floral highlights. Sweet in the mouth and absolutely mouthfilling, soft acidity and soft tannins make this very easy on the palate and the fruit is very rich and juicy if not particularly complex. Maybe this lacks a bit of focus but it makes up for it with volume. Hedonism in a glass. 2008-2016 (91 pts.)
  • 2001 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Again after 4 hours this offers an intense nose of spicy herbs, citrussy acidity, tangy fruits and salinity. Mouthfilling and seamless but without the density of the 2000, more cut and finesse. It almost seems soft at times due to the concentration of the fruit but regains great focus with complicating notes of minerality and gentle wood toned spice notes. An infant but with great promise. 2012-2025 (92 pts.)

Luca brought these to add to the evening but they were lost in the restaurant's basement until the end of dinner. Fun to try but I wish they had had a chance to open a bit more.

  • 2003 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    This was popped and poured - A touch of wood greats the nose, sweet roasted cherry, mint, herb. Round in the mouth reminding 97 with it's weighty palate impression and somewhat drying tannin. Good but not great. 2024-2020 (88 pts.)
  • 2004 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    This was popped and poured. Cool fruits on the nose with hints of pink peppercorn, tomato and spice, a whiff of sweet vanillin, bay leaf, red fruits. This falls in the 96,99,01 paradigm with bright yet ripe structure and a cool sense of restraint, crisp fruit and deep bass notes of tar and licorice. Just spent a few minutes here but his will be interesting to follow and try again. (93 pts.)

And so it was a great evening, only one off bottle. In all the wines showed very well, highlighting an elegant style that may sacrifice a bit of depth or complexity in exchange for finesse and approachability. Yields are kept very low and while Luca expressed some concern that this may create a certain homogeneous character to the wine I think the results speak for themselves. Each wine was exceptionally representative of it's vintage. In short there was a wine for every palate available last night and I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one.


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