Is Barolo still Italy’s greatest wine? – Tasting April 28, 2016

Is Barolo still Italy’s greatest wine?
Your Guide:  Gino Furano
April 28, 2016

Just recently, I did an Amarone tasting and wow was it amazing.  So with keeping to my roots, I thought…Why not do the King of Italian wines, Barolo?  These six Barolos showed beautifully and the guests at the tasting choose the last three in the list as the best for the tasting.  I want to also mention, the pricing of the first two from the “top three choices” Manzone Bricat and Manzone Castelletto are a deal for Barolo.  The only thing we were missing on this evening was some Osso Bocco to go along with these treats.  Hope to see you at the next great Italian tasting…I’ll have to keep the bar high after this one.  Saluti!

Cogno Barolo “Cascina Nuova” 2009, $61.99
100% Nebbiolo from the Elvio Cogno Estate which produced its first vintage in 1961.  The 2009 is rated 90 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate! The review: “Raw cherries and ripe blackberries dominate the wine’s petite frame.  Surely, that adolescent awkwardness will evolve into something more promising in a few more years”. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2022.

Azelia Barolo, 2011, $64.99

Azelia is still something of a Barolo lover’s secret. Though the estate is not a high-profile one, Luigi, his wife Lorella and son Lorenzo Scavino own and maintain 16 hectares of vines in Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d’Alba, San Rocco and Montelupo Albese.  Look for a sweet nose, with hints of cherry, black currant and licorice. The wine is aged for two years in large casks producing fruity tannins. Lovely depth of dried-berry and lemon-rind characteristics. Full to medium body, this beauty will pair well with grilled meats or hearty pasta and tomato dishes.

Montezemolo Barolo Monfalletto, 2010, $68.99
A mighty impressive 93 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate! – “The 2010 Barolo Monfalletto is a gorgeous wine (and a superb value) with a rich and opulent feel that wraps seductively over the palate. The wine imparts a long succession of aromas including cherry cola, licorice, mint and white truffle.”  It is aged in oak barrel of various sizes and provenances and boasts an impressive level of silkiness and complexity as a result. Drink: 2016-2028.

Manzone Barolo Bricat, 2009, $69.99
Giovanni Manzone started the winery in 1925.  Today Giovanni (II) and his son and daughter run the winery.  This wine rated 91 points from Wine Spectator – “Elegant, offering focused flavors of cherry, strawberry and eucalyptus. Compact, solid and balanced, with the long finish leaning toward the spicy and savory side.” Best from 2016 through 2027.

Manzone Barolo Castelletto, 2009, $69.99
100% of the grapes come from this vineyard (Castalleto).  90 points from Wine Spectator for the 2009 vintage – “Bright cherry and burnished leather are the flavor highlights, showing accents of licorice and underbrush. Turns lean in the end, with stiff tannins, leaving a slight drying impression on the palate. Ample fruit provides balance.”  Best from 2017 through 2030.

Conterno Fantino Barolo Vigna del Gris, 2009, $109.99

Winery began in 1982 by Guido Fantino, Diego and Claudio Conterno.  Today only Guido and Claudio are present as Diego operates his own Barolo winery.  A legendary wine from a legendary producer! And 93 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate – “The 2010 Barolo Vigna del Gris comes from 30-year-old vines and southeast exposures.”  Drink: 2017-2028.

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