Our dinner group met at one of our favourite Italian restaurants, Ca Dario, to enjoy their consistently excellent Italian food along with our wine theme of Barolo. Seven of us delighted in the 10 wines below:
2008 MOET & CHANDON GRAND VINTAGE BRUT ROSE- 46% Pinot Noir (of which 20% is red wine), 32% Chardonnay, 22% Pinot Meunier aged for 7 years on the lees with a dosage of 5 g/p/l. although not labeled extra brut, it qualified for such; it had bright medium red color; the nose was redolent of ripe red cherry notes which continued on and a streak of spice joined in to add to the tastiness; it had great mouthfeel with a creamy mousse and a pleasing finish to round out the deal.
2015 PIERRE-YVES COLIN-MOREY LES NARVAUX MEURSAULT- this was absolutely fabulous; it had the complete package of inviting aromatics, wondrous fruit taste, lovely oily like texture and a long, completely satisfying finish; it`s full of lemon and lime with hints of mint in the background, but its this amazing lemon oil taste and texture that prevails throughout; a great young white Burg drinking beautifully NOW.
1989 CERETTO BRICCO ROCCHE BRUNATE LANGHE BAROLO- while we were raving about the PYCM, this is our next pour and now we had something else to rave about as this was stupendous; at first, it seemed much younger than its labeled vintage, in fact, I double checked to be sure; the color had no signs of aging and the first nose and taste seemed to reflect fresh ripe dark fruit, but the next taste revealed tertiary dried cranberry and plum notes with chocolate and coffee accents; it had a silky smooth texture which carried all of the treasures to the back end and then hung around for extended pleasure.
1999 GIUSEPPE MASCARELLO & FIGLIO MONPRIVATO LANGHE BAROLO- this was especially pleasing with an abundance of fresh ripe red and dark fruit and a youthful vibrance that belied its 19 years of age which is really not all that old for a Barolo; cinnamon, coffee and mocha provide highlights to the red and black cherry and blackberry fruit; the hallmark of this wine is its amazing balance which was readily apparent at the outset and repeatedly with additional re-visits over the course of the dinner.
1998 FALLETTO di BRUNO GIACOSA di SERRALUNGA LANGHE BAROLO- this changed from its initial super ripe fruit forwardness and dominance and finishing with a bit of heat to where it eased into a nice semblance of balance, more seasoned, spicy integrated fruit plus being easy on the palate with fine a texture thanks to its soft tannins; it was elegant and exuded class and while still evolving, it promises to be an extra special treat in 10-20+ years.
2010 PAOLO SCAVINO BRICCO AMBROGIO LANGHE BAROLO- decanted 6 hours ahead of pouring; obviously quite young and appropriately energetic, this gave enormous amounts of pleasure with clove, peppermint and mint flavored blackberry and plum fruit from the nose though the tail; it had bracing acidity and firm tannins which should translate into a strong potential for longevity; the grainy texture was unexpected, but emblematic of its tannic structure.
This is a blend of Monvigliero and La Morra fruit. Scavino purchased the latter four-hectare, south-facing vineyard in 2001 and as such, it is categorized as a rare cru.
2001 PIO CESARE LANGHE BAROLO- it had a dark, garnet color; the nose suggests something really good forthcoming and it obliges with generous amounts of fresh, concentrated blackberry, black currant and plum fruit with accents of licorice and clove; it was rich and full bodied and velvety on the palate with a loooong finish to complete the deal. Great now and better in 15-20 years.
2004 ODDERO LANGHE BAROLO- this Nebbiolo was hand-harvested mid-Oct at yield of 40hl/ha, with rigorous manual selection in the vineyard; the grapes come from 2 vineyards, in La Morra and Castiglione Falletto villages, and are kept separate throughout the process; they undergo a long 20-day fermentation in stainless steel at 28- 29°C, followed by full malolactic; the two wines are aged separately in 40hl French oak barrels (90%) and 225l barrels (10%) for 30 months; blended in the spring, then bottled at the end of summer and aged in bottle for a further six months before release; they use big Slavonian oak barrels instead of the small French oak barrels, looking more for unadulterated purity in their wines than manipulation.
This is serious juice with upfront ripe blackberry, plum and black currant fruit most prominent plus some accents from leather, cedar and a hint of dried mushrooms; the tannins are firm and unrelenting; this needs time and air to get to its sweet spot.
2009 ELIO GRASSO GAVARINI CHINIERA LANGHE BAROLO- Currently, the Elio Grasso estate has a productive vineyard holding of 14 hectares; the cellar uses only estate-grown grapes from varieties traditionally grown, with excellent results, in the Langhe hill country near Alba; this bottle was fully packed and loaded with an abundance of fresh, ripe fruit with spicy and slightly sweetened red cherry, raspberry and red plum most prevalent; it had nice acidity, good mouthfeel and a fruit forward and pleasing finish.
2001 MORLET BILLET DOUX LATE HARVEST SEMILLON ALEXANDER VALLEY- 90% Semillon 9% Sauvignon Blanc 1% Muscadelle; Billet Doux means a love letter; vanilla laced and honeyed pear and peach cobbler is delivered in a medium creamy texture to the back end for full on sensory pleasure.
According to Luc Morlet, this was sourced from vines more than 100 years old,; mostly made from grapes affected by passerillage*, but with "a touch of botrytis”; this was Morlet's 23rd vintage of making wine in France and California, but the first time he has made a sweet wine; he noted that the 2009 vintage brought more noble rot but that this one was "more typical California.
Passerillage is the French term for the process of drying grapes so their flavors and sugar become concentrated. Passerillé is the descriptor for dried, shriveled grapes used in DRIED-GRAPE WINES. This is similar to the Italian PASSITO.
Another fine evening with the gang. I truly treasure each and every one of our gatherings and look forward to the next coming up in 2 weeks.