Our lunch group met once again at our fabulous venue, the Santa Barbara Club in our dedicated and cherished Library Room. Our wine theme for this day was Nebbiolo from Italy’s northern tier….Barolo, Barbaresco, Valtellina.
Beef tenderloin with Asian noodle salad
Wild mushroom truffle risotto
Rack of lamb with goat cheese-potato puree
Boschetto al tartufo, sini fufuri fontina, asiago mitila
Chocolate pecan tart
We had 15 folks and 15 Nebbiolos + 2 starters and 2 dessert wines:
NV NICOLAS FEUILLATTE BRUT ROSE- in the category of we can never have too much champagne, I bought this for its refreshing qualities and to prepare our plates for the big reds forthcoming; following the pink red colour, generous amounts of strawberry, red cherry and red apple fruit shows up with accents from toasted bread dough and spice; it seemed to be of high dosage, but has enough acidity to cut through the sweetness.
NV ROJER e SANDRI VIN dei MOLINI VIGNETI delle DOLOMITI TRENTINO-ALTO-ADIGE- a delightful and refreshing still rose with rose petals, clove, pepper and spice; 100% Rotberger.
First flight of 4:
1996 ALDO CONTERNO CICALA BAROLO- this was really showing well; it had some ageing brown-puple colour, but the fruit was still vibrant and youthful; i got black currant, plum, cranberry and blackberry along with a touch of spice with all nicely integrated; the tannins were pretty stiff and did not let up at any point; it gave do much overall pleasure to be one of the best on the day.
1996 FONTANAFREDDA LAZZARITO BAROLO- this had some bricking and the nose and taste also showed advanced maturity with tertiary wild and dry black cherry fruit; enhancing the taste was traces of clove,, smoke and milk chocolate.
1964 NINO NEGRI FRACIA VALTELLINA SUPERIORE- decanted and served, this gem had wisdom and charm to the delight of all who partook; certainly the colour had age written all over it, but the surprise was in the taste profile which consisted of tar, earth, smoke and black currant which had an underlying sweet essence; it was elegant and very easy on the palate, the hallmark was that it gave such a pleasing taste.
1952 GIACOMO BORGOGNO PROPRI VIGNETI CANNUBI RISERVA- liquorice, ginger, tar and dried black currant joined some honeysuckle and nutty, mild sherry like notes to provide an intriguing taste profile in this nicely aged wine.
Second flight of 3:
2001 DOMENICO CLERICO CIABOT MENTIN GINESTRA BAROLO- The wine was still very much in its adolescent stage, but had enough to offer joy and pleasure; it matched its deep dark vibrant colour with a big and robust gift of dark chocolate and cedar laced black fruit with black cherry being most prominent; it had an enormous underlying structure to support longevity and has already maintained a semblance of balance; at the end of tasting all of the wines, it was in my top 3.
I selected this bottle from the cellar to commemorate the producer who passed in July. In fact, here`s an excerpt from an online obit:
"Domenico Clerico, the renowned vintner who helped build a new wave of enthusiasm for the wines of Barolo, died yesterday at his home in Monforte d'Alba after a long battle with cancer. He was 67.
Clerico, who considered himself more a grapegrower than a winemaker, made rich, dense Barolos from his 52 acres of vines in Monforte. His Barolos from Ciabot Mentin and Pajana in the cru Ginestra vineyard; Percristina, named after his late daughter and sourced from the Mosconi vineyard; and Aeroplan Servaj from the Baudana cru in Serralunga, expressed their sites, showing purity of fruit, minerality and the structure for aging."
1998 LUIGI PIRA VIGNA MARENCA BAROLO- lots of oak related notes talc and sandalwood first dominated, but then it balanced out with cedar infused plum and blackberry fruit; it was full bodied, silky smooth and overall a good drink.
1997 MARCHESSI di BAROLO CANNUBI BAROLO- dark, youthful colour; it gave tastes of raison like Amarone dried fruit accented with mint, earth, cedar, dark chocolate covered caramel; it was full bodied and had nice length carrying all of the treasures to the back end and then hanging on for continued enjoyment.
Third flight of 4:
2001 NINO NEGRI SFURSAT 5 STELLE, SFORZATO di VALTELLINA- this had a streak of coconut throughout which is not one of my favourite tastes so judge my notes accordingly; talc, dark chocolate accented black cherry also come in and give me at least a more acceptable taste profile; it finished with more coconut than what was initially present and I spontaneously searched for the flakes in my glass; there were none.
2002 BALGERA VALGELLA VALTELLINA SUPERIOR- the nose was redolent of serious fruit with a nice spicy accent; the taste verified and clarified it was coming from spicy cranberry and black cherry with distinct wild red cherry coming in by mid palate; although more one dimensional, it supplied enough to please.
2005 FONTANAFREDDA LA VILLA TENIMENTI- the aromatics again reminded of an Amarone, but that soon gave way to the mint chocolate essence of black currant; it was medium to full bodied with layers of depth and a long finish.
2004 GIACOMO GRIMALDI SOTTO CASTELLO di NOVELLO BAROLO- the nose was really grapey as in Welch`s Grape Juice; even the taste had some raisiny dark fruit along with some oak influence; overall the wine was on the mellow side and had a nice mouthfeel.
Fourth flight of 4:
2008 PAOLO CONTERNO GINESTRA BAROLO- time will help in integrating the oak that stands out now and lends a sweetness to the fruit which is comprised of nice plum and black cherry along with some liquorice and coffee notes; it is full bodied, has great texture, layered complexity and promises to be great after decades of evolution.
2007 PIO CESARE BAROLO- this was another wine that needs time and has all of the makings to mature into a winner; upfront oak hits the nose first, then a big dollop of black fruit shows up and invites further investigation; the taste had spicy, liquorice and coffee flavoured plum, black currant and black cherry; underlying tannins provide an infrastructure to support a long life span and a seemingly rewarding one at that.
2008 BEL COLLE MONVIGLIERO BAROLO- the oak component again stood out with this wine which was embellished by a wonderful taste profile; I got black raspberry in spades plus some spicy black cherry; the velvety texture also dded to the sensory pleasure; even without component integration and balance, this was really good; I`d love to re-visit all the last 3 wines in about 10 years.
2009 RIVETTO CE VANNI BARBARESCO- at my urging and in respect for my love for Barbaresco, a friend who brought many wines to share, opened this one; I liked it for its approachability and liveliness as well as its balanced dark fruit and overall elegance; it was medium bodied, playful and fun.
NV DON G. CAPPELLANO BAROLO CHINATO SERRALUNGA d`ALBA- I`ve never had anything quite like this, at least intentionally; it reeked of a medicinal character and was mindful of something my mother forced me to take in early childhood although I did avoid gaging with this one; some investigation indicates this is made with quinine, herbs and spices among many other ingredients with some sugar added in; the history states this was concocted by a pharmacist to use as a medicinal remedy; I wholeheartedly concur as I completely forgot about any ailments I might have had immediately after tasting; it`s called the Bitter Barolo; that`s a compliment; there was a strong hit of fennel, cardamom, mint, and basil with fennel winning out; a little sip will do you forever and now I`ve had mine one. I`ll be good mother.
1988 CHATEAU LAFAURIE-PEYRUGUEY [CORDIER] SAUTERNES- a Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc blend; gold yellow colour; honeyed mint and clove flavoured apricot and honeysuckle coats the palate as carried in a viscous texture; a good swish and a mouth rinse helped kill the after taste of the bitter Barolo.
Please excuse typos and unintended auto-corrects