Conterno-Fantino's 2004 Barolo Vigna del Gris offers an enticing array of floral aromatics that lead to sensations of candied cherries, small red fruits, spices and marzipan. With air, this sensual, feminine Barolo opens to reveal notable inner perfume and superb length. As is usually the case, the wine doesn-t quite have the stuffing to balance its tannins and it does dry out just a bit on the finish, but it is nevertheless a gorgeous, gorgeous wine. In 2004 Vigna del Gris contains fruit from both old vines and a recently re-planted section of the vineyard. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2019.
Another highlight in this portfolio, the 2010 Langhe Nebbiolo is a deep, resonant wine endowed with serious structure and class. Dark red fruit, tobacco, mint and spices are some of the notes that emerge from the glass, but in the end, the 2010 is a wine of depth and structure. Although delicious today, the 2010 will start to blossom in another year or two. It shows remarkable depth and pure breed for a wine of its level. Readers looking for an easygoing Nebbiolo should look elsewhere. This is serious juice. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2020. Aldo and Milena Vajra are among the quietest and most introspective of Piedmont's top echelon growers. It is the wines that do the talking here, and they do that ever so eloquently. The estate's continued focus on excellence throughout their entire range comes through in spades in these new releases. One of the most interesting wines I tasted during my most recent visit might never be released, but it speaks to the high level of quality that is synonymous with the Vajra name. Some years ago, the Vajras purchased a plot in the Ravera vineyard planted with Nebbiolo. The vineyards are now about 15 years old, but the Vajras have never released a Barolo from this site because they don't think the wine is important enough for their label. I tasted the 2008 from tank and can only say most producers would kill to have a wine of this level in their cellar. But at Vajra, it remains a work in progress. I hope the Vajras will decide to bottle this Barolo one day, as it seems a crime to deprive the world of this terrific Barolo. For those who are wondering, the Ravera is closer to the Barolo Bricco delle Viole than the Barolo Albe stylistically.
A juicy red, bursting with cherry, raspberry, underbrush and spice flavors. The balance is there, but this needs time to integrate more fully. A woodsy eucalyptus element emerges on the finish, with echoes of sweet fruit. Best from 2014 through 2025.
The 2007 Barolo is inviting, sweet and open, yet has plenty of underlying tannins to provide support. It shows terrific balance in a style that reconciles the traditionalist leanings of this bottling with the ripe quality of the year. Sweet hints of tobacco, spices, leather and herbs add complexity on the textured yet grippy finish. Pio Cesare's straight Barolo doesn't seem to get the attention or spotlight it deserves, but it has truly been one of Piedmont's under the radar jewels for some time. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2022.
Medium bodied, with nice spice notes of white pepper, anise and violet. Perfect with sausages, ham and salami, pizzas and pasta with simple sauces, spicy food.
The 2007 Gattinara bursts from the glass with sweet red cherries, tobacco, incense and grilled herbs. There is an immediacy to the 2007 that is quite appealing. At the same time, the firm Nebbiolo tannins are present and serve to balance the wine's more overt leanings. I very much like the way the 2007 continues to open up in the glass. Overall this looks to be a tasty, early-drinking Gattinara from Travaglini. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2017.