Highly recommended (HR) New(-er) & pre-release wines

Occasionally I will come across (at Trade tastings with good, temperature-controlled conditions, or, preferably,  with winemakers in their cellars), some really exciting wines that are new to the market and/or will be released in the near future, and are exciting, and therefore fit into the fairly rare category of highly rated (HR). As a rule, I try and taste these wines on multiple occasions in order to have a more thorough insight into the wine, before posting to my blog as a separate piece/post. Insofar as I might like/dislike the wine upon my first experience, bottle variation is a very real thing, and therefor a chance to have multiple experiences helps to more soundly classify the wine.


27 April 2020

2018 Terre Nere Rosso di Montalcino

Already quite approachable on the nose, with fully integrated (14,0%) alcohol. Inviting aromas, elegant sensibility of place and grape, with (at the moment, tank sample) acids and tannins that show just slightly aggressively; 6-12 months of rest will most surely help. An excellent value, and one worth seeking out. Not as mind-blowing as the Le Chiuse rosso tasted just before it, but easily in the first quartile of 2018 RdM wines tasted this year. Drink 2022-2032; crazy good value. highly recommended+

2018 Le Chiuse Rosso di Montalcino

Remarkable, a true baby Brunello, as it were. A bit darker brick red core, deep watery edge, with a nose that opens with sweet cedar, freshly crushed red berries dipped in cherry juice; aromas gain in intensity in only a few minutes. On the medium/med+ palate, quite a bit of breadth and depth already, with a finish that’s already quite lengthy. Impressive on many levels – ideal ripeness, structured, balanced, etc. – this will improve for a few years before reaching what’s likely to be an extended plateau of ideal drinking. I was still thinking about this the following day, it’s that type of wine; really hard to over-state the brilliance of this wine. 13,0%. Drink 2021-2036. highly recommended


2013 Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis  (HR+)  Striking, precise, deeply perfumed and artfully poised. The structure seems to match the quality of the extremely pure fruits, which is to say, this measures up to some of the very best newly released Barolo wines. I had to taste it twice, the second time, no spitting. Only going to get better from here, could well end up in epic territory. Glorious, elegant length; bravo, Alfio! 2024 thru 2048+. HOLD.  highly recommended+

2015 La Plantze Nagòtt Vino da Tavola  (HR)  {winery visit} Wow, a real beauty. This is a new project from the grandson of the founder of Maison Anselmet, Henri. This red blend is 50% Petit Rouge, and a then smaller parts of Fumin, Cornalin, Mayolet e Prementa. The wine is fermented in stainless, then moved to Fr. barrique for ~ 18 months. I don’t recall if it’s all new or a mixture of barrique of various ages, but either way, it’s expensive oak, the texture here is just gorgeous. Does not come across as polished, or spoofed, etc., rather it comes across as the product of someone that really understands fine wine, and really has an understanding of balance and elegance; he’s got a great palate, that’s for certain. Shows the structure to age another 15 years, effortlessly; no doubt it will gain even more complexity along the way. This is that new wine no one’s heard of that everyone wants as soon as the word gets out. Very impressive. 14,0% abvhighly recommended

2013 Elio Altare Barolo Vigneto Arborina  (HR)  Finely structured, and richly fruited, this has a lot of energy and purity today, but it’s also rather coiled up. Nonetheless, an impressive effort, and one that’s packing a generous amount of perfume and sapidity. This is likely to pay generous dividends in the future. Classic Altare that will have fans licking their chops. Impressive. HOLD. highly recommended

2013 Ferrando Carema White Label (Etichetta Bianca)  (HR)  I’ve tasted a few hundred young/new release Nebbiolo wines these past few weeks, and this is something of a standout, for its approachability, and also its elegance at such an early moment. Classic, pure and fresh cherry notes, just a glimpse of VA, with deep soil tones and a build that suggests this has several fine years ahead of it. That said, you should give it at least a few years to continue its integration. The purity, and the finish, both stayed in my head well after I’d tasted it. HOLD. highly recommended

2013 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Maestro Raro Toscana IGT  (HR)  An excellent vintage for Maestro Raro, in a clean, medium>medium+ body style, with plenty of fresh acid, and vibrant tannic structure. Shows the goods to keep in the cellar for quite some time, and even though some may be tempted to sample it now, I think it deserves at least 3-4 years of sleep in the cellar, first. With time in the glass, a new combination of soil tones, with some truffle, red currant and tobacco leaf emerging. Very nice. HOLD. highly recommended

2012 Canalicchio di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino  (HR)  These guys are absolutely killing it these days. The nose is chock-full of citrus, red apple, cherry, wood spice and cool soil tones. And as much as the nose may temp you, the palate is really demanding that you exercise a fair amount of patience for this traditionally-styled wine; 5-7 years of rest would be a start. I kept half of the (sample) bottle for the second day, and while it jumped up a step or two, it was still holding back. Highly enjoyable, and one of the better ’12s tasted today. Med>Med+ body, red-fruited, bold, fine tannins, EtOH resolved. HOLD. Easily highly recommended
2013 Cordero di Montezemolo Barolo Bricco Gattera  (HR)  I’m not so much a fan (just don’t appeal to my palate preferences, on balance) of what Cordero produces these past years, but in this vintage, they’ve really done a great job capturing Gattera, Nebbiolo and the best of what the vintage had to offer. Medium>Full bodied, this is packed with aromas and flavors – even at this early stage – and it shows the structure that can keep this for a few decades, if you like. Complex, sapid, structured, and a keen sense of place. Give this a few more years to better integrate before testing one out. Solidhighly recommended

2013 E. Pira & Figli (Chiara Boschis) Barolo Cannubi  (HR)  A pretty serious Cannubi, with plenty of quality raw material, and enough structure to age for a few decades; likely, gracefully. That said, this will require patience. If you have several, and you’re curious, go ahead and open one, I think it’s important to see this in its youth – there’s a lot to admire. If you do open one, you’ll likely choose to open the next one 7-10 years later, when it will no doubt be even more complete; I see this ageing very slowly. A lot to like here. HOLD. highly recommended

2013 Serafino Rivella Barbaresco Montestefano  (HR)  Full, and bright, this is likely going to be an early drinker. That said, it’s got above-average structure, and should cellar for 15 years, no problem. Engaging soil and truffle aspects opposite ripe cherry, warm spice, and floral tones. Impressive bit of #naturalwinegrowing here. 2020-2040. Easily highly recommended

2013 Elio Grasso Barolo Gavarini Chiniera (HR)  {winery visit} Epic. The floral notes on this today are rather off the charts. This is a complete wine, not unlike the Casa Maté tasted just before it, but there’s an inner energy, a drive, if you will, that resonates with me, speaks to me. There’s so much – of everything – packed into this slender frame right now, it’s a bit mind-boggling. Certainly in need of rest, but if you grab a case or two, no harm in opening on now, either. Can’t say it’ll shut down, but given the classicism here, I’d be surprised if it didn’t. Get some before they’re all gone. 14,5% abv., thru 2047highly recommended

2012 Podere Poggio Scalette Il Carbonaione Alta Valle della Greve IGT  (HR)  One of the more impressive young Il Carbonaione wines I’ve tasted. That said, don’t even think about opening one anytime soon. I notice a good deal of variation in this wine from vintage to vintage, as it should be. In the instant case, this is seriously structured and will need at least 5 years of rest; it’s got the acid, fruit and tannin to get there, and live another 12-15 beyond that, so HOLD. 2022-2036. highly recommended

2013 Elio Grasso Barolo Ginestra Casa Maté (HR)  {winery visit} The 2013 Elio Grasso Casa Maté is a wine of great beauty, as much for its purity and sense of place, as it’s structural integrity and balance. There’s nothing out of place here, nothing; just needs time (at least 4-5 years). Today I prefer this over the Chiniera, in 10-20 years, likely the opposite, but really, that’s splitting hairs; they are not the same wine, they are unique, clearly – it’s in the glass! – so the comparison is loose at best. Point of fact, taste them side-by-side like this, and they are as different as two children – same parents mind you, but that’s where it stops. A wine for collectors of Barolo wines, though supply is not able to keep up with demand, so find some soon. 14,5% abv., thru 2047highly recommended

2015 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barbera d’Alba Aves (HR)  On something of a larger frame (than I was expecting, anyway), this nonetheless excites, across the board. Heavily perfumed nose, rich, well-delineated red/blue fruits and lots of Mediterranean and baking spices tossed throughout. This is classy, and I’m the lone star that got too close to the black hole. Oh well. Now, with some air, or in the next 8-9 years (but this is way too delicious, and my bottles will be gone far too soon)highly recommended

2013 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo Acclivi (HR+)  {winery} A wonderful Acclivi, with little, today, in common with the 2012 tasted exactly one year ago (i.e. as it was being released). I loved the 2012, I felt it was a great reflection of the vintage, place and grape. This 2013 is, again, representative of its vintage, place and grape, but that’s not to say it’s got a lot of common descriptors with its older brother (older by one year). This is a classic, full(-) bodied Barolo wine, one that will need a good quantity of rest before it’s ready; after that, the plateau will be long, the wine will fill out, and its pace of development will, I think, be rather slow. A lovely expression, and one I will begin to revisit in another 4-5 yearshighly recommended+

2013 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo (HR+)  { winery } A classic Barolo wine. The definition of classic is probably open to interpretation for most – for me, it’s not. This medium-bodied wine is tightly coiled at the moment, the tannins are a bit cross, and the acids, well, they’ve yet to settle in. Scores will probably be low-er for this wine, and maybe even for 2013 Barolo in general for the simple fact that these are less approachable wines, these will need 4-5 years, at least, before they begin to, by most standards, be pleasurable, become enjoyable. That said, I loved it, and left with my normal allotment for the year. And I’ll be doing it again in 2014, a vintage the media, etc., have already doomed to inferior quality. Whatever. The more the ‘pros’ pan things, the lower prices may stay reasonable…and with producers like Burlotto, one comes to know the quality is going to be there, no matter what, so why fuss with scores, etc., just buy as much as you can find, something that’s harder to do each year, as demand is continually outpacing supply. Thru 2039highly recommended; classicists, rejoice.

2012 Vietti Barolo Ravera (HR)  Serious wine here folks. It can be enjoyed today, it’s rich, ripe and ready, but it’s far from developed. In true 2012 fashion, the wine’s open – to a point, more will follow in a handful of years, then serious tertiary development for years and years thereafter. Ravera can really be a distinguished wine, and in this vintage Vietti captured that essence, the necessary balance of energy from all the moving parts. Buy all you can find, and more than you can afford; you’ll never regret it. highly recommended

2013 Azienda Agricola San Martino Aglianico del Vulture Arberesko (HR+)  {OperaWine2017, Verona } I tasted this twice today. After my initial pour I stepped away from the table as always do. But, on (very) rare occasion, I’ll approach the table again and ask for a second taste. I wanted to confirm the first taste, which was simply wonderful, as in jaw-dropper. This is one heck of a wine – and it’s just a baby. Wow. Be on the look out for this, grab several if you find some. Open one now, rejoice, and the rest over the coming 10-20 years. Very impressive, powerfully elegant. If you already know this variety and place, but don’t yet know this wine, find some, quickly. Descriptors/adjectives/points, nah, not for this onehighly recommended+



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