Recently tasted – wines you should know

It’s not easy to make it on this page, a wine has to impress me, has to speak to me. If it’s a wine with soul, with a voice worth hearing, it’s on this page. 

  • no recommendation (NR) not bad, just too soon to rate, and/or not interesting enough
  • recommended (R) (+/-)  *(a really nice wine!, nothing average about it!)
  • highly recommended (HR(+/-)  *(an excellent wine!)
  • very highly recommended (VHR(+/-)  *(an EPIC wine!)
  • The + or – sign many be attached to the rating. The (+) says it’s an excellent value within its peer group; the (-) says it’s a poor value relative to its peers


2016 Podere il Palazzino Azzero Toscana IGT  (R+)  {winery visit} I’m totally in love with this new wine from Edoardo Sderci, son of one of the proprietors – I think his cousin may have also helped create this little gem, and if so, I want to thank her, as well. Medium-bodied, great balance, freshness, red fruits, sleek tannins, easy drinking-flavor packed. This is a BIO wine, from Sangiovese grapes with #no_added_sulfites. There’s no filtration; just nature in a bottle. And wow, it packs flavor, energy, and bright perfumes/flavors. I took the 2/3 of the bottle back with me and had it with lunch the next day, this is fantastic. <screwcap> I want to import every last bottle – if I do, I’ll share 😀 recommended+

2016 Podere il Palazzino Rosato Edoardo Sderci Toscana IGT  (R+)  Very nice start to the tasting, fresh, floral, with orchard and citrus note complementing fresh peach, strawberry and rose notes. Nice bounce on the palate, this is dry, but not severe; shows a clever balance, offers good+ persistence. Clean, correct, pretty, and a lot of fun. Drink now thru 2018. 12,5% abvrecommended+

2015 Maison Anselmet Torrette Supèrieur  (R+)  Fresh, a bit zesty even, with a nice combo of red/black fruits, plenty of lift, mineral/soil, citrus, strawberry. Gorgeous texture, more silky than creamy, med>medium+ finish; developing complexity, great balance. Really liked itrecommended+
2014 Cantine San Marzano Nerostella Puglia IGT  (R+)  Really solid, balanced Primitivo (night harvest), on a medium-bodied frame, with a good mixture of red and black fruits. Very fresh, with just the right density to let the flavors all come through; dry, lifted, clean. Impressive at just 6€; would drink every week if I could find this locally. 14,0% abv., now thru 2019recommended+

2015 Grosjean Torrette Superiore Vigne Rovettaz  (R+)  {winery visit} From a sub-1Ha, sustainably (certified BIO) farmed vineyard in Quart, this is a blend of Petit Rouge 75% e 25% Fumin Cornalin, Premetta. Intense ruby, really bright. Spicy, mineral, cool, undergrowth, turned soil, leaves, black berry fruit; really fresh. Medium-bodied, with a good structure, this is begging for food from the very first sip. Very nice, and likely to improve in the coming years. ~ 15 days on skins, good concentration, balance. 13,0% abv. recommended+

2015 Maison Anselmet Fumin  (R)  {winery visit} 100% Fumin, a meaty, smoky, blue and black berry-laced variety that, in the right hands, can offer plenty of depth of flavor, intrigue, and, of course, a great partner to food. Sustainably grown (manure fertilizer), and from vines ~ 20 years of age, this sees ~ 20 days on the skins (it shows in the ruby>opaque color), this is raised in Fr. barrique for ~ 10 months. Maybe part of the allure is that I know this variety is rare, or maybe the allure is that it tastes so great. Probably it’s both. Either way, this is really great; those that love Syrah from the Northern Rhone would find a lot to appreciate here. Balanced, long, sapid. 14,0% abv., now thru 2025recommended

2000 Di Meo Fiano di Avellino Selezione Erminia  (R+)  This was my contribution to the dinner, a wine I’d found just a few weeks earlier while visiting with Roberto di Meo at the winery. This was a wine that Roberto trotted out of his kitchen after we’d spent some time together/knew a little of each other – he told me it had been on the countertop, sans gas, for about 8 days. First, it’s the color, as in NO sign of age, amazing, medium straw, clear and really bright. The nose: aged Fiano is even more elegant than young Fiano, with no oxidative aspect whatsoever. On the palate, totally about finesse, with a med>long finish, bright acidity and impeccable balance. Delicate peach notes, with orange oil, minerals galore, some saline, and bits of kiwi and poached pear; medium-bodied, cool, elegant textures. This is a joy right now and for the next several years. I loved itrecommended+

2010 Azienda Agricola Montevetrano Montevetrano Colli di Salerno IGT  (HR)  Another brilliant, exceptionally elegant showing; artful balance. I had double-decanted this about 3 hours before serving it (at cellar temp). This is already in the zone, it’s already in a special place. Medium+ bodied, this showcases the elegant side of Cabernet Sauvignon, with the added softness of Merlot, and the bright acidity of Aglianico. 1,000-thread count sheets in a bottle, with finesse and nuance in every direction. An excellent food wine (we had grilled vegetables/ribeyes and a caprese salad) with plenty of diversity for pairing. I’m going to buy some more today. Now thru 2027highly recommended

2015 Brigaldara Valpolicella  (R+) {exceptional value at < $12}  Not too surprisingly, it appears there’s some bottle variation here. That said, mine was in very good shape, with plenty of freshness rounding out the juicy, lifted core of red/dark-red fruits. As always, a good dose of soil, with a fringe of red and purple floral. I’m tempted to go back and get a case, as this is, as usual, such a great cellar defender, and a great table wine with a lot of diversity for pairing. Medium-bodied, resolved tannins and EtOH, this is drinking just fine on PnP. Now thru 2022. recommended+

Served non-blind; fwiw, I find that some of their slightly off Valpolicella bottles can turn it around after an hour in decanter, or sometimes even the next day.

2012 Cascina Val del Prete Barbera d’Alba Carolina  (R+)  Excellent, full-flavored, balanced and structured Barbera. Deep and broad, traditional flavors and aromas with core of fruit that appears sappy, even if the wine is dry, and correct. A lot going on here, this is understated, explosive at times and fully delicious. Really well-grown (organic) Barbera, now or in the next 6-7 yearsrecommended+

Served non-blind, with 45 minutes of air in decanter; excellent food wine.

2009 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito  (HR)  The 1997, tasted about a year after release, haunts me to this day; I see no reason that this shouldn’t follow in those footsteps. Magical elixir here, folkshighly recommended

2012 Paolo Bea Arboreus  (R)  Unique take on the Trebbiano Spoletino variety, with powerful soil and mineral leading the way to a complex finish of orange oil, lemon-lime spritz, passion fruit and white peach. Constantly shifting in the glass, this is a wine for those looking outside the box. More seabed notes on the back end of this developing, unique wine; aeration/decant suggested. 2018-2024. recommended

2016 Cascina Val del Prete Roero Arneis Luet  (R)  {winery visit} Nice medium straw color, clear and bright. Mineral, lemon, apple, brown spice, a whiff of asparagus, a note of passion fruit. The palate is nearly medium-bodied, dry, with good extract. Spreads out on the palate as the temp moves higher, though acids remain crisp. Really well-grown, really fresh, and plenty of sapidity; finish is medium, the wine is still developing. Thru 2020. Tasted four separate times, consistent. At ~ $20, for Arneis, you expect good, what you get is very good, and classy. Easily recommended

2011 Ciabot Berton Barolo  (R+)  60 minutes Audoze, cork and fill in vg. cond. Medium garnet, faded to an orange/tawny rim, so pretty. On the nose, aromas: lemon, earl grey tea, abondoned water well, root cellar, strawberry, old leather, cedar, and all forms of dirt. The palate is medium-bodied, yet to evolve, but fully approachable. Structure is good, not great, which is no detriment here, this is just going to drink early. Excellent acidity, nearly resolved tannins, red-fruited, with medium flavor development, and a touch of roses. By the second hour, this is a classy, well-composed Barolo wine that’s just beginning its ascension; oak still in control of flavors, this needs some time yet to be complete, in the zone. Drink now or hold thru 2029, before it begins its downward climb. 14,5% abv., crazy good price on these, and easily recommended+

2012 Massolino Barolo Margheria  (R)  Stunning. Unlike many of the new release Barolo wines (100+) I have tasted on this extended trip, this has already found its voice, and it’s beautiful. Citrus, mushrooms, cherries, forest, soil, ripe cranberry – the list is long. The flavor development lags the aromas at this point, but that’s to be expected – this needs some cellar rest. Structured, elegant and rich with finesse and vibrancy. Classy. Now or in the next 25-30 yearsrecommended

2015 Agostina Pieri Rosso di Montalcino  (R+)  {winery visit} Woah, this one comes in at 15,5% abv., yet very little carries through to the nose and/or palate; good freshness. This is rich, juicy, layered and succulent. Some may look down upon these wines as being modern, it matters not to me – I know how they farm (sustainably), I taste their land and grape, and it’s sapid, long, and pleasurable, so nothing else really matters. Plenty of acidity to carry this, though suggest <65F and a 30-60 minute aeration in decanter. Thru 2023. recommended+

2003 Tormaresca Castel del Monte Bocca Di Lupo  (R+)  Fascinating Aglianico, and wow, a complete turnaround. Nothing happening on the nose and palate during the first glass (Audozed 60 minutes). Some camphor, a little earth, and, with heavy swirling, a bit of red/black fruit. Resigned to my obvious fate, I set into this with a lunch of sausages, pomodori, piselli, and parm-regg – again, not much happening, at first. By the third glass, it was loam and soil galore, which was fine, I’m into this stuff, but not very much fruit. It was entering into the second hour, when the fruit joined the intensity of the earth and loam that the wine developed into the next level. I had little hope for this wine, but it’s definitely a wine of place, a unique expression of the variety, and, at the end of the day, an interesting wine. Drink now or HOLD for another 3-5 years, this has lots of gas in the tank, and even more to reveal; might last another 10 years, we’ll see. 13,5% abv., cork and fill in vg conditionrecommended+

This wine is expressive, enjoyable at <65F, above that, dark-fruited, lifeless, anonymous.

2012 Podere Poggio Scalette Il Carbonaione Alta Valle della Greve IGT  (R+)  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. recommended+

2015 Casa Emma Chianti Classico  (R+)  {winery visit} Bursting with freshness, the aromas and palate are in full effect from the first pour. That said, this medium-bodied, red-fruited effort has classic structure, and a well-composed, deeply flavorful finish. An easy case-worthy purchase, maybe more. As always with Casa Emma, this really shines (even more!) with food. So delicious. PnP, served non-blind. Now or the next 10 yearsrecommend+

2016 Antoniolo Coste della Sesia Bricco Lorella  (R+)  Gorgeous ROSE ALERT!  Wow, a bunch of really exciting 2016 rosato wines today, and this one is no exception. Organically farmed from soils high in acidity (i.e. low pH), this features great vibrancy with gentle textural components too. Fruits tend to the citrus and pit fruit spectrum, with more flavors developing in the mouth. Crisp, and refreshing, the finish is medium+. Quite well-made, brava, Lorella. 13,0% abv., now thru 2019. 100% Nebbiolorecommended+

2014 Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna Il Poggiale (R+)   Dark ruby color, clear. The first aromas are earthy, pungent, lightly roasted – some signs of the vintage. The dark berry aromas persist until mid-way through the second glass, and then the wine takes off, and never looks back, with something of an about face in terms of freshness and bright perfumes. It was about 2 months ago that I was with the winemaker at the cantina, I understand his winegrowing philosophy, his relationship to the vineyards – that all came out, with by the second hour, in this wine, it’s a lovely effort despite the vintage’s extremes. Drink now with at least 2 hours of air in decanter, or hold for (up to, 2023) mid-term cellaring. An excellent value in this lesser vintage; very good, medium-bodied food wine, with fine tannins and a medium(-) persistencerecommended+

1997 Dessilani Fara Caramino Riserva  (R) [*recent auction purchase*] Garnet+ core, not much fading, little tawny. Initially, the nose is all soil-toned, with some base truffle notes. With some swirling, some darker toned berry fruit, soil and dusty, dried herb character. Deep in the pit of all of it, are dead leaves and mushroom stems. It’s not until a good 30 minutes of air in decanter that this really begins to unfold. The palate is medium-bodied, the acids still fairly high, rendering this a medium(-) mouthfeel. The finish is avg, the tannins resolved. The wine, without air, would be mostly unremarkable. But with air, some lovely Nebbiolo characters shine through, and the wine is both pretty and classicly toned. It’s a pleasure to drink, but I advise pairing on the lighter side of the equation – coffee/chipotle braised ribs would be a very bad call. Veal, chicken marsala, etc., just fine. Cork 2/3 soaked, came out in one piece, no problem; near perfect fill. My only nit here, the fruit is slightly darker toned, and balsamic, than I prefer. Drink now. recommended

2011 Le Pianelle Bramaterra  (R+)  Blend of Nebbiolo/Vespolina/Croatina (80/10/10), lighter garnet color. Nose is a nice medley of roses, tar and cherry fruit; big burst of bright citrus on the nose. With some more swirling, this wine goes from very good toward excellent – on the nose – with the palate holding the cards pretty close. Lovely wine, and one well worth seeking out; good potential for improvement, too. Thru 2036recommended+

2015 Cà Nova Colline Novaresi Bocciòlo  (R+)  100% Nebbiolo, on the skins for 8 days, with the malo complete in French grandi botti for ~ 6 months; 17 year old vines. Wow, another winner. Packed with crushed red and purple flowers, and quickly followed by baskets of freshly picked strawberries, cherries, etc. The wood is sticking out ever so slightly at this point, but in 6-12 that should be fully resolved. Quickly gains complexity in the glass, the finish far exceeds its modest 9€ price at the cantina. Brilliant; thru 2025recommended+

2016 Cà Nova Colline Novaresi Aurora  (R+)  Grerat rosé. Watermelon juice color. Mineral and watermelon nose with some cherries in the background; in a minute, kiwi, strawberries, lime/citrus – really gains some lovely characteristics quite quickly. Medium body, clean, crisp, exciting finish, great flavors; this needs another 6 months in bottle based on today’s sample. Dry, with a good suggestion of florality. Drink thru 2020recommended+

1997 Azienda Agricola Platinetti Guido Ghemme Vigna Ronco Maso  (HR)  Mature, with good freshness hanging on. 100% Nebbiolo. This is well-composed/balanced, offering ripe red fruits, soil and a touch of a savory component. Just now hitting its preferred plateau. The finish kind of comes out of nowhere and just keeps lingering. Exciting, and shares a lot in common with Brunello di Montalcino at the same age; very fun to try. Good purity, clean and full of the character that age brings with it. Rather nice. 13,5% abv., thru 2026highly recommended

2013 Le Pianelle Bramaterra  (R+)  Exciting wine, brimming with freshness, and personality. A traditional blend of Nebbiolo, Vespolina and Croatina, this wine is fermented in open-top Grenier casks, then aged in a combination (age/size) older oak. Both elegant and structured, this really serves up a lot of complexity and zeal today – should have a great future, too. Easily recommended+, and will no doubt prove difficult to leave alone in the cellar.

2016 Ioppa Colline Novaresi Nebbiolo Rusin  (HR+)  A rosé wine that hits all the right notes: flowers, watermelon, strawberries, limestone, soil, kiwi, beeswax, etc. This has such an array of aromas, with most everything carrying over to the really elegant light>medium-bodied palate. Great persistence, great fun, great value! highly recommended+

2010 Pietro Cassina Lessona Tanzo  (HR)  Wow, this is fantastic. All sorts of citrus and apple skin notes appear on the nose just before a swath of red currant, cherry, soil and herb notes appear. Complex, with broad flavors and elegant textures, another big win for Pietro. Tannins begin to assert themselves late in the finish, suggesting this is going to be a long-lived wine; the fruit and acid are certainly here for cellaring. This is actually the Tanzo bottling, named after Pietro’s father, Costanzo. 13,0% abv. thru 2035highly recommended

2010 Pietro Cassina Coste della Sesia Ciuet  (HR+)   Mature, still in the zone. Consistent with the bottle I had just 7 months ago, this is quite good, nicely complex. Showing some tawny, as expected, this wine sees 2 years in a mixture of Stockinger (Austrian) and Swiss oak. Pietro’s finesse and choice of oak regimes is just spot on here, he’s crafted a unique touch to the 100% Nebbiolo grape that adds a differnt dimension on the palate (i.e. texturally) while preserving the beauty and elegance of this noble grape. The flavors are broad and deept, and there’s this lovely juxtapostion of fresh, slightly underripe berry fruit up against the core of sweet red fruits and pleasing oak that has this floating on the palate. Plenty of fresh acidity; medium+ finish. Supremely good was penciled at the top of my notes; tremendous value. Thru 2033. highly recommended+

2010 Il Palazzone Brunello di Montalcino Riserva (HR+)  My second time with this, the first was two months ago while visiting the estate; I was in love then, and again tonight. This is a special wine, and if you’re looking for an experience, i.e. not just something to drink, this should be on your short list. Profoundly aromatic, with a deep, beautiful sense of place. The purity resonates on the nose, and gracefully follows through to the medium>medium+ bodied palate. This is just a babe now, so you’d do well to take care of it. If you’re lucky enough to have a few, and haven’t tasted it yet, by all means, open one up, this will light up your day/night. The upper echelons of grape and place. Now or in the next 20 yearshighly recommended+

From coravin, with 30 minutes of before tasting.

2014 Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna Il Poggiale (R+)  Restaurant (Lo Stella, recommended) list purchase, with about 45 minutes of air in decanter. Dark ruby color, clear. The first aromas are earthy, pungent, lightly roasted – some signs of the vintage. The dark berry aromas persist until mid-way through the second glass, and then the wine takes off, and never looks back, with something of an about face in terms of freshness and bright perfumes. It was about 2 months ago that I was with the winemaker at the cantina, I understand his winegrowing philosophy, his relationship to the vineyards – that all came out, with air/by the second hour, in this wine, it’s a lovely effort despite the vintage’s extremes. Drink now with at least 2 hours of air in decanter, or hold for (up to, 2023) mid-term cellaring. An excellent value in this lesser vintage; very good, medium-bodied food wine, with fine tannins and a medium(-) persistence. recommended+

2010 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo (VHR) Intense garnet color, light tawny to the rim. Explosive aromatics, the kind that are so vivid, on top of the fact that there are so many, gives me pause – this is a special wine, an emotional wine. The palate, notwithstanding the prior aeration, is radiant, but also fairly coiled at this point, as it should be. Structurally, this is a masterpiece, the choice of pick dates, in my opinion, spot on. Deeply memorable, stirring, captivating. HOLD. very highly recommended

Opened the day before, allowed to Audoze for 24 hours, then double-decanted for 2 hours, before serving non-blind.

2007 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Madonna del Piano (HR-)  Consistent with my notes since release (probably my 6th time tasting this), this is ageing rather nicely. In a style that’s somewhat inconsistent with the vintage’s broader characteristics, I find this to have a good core of energy and freshness fastened to a relatively lighter chassis. In the end, the richness of the fruits is in good harmony with the other structural components. If I were sitting on a few, I’d begin to enjoy them now, there’s a lot to appreciate alreadyhighly recommended(-)

2008 Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri Sassicaia Sassicaia (R)  Probably my 6th time with this since release, still enjoying it and appreciating where it’s at just now. On the earlier side of its curve, but it’s in the curve, so no real reason to wait as the energy and freshness are in good concert with the rich black and blue fruits. Some good soil tones added more interest for me, as did the vivid purple floral notes. There’s quite a bit here, but I did not have but a few minutes to spend getting reacquainted. Thru 2027.  recommended 

2005 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia (R-) {OperaWine2017, Verona} Fans of this wine/style will absolutely love where it’s at today: full, and rich, with maturing notes of cassis and ripe plum. Some sweet tobacco and leather notes add some interest. If I were sitting on some, I think now would be the ideal time to begin drinking them down/enjoying them. recommended200820ornell-s







2016 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Elatis Vino da Tavola (R+) {winery visit} Beautiful. Today this is a bit edgy, as it was only recently bottled. That said, the underlying fruit and perfumes are clearly from superior quality fruit. A blend of Nebbiolo, Pelaverga and Barbera, the grapes are allowed on skin contact for <2 days; after at least 6 months in stainless steel, the wines are bottled and allowed to rest for a few months. The color, as in years past, is striking, a pale salmon with a magical hue of garnet running through it. The nose in this vintage, not unlike the 2013 Barolo wines, will need some more time before it’s wide open – in the instant case, say 4-6 more months. The wine has the structure to cellar for at least the next 5 years, though I will be drinking most of mine next summer, when I believe this will have become more complete, and even more beautiful. 14,0% abv., recommended+

2007 Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico la Fabriseria (R) My first time with this, iirc, and I rather like it. Not sure if it’s a Cru or just produced in certain years, but it’s obvious the selection is careful. Some nice notes of place are always in the background here – soil, animal, leaves, etc. – that keep a close proximity to the richness of the fruits. Good balance, well structured. Now thru 2024, best to aerate to decanter for at least one hourrecommended

2014 Suavia Soave Classico Monte Carbonare (R)  Concentrated flavors, ripe aromas and a good mineral and soil backbone. I think this has more to say and should be held; good purity, medium-bodied, good length. Nicely dry, the proportions are rather sensitive to temperature – so you’re apt to see lots of things as this warms in the glass; kinda fun. Drink 2018-2023recommended

2014 Prà Soave Classico Monte Grande (R)  Montegrande, in my experience, is better/best about 5-6 years after release. I think this wine is no different, and should be cellared. I really liked what I saw today, quite classic, but it’s just a baby. HOLDrecommended

1997 Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Bosan (R+)  Mature and ready to go. This has aged just splendidly, with the richness and the acidity that I so much love about this vintage of Amarone Classico. I made the mistake of tasting this before many lighter reds, and it took a while for my palate to recover – this is a big and generous wine, full of classic flavors and aromas…but it’s a big wine, as I said, and it needs to be served at the right time, with the right foods. Cheese has become, over the years, one of my favorites with these wines, and occasionally, an Osso Bucco – but it becomes a very heavy meal. I’m not so sure of the price, but if it’s reasonable to its peers, this is a solid buy, with several good years still aheadrecommended+

2011 Tenuta di Biserno Biserno
 (VHR)  One of my favorite wines of the tasting. In fact, at the end of the event, I went back to their stand and asked for a second taste, my way of ending a great event on a really high note; this time there was no spitting – upon my return, they looked at each other and smiled. This is a distinguished wine, an emotional and elegant wine. All collectors need this in their cellars, and I don’t make that proclamation lightly. Thru 2028, at leastvery highly recommended 












2010 Siro Pacenti Brunello di Montalcino Vecchie Vigne (R)  A very nice wine, it’s full, polished, warm and really quite rich. I’m not sure I’d have ever guessed BdM in a blind tasting. Those just venturing out of big California reds should give this a go, I think they’ll have a good time with it. There is an inner purity here that I want so badly, but right now it’s buried and untouchable. Insofar as this is going to be around for a while, with any luck I’ll try it again in 7-8 years at which time I think it will have turned into something rather more preferable; today it’s just a bit much, and not entirely interesting. I like it, but more for what it could become than what it is just nowHOLD, recommended, upside likely. 20170408_153058-m











1999 Nino Negri Sfursat 5 Stelle (HR)  I haven’t had this since it was released. At the time, it was unlike anything I’d ever had, i.e. to me it was unique. And, delicious. However, my palate has changed a lot since then, or another way of looking at it is that my preferences have changed. Today I doubt I’d much care for this on release the same way I melted all those years ago. But, to see where it is now, the lessons that come along with it. wow. It’s a glorious wine with the elegance that can come with maturity. Dried fruits, leaves, soil notes, dried purple florals still bright in their way. Exotic at times, and a very nice time warp of sorts today. The EtOH is fully resolved; should drink another 5-7 years if kept in a cool cellarhighly recommended. 

2005 Ca’ del Bosco Franciacorta Cuvée Annamaria Clementi (HR)  From the first taste/smell, I knew this was something deeply special. Wines like this are much more of an experience than a beverage. Classic flavors and aromas, with a brightness and mineral/floral/fruit core that just pops. And it keeps on popping as it unfolds. One of my wines of the year so far. There are some citrus notes, specifically some orange spray/peel that haunted me for months. Special wine; now thru 2024highly recommended

2000 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletto di Serralunga d’Alba (R+)  Still some great freshness right now. Consistent with last year’s bottle, this is just a joy to drink. Perhaps the nose slightly outdistances the palate, but really, that’s just splitting hairs. Makes a good case for not waiting any longer, lots to enjoy just nowrecommended+

2002 Vinosia Taurasi Rajamagra Riserva (R)  Absolutely lovely, fully mature, deeply sapid wine. Very floral nose, almost in the face of the dark ruby color. Full-bodied, but in that mature way, the way that says there’s still plenty of fresh acidity to keep it interesting. Floral notes, followed by complex soil tones slightly overwhelm the ripe plum and sweet cassis aromas/flavors. This remains interesting until the very last sip, when it’s turned into a floral Amarone-esque wine; even then, thanks to the acidity, it’s interesting. In a special place just now, don’t wait any longer. Cork and fill near perfect. 14,0% abv., the heavy bottle thing sucked, please, never again with the heavy bottle. Anyone. Everyonerecommended

* About the amount, at least, of fine and chunky sediment as you’d expect at this point, so carefully decant; now and the next 2-4 years, depending on your cellar temp.

2010 Zymé Kairos Veronese IGT (HR)  Pegau meets Quintarelli – in many ways. A blend of 15 (red/white) grapes, there’s a lot going on here. It’s a richer style, with some of the grapes allowed to dry after harvest, some others, well, they are pressed straightaway. One can talk about this full-bodied wine all they want, but really, it’s something unique, something quite pure, and fun, and therefore should not be missed. Drink or holdhighly recommended

NV Villa Sandi Prosecco Vigna La Rivetta (R)  Today’s bottle was bursting with freshness,with classic aromas and flavors. A refined energy here that’s interesting and refreshing. Take your time with this one, it’s got some nuances that only came out at different temperatures, and each one is rather pretty. For my palate, these are better just a year or two after bottling. Easily recommended, and worth seeking out.

2010 Bellavista Franciacorta Cuvée Brut (R+)  Time has been kind to this bottle, with developed aromas and flavors marked by a bright, fresh acidity that ultimately makes this interesting and deeply enjoyable. It could have been that my palate was in desperate need of refreshing (having just tasted about 50 wines), or maybe that this is just that good. Based on experience with their vintage bottlings, I’d say the latter is a safe bet. If you see some on a wine list, or at auction, buy with confidence, it’s still doing just fine, now and the next several yearsrecommended+

2014 Grosjean Petite Arvine Valle d’Aosta Vigne Rovettaz (R+)  {OperaWine2017, Verona} Grosjean understands this variety, it’s pretty clear to me. More than that, they succeed with this variety. If you’ve not had the variety before (or perhaps even if you have), it’s not so easy to compare it to other white varieties – it’s unique. Look at it as a combination of several of white varieties, kind of teasing out the best of each of them, and serving it up in a medium(-) body that carries a good amount of extract and a lot of really refreshing, lifting acidity. I have yet to be able to enjoy this with a proper meal (only tasting events and a visit to the cantina last month) as my bottles are still resting. Bravo, Hervé, bravo Grosjean. Easily recommended+

2008 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo Romirasco (HR)  Impressive. The darker color and profound aromatics go in one direction, but the palate snaps back in another direction, with the wine remaining perplexing – it’s lighter in body than the color and powerful nose would suggest. With some more swirling, this adds a little weight, the core of red/black fruits seem to flex their muscles – as if to say, come back in 5 years, I’ll be ripped. And I think it will be, ripped, as it were, this is an exciting wine, and I hope it realizes all of the potential it’s suggesting today. HOLDhighly recommended

2013 Gaja Barbaresco (R)  The nose is already quite expressive, though, not unexpectedly, the palate’s fine structure has this rather tightly coiled at the moment. With some coaxing, even more complexity emerges. Classic aromas and flavors, there’s little doubt this is gong to deliver the goods, but not before some much needed bottle rest for at least 4-5 more years – even better in 10. If opening anytime soon, Audoze all day, maybe more. Will probably outlive me by a good marginrecommended

2010 Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Vignolo (VHR)  { OperaWine2017, Verona } I’m kind of shocked to see this wine at this event – I’d have told them to go pound salt – the wine’s not ready yet. This is a gorgeous, epic beauty, and it while it’s complete now – in the sense that it’s got all the requisite components – those components need to arrive at a place of great harmony, of full integration. For serious collectors, if you don’t own this yet, find some, and HOLD, the wait will be worth it. As a bonus, I got to see Giuseppe and Alfio in the same room – not always such an easy thing 😀 
very highly recommended20170408_161515-m










2008 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Riserva Le Rocche del Falletto di Serralunga d’Alba A decade more before it’s ready? I should think so, for my palate anyway. That said, I enjoyed it, but it didn’t wow me in any way, it didn’t move me. Perhaps the inner beauty isn’t ready to reveal itself yet, or perhaps it’s just not there, that this is all there’s going to be. Who can say at this young stage, and for that matter, perhaps the bottle was less than ideal. Either way, given today’s performance, I would not be looking to acquire this wine for my cellar – at 52, I’m not sure I’d be alive to enjoy it if/when it decides to become glorious, assuming it can; I’ve seen what these can do after 20 years, and the wait’s almost always worth it. HOLD!

2011 Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric dël Fiasc A lot going on here, and a lot yet to come, too. A wine of good beauty, with quite a lot of complexity and resonant purity. For the vintage, I’d kind of guessed this might be more available/forthcoming than it actually is. If I had some, I’d let them rest another five years before even thinking about opening one – again, what’s underneath here exceeded my expectations, but also adds another data point to the 2011 vintage having produced a lot of very solid wines. HOLD

2008 Massolino Barolo Parussi (HR) { OperaWine2017, Verona } I remember when this was released. I gave it a fair amount of thought, but ultimately passed on picking some up. What a fool, I should have grabbed a case. In the time that’s passed since the release, I’ve really come to know what they’re doing at Massolino, and it’s all good, exciting even. If today’s pour was a fair reflection of the wine, I should think it’s in its preferred plateau, now and for the next decade, at least. Power and elegance are happy companions here; the wine effortlessly leads to a finish of substantive beauty. If I see some at auction, I’m going to buy them all. Which is another way of saying if you see them at auction, please consider something elsehighly recommended

2003 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Cannubi Boschis (R+) I will admit to knowing zilch about this wine in this vintage prior to today’s tasting. That worked out well, I think, as I’ve had a lot of 2003s from this region in the past few years and they’ve turned out better than I’d imagined, so I had no reason to look upon this unfavorably prior to tasting it (a bad habit, I’m trying to break it, I promise). So, looking at this from the point of view of what’s in the glass, and nothing else, I have to say I want the whole bottle. There’s a resolved nature about this, maybe it’s that quality that comes with an ideal maturity, but right now, today, it’s working heavily in this wine’s favor, offering lovely detail to the floral notes, and extra pitch to the Nebbiolo fruit. Not sure if this had been aerated to decanter prior to serving (but I’d like to know, I’m a geek), so I can’t comment on how ready it might be as a PnP. Which is another way of saying if you’re sitting on a few, stand one up this week, put it in the queuerecommended+

2003 Giuseppe E Figlio Mascarello Barolo Monprivato (R+)  Really in a wonderful spot just now. The more 2003s (and 2005s) I have from this region (and Tuscany, too), vintages there were largely maligned and/or panned, the more I have to laugh, at myself, for believing the Pundits. Great producers will find a way to make the best wine they can, which means a lot more than it might sound like – and if they can’t make the wine they want, they’ll sell the grapes, simple as that. Nebbiolo, a delicate grape to be sure, can really withstand a lot, and through it all, show you beauty you never expected. I think this wine is just such an example. That said, no doubt many clever decisions and hard work went into producing such a deeply pleasing wine. Drink now with modest decant, or over the next 5-7 yearsrecommended+

2007 Renato Ratti Barolo Marcenasco  Has aged more gracefully than I’d imagined, having last tasted ~ five years ago. That said, the freshness is beginning to wane, if only a little, so if you’re sitting on several, you should feel perfectly comfortable opening these now and during the next several years. At a wonderful stage of development, with a kiss of primary fruit, integrated tannins and a gentleness about it that is rather pleasing

2005 Azienda Agricola Elvio Cogno Barolo Ravera (R+)  { OperaWine2017, Verona } Was not expecting this to be quite as good as it was. In fact, I kind of had to do a double-take, in the best of ways. Deep and rich, but with a gentle, confident stream of acids that lifts generous layers of red/dark-red fruits in a way that just saturates the palate in waves of pleasure. Something of a savory touch to this that resonates, adds individuality. I liked it a lot. Low scores may keep the secondary prices low on this, which means you have a serious opportunity for a big win should you find some at auctionrecommended+. No need to wait, this is ready now (though I can’t say how long before the event Valter had opened the bottle) and for the next 6-8 years. cogno-s








2009 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Asili (R)  Classic aromas and flavors that aren’t quite fully developed yet. Would be a shame to open this anytime soon as it just seems to want more bottle rest. There’s an inner harmony here, but it’s missing a streak of energy to take it into exciting territory. Perhaps that will come with more time, I have to think so, based on my experience with this producer, and knowing this grape/variety marches to its drum, not ours. HOLDrecommended

2012 Falesco Montiano Lazio IGT (R+)  Montiano (100% Merlot) is a wine that requires patience. Walk-around/trade tasting are pretty much useless, as wines like this require years to develop. Maybe one can get an idea what’s to come here. Maybe. But today, the wine’s just too young; it’s not fair to drop blanket statements, or adjectives that will no doubt change, etc. I think critics have a necessity to award points, I mean review a wine, but that doesn’t mean the wine’s ready to tell you all there is to know. With Montiano, in my twenty years of knowing it, it can be many things at many times, but it’s rarely the same thing twice. Really careful selection of grapes here, and a little lower density of planting, together with vines of ~ 15yrs of age, all built on a foundation of volcanic (influenced) soil. In other words, it’s not a straight-forward proposition here, and this isn’t a straight-forward wine – not yet, anyway. Give this five years, minimum, if you really want to get a feel for Montiano; likely better, more complete in tenrecommended+

2012 Elena Fucci Aglianico del Vulture Titolo (R)  { #OperaWine2017, Verona} Fresh and full-bodied, this shows a good balance of a modern touch while maintaining the character of the grape (100% Aglianico) and the place (Vulture). I was just here a few months ago, satisfying a decades old curiosity; the region’s more diverse than it looks, and the soil is indeed unique and conducive to this variety. This has a fair amount going on, and it’s obvious by how often it’s changing in my glass that this has more to say. In other words, give this 2-3 hours of air in decanter if serving anytime soon, or better, wait another 2-3 years for the (barrique) wood to have a better integrationrecommended elena-s




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