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The wines from Barale always strike me as such elegant examples of their varieties----they are high-toned with bright fruit, layers of complexity, and considerable polish; the 2014 Langhe Nebbiolo is no exception. The wine is quite light in the glass and very aromatic, showing intense violet and rose floral notes with sour cherry fruit and red apple skins backed by fresh cremini mushrooms and subtle hints of earth. The body is smooth with some well integrated tannins and plenty of acidity; the florals fade on the palate to show a more pure cherry fruit and mushrooms with quite a mineral finish. This young, elegant Nebbiolo would pair wonderfully with veal scallopini, mushroom risotto, or beef tartare. Andy Paynter
Significantly more depth than the very fine Barolo classico, with herbs and meaty notes along with notable chalk tang – very fine grained tannins; a bit richer and rounder than the 2010, but lacking none of the finesse that Rocche (and the Brovias) can produce. Jamie Wolff
The Cantina Del Lupo 2014 Barbera d’Asti is a textured, fruit forward Barbera that feels more serious than many of the Barberas coming out of Asti. Rather than light red fruit, the Cantina Del Lupo shows fairly concentrated dark berry fruit on the nose with an herbal tinge to it. Fairly full and showing some sweet spice on the palate, it has fresh acidity and very soft tannins. Pair it with pizza, tomatoes based pasta dishes, simple chicken dishes. Andy Paynter
You could certainly cellar this wine for some years to come, but I like the way it’s drinking now. The nose is warm with baking spice, rose, and savory aromas; there’s a dark core to the wine but it’s actually quite elegant, with velvety tannin, and it even becomes delicate on the long finish. Miles ahead of the competition! Jamie Wolff
Assuming that you don’t want your wine oaky and jammy, this is one of the best Nebbiolos from the Roero that I’ve tasted, and it compares favorably with the finest produced in Barolo / Barbaresco. It hits lovely savory and cherry liqueur notes; it’s intense and mouthfilling but light on the palate; firmly tannic, this will play well with a wide range of food, so long as it’s nothing too delicate in flavor. Jamie Wolff
I think the 2010 Barolo is a special wine, showing transparent Bussia dark fruit, elegant and austere stoniness, and the harmonious character of the vintage's best wines. The equilibrium and finesse that are part of those best wines is very evident; although the 2010 will age (and improve) for a very long time, it’s quite delicious now. Regarding Bussia, in Barolo MGA, the great cartographer Alessandro Masnaghetti writes: “The first cru, along with Rocche di Castiglione, to be officially declared on a Barolo label in the “modern era”, Bussia is not only the best vineyard site in all of Monforte d’Alba, but one of the super-stars of the entire appellation, capable of stimulating the dreams and desires of wine lovers all over the world.” Don't be put off by the low price! We set prices based on what we pay – if we get a good buy, then you do too. The Clerico wines are imported for Chambers Street; with more beaks dipping, the Barolo would normally be 50-60% more expensive in this market, as is the case for many of Clerico’s peers. The favorable exchange rate with the Euro has also helped make this an incredible buy for the quality of the wine. Jamie Wolff
It is a real treat to find a deep, savory Barbera that hasn't been clouded by new oak. The 2011 Clerico Barbera d’Alba is just such a wine. The nose is complex with notes of dark red berry fruit and black plums followed by violets, sweet spice, and a leafy undertone. Fairly full-bodied with a soft but present tannic structure, the palate is lifted by fresh acidity and more forward red fruit. Delicious on its own, it would pair wonderfully with pizza margherita, or pasta with chicken, tomatoes, and artichokes. Open early and enjoy! - Andy Paynter
From the ripe 2009 vintage, Giacomo Conterno's Barolo Cascina Francia avoids the overly rich character of some of the wines of their neighbors. Perfumes of orange oil, earth, grilled meat arise from the glass. The palate while dense and structured shows fine counterpoise between power and elegance, with sweet fruit, soil notes, and savory notes framed by ripe tannins and buoyed by good acidity for the vintage. This is quite pretty and while drinking nicely with decanting, this will benefit from another 10-20 years in the cellar when the fruit and structure should integrate. John McIlwain
A note about hand-written labels, and other variables in wine packaging: My parents traveled a lot in Europe in the 1950s and ‘60s, and I remember that even in the 1960s they would remark on how signs of the war lingered – bomb damage and other un-reconstructed traces, of course, but also shortages of some basic consumer goods, like soap and toilet paper. Not surprisingly the difficulty in finding supplies extended to wine making; for example you couldn’t count on getting all of the same type of bottle every year. Add to this a farmer-wine maker’s natural and sensible frugality and you get further explanation about why some wines are not always packaged the same way. I’m not talking about First Growth Bordeaux, but in a place like Barolo, that was actually poor, and where selling wine was by no means a certainty, you made due with the materials on hand, including recycling last year’s bottles and labels when you could. For the most part wine was bottled on demand, and so the same vintage might be bottled over several years and might incorporate a variety of materials, including different bottles, corks and capsules, a variety of labels, handwritten details, or perhaps one vintage crossed-out and another written in its place – thus not wasting a perfectly good label. As related to us by Maria-Theresa Mascarello, this practice was certainly true for her grandfather and father, who until the 1980s sold almost all of their wine from the cellar to people they knew well, who were buying for their homes or restaurants, and who no issue with some mix of packaging. Even now this kind of thing happens: at another cellar my wife and I were given a bottle of the new vintage, but the vintage tags hadn’t arrived, so the wine maker wrote the year on a label from the previous year. In a sweet way that bottle is now an extra-special souvenir, and of course we have no intention of ever selling it. We just need to wait about 20 years… Jamie Wolff
In 2010 Chiara and Michele were living in Milan with their two young children when they decided to buy a small organic farm in Paderna and start making wine. They have 3.5 hectares made up of 10 small parcels of 15 to 100-year-old vines. The vineyards face both north and south at an altitude of about 300 meters, with soils rich in limestone and clay. For the Barbera Superiore, the grapes are destemmed and fermented in cement tanks. Maceration on the skins lasts 40 days depending on the year, with malolactic fermentation taking place in barrels. The wine spends 18 months in barrels and a minimum of 6 months in bottle before it is released. The result is a Barbera with a complex nose of black cherries and cloves. On the palate you get ripe black plums, violets, sage and dark chocolate. This is a really unique and interesting Barbera, and one that I will certainly be drinking more of! Christine Manula
This Rosso is 90% Barbera and 10% Dolcetto. We will drink some on Thanksgiving – we have a miscellaneous crowd of fellow-orphans, and they represent a wide range of taste and interest in wine, or lack thereof. I am not normally a fan of blends from Piedmont, so it’s surprising to me that I love this wine. There is still plenty of old vine Barbera character, but extra vivacity and complexity from the Dolcetto makes it really delicious and interesting. I anticipate it to be a crowd-pleaser, with enough intrigue for wine lovers, easy drinkability for the drinkers, and a very good pick to play well with the crazy range of Thanksgiving flavors. Jamie Wolff
Mint, balsam, on top of full Nebbiolo aromatics and a lot of minerality; very ripe and firm tannins. This shows that it’s not all about 2010! It’s made from younger vines in Boscareto (see below), usually harvested rather later than the neighbors. Principiano thinks that his organic viticulture has made a huge difference in the health of the vines, even in difficult growing seasons. The wine gets about a month of maceration and then is aged in 20,000 and 40,000 liter barrels. It’s a harmonious and deep wine with a long future. Jamie Wolff
Lovely nose of caramel, wet earth, tar, roses, rainwater and old barrel spice. The color is an octave lighter than the Produttori. Elegant and juicy with vivid cherry fruit and a speherical sense on the palate. Great concentration and gritty tannins. Lovely acidity. Long finish. Totally mature wine. LF
Lovely wine with a deep penetrating nose of leather, spice, mineral, cherry and chestnut. Palate has great inner mouth aromas and nice juicy fruit. Great ripeness with good chewiness. Lovely stuff!
For Christmas this year I would like to be given the Giuseppe Rinaldi 2002 Barolo, in magnum. Please. In Piedmont the summer of ’02 saw unprecedented quantities of rain, cool temps, landslides, hail, and downpours of frogs – just about every bad wet weather thing that can happen, and many producers didn’t even make wine. By way of contrast, Giacomo Conterno bottled only Monfortino; I haven’t tasted it for a while but it was pretty spectacular then (it would be very interesting to taste the 2002 Monfortino blind… does anyone with a bottle want to join the experiment?). And G Rinaldi made really good Barolo, which I was first wowed by in 2007, and then again last May. So I’d like that mag, please. Jamie Wolff
Formerly labeled Cannubi San Lorenzo - Ravera, this is close to same blend / same wine. Early on (from barrel in 2014) the Tre Tine seemed closer in style to Brunate than usual, sharing a dark core of ripe fruit, and very ripe tannin. A year later there was more obvious difference, with the elegance of Cannubi beginning to shine. Out of about 120 Barolos, this is one of the very best 2011s we've tasted. Jamie Wolff
Nowadays, Grignolino is often made in a fairly heavy, extracted style that mimics something of the structure of Nebbiolo, but this one is old-school: light, fresh, juicy. It’s dry and savory with lovely bright cherry fruit and a foundation of chalky earth. The wine sings! It’s perfect for fall appetizers — salume, crostini, rich soups — or as red-wine-with-fish. This wine is an absolute delight. Jamie Wolff