Browse Tag


Cascina your chips

Giacomo Conterno 1998 Barbera d’Alba Cascina Francia (Piedmont) – Barbed-wire acidity with its points through a forest of wild lingonberries and a sea of cranberries. This is barbera. (9/08)

Vajra infection

Vajra 2004 Barbera d’Alba (Piedmont) – Gorgeous, with far more mature aromatics of autumn leaves and freshly-baked fruit pies than the age of the wine would indicate. Structurally, it’s quite youthful, perfectly melding precise acidity and impeccably placed fruit and tannin, and based on the palate it should go a number of years. The question, however, becomes: is the wait worth it when it tastes this good now? (5/08)

Pira Nerys

[label]Pira 2006 Dolcetto d’Alba (Piedmont) – Striking in its intensity, with a blend of darker-hued berries and Cajun earthiness brought forward by the persistent press of a wall of structure. It’s not overwhelming by any means, and despite the size there’s a fine sense of balance, but it’s really just very, very big. I like it a great deal, but it won’t necessarily appeal to every purist. Oh…and isn’t it time to put the “little sweet one” story of this grape to rest once and for all? (3/08)

Alba mater

[bottle]Roagna 2006 Dolcetto d’Alba (Piedmont) – Acidic, lightly-fruited, and lightly tannic. I must note for the record that almost everyone around me loves this. I think there’s something off about it, but it’s not (obvious) TCA, so I keep fairly quiet. Based on other vintages, certainly, this is not what the wine’s supposed to taste like, so I’d suggest dismissing this note for now. (1/08)

Little sweet Jessica

Cappellano 2005 Dolcetto d’Alba (Piedmont) – Big, rose-dominated flowers in the blackest soil, with a satiny texture. Long and structured, with a slight preference towards acidity. Dolcetto for the long haul, certainly, and quite accomplished without tasting like there’s “accomplishing” going on, if that makes any sense. (1/08)

A foggy day in Vietnam

Cappellano 2003 Nebbiolo d’Alba (Piedmont) – A touch of brett and a moderate amount of hard tannin eventually give way to fruity, seedy blackberry and a crisp finish of surprising lightness. Now that’s an outcome I didn’t expect from the initial impression. I think it’s good, but honestly I have no idea where it’s headed. (1/08)

Sweet little thing

[bottle]Roagna 2005 Dolcetto d’Alba (Piedmont) – Very tight at first. With plenty of air, it gradually emerges from its shell, showing strong, graphite-textured tannin, dark berries, and a firm, studious blotch of acidity. Everything here is in beautiful balance, but while the wine can be forced (though aeration) to have appeal now, it’s really going to be much better in the future. (1/08)

Ba, ba, ba…ba, barbera

[bottle]Bruno Giacosa 2005 Barbera d’Alba (Piedmont) – Even though the grapes don’t have that much in common, aspirational barbera reminds me of zinfandel in that it pairs delicious, friendly fruit with good acidity. Of course, barbera has, in its non-spoofulated state, more acid than zinfandel. OK, so maybe it’s not the best comparison. Anyway, this is polished without being overworked, showing vivid red fruit with fine acidity enveloped by a supple, rounded structure. And yet, through it all cuts that beautiful core of acidity. Very, very good. (10/07)