Browse Tag


Screamin’ Pajé Hawkins

[roagna pajé]Roagna 1999 Barbaresco Pajé (Piedmont) — This takes an half-hour or so to unwind, and then improves steadily for well over an hour; I’m sure it would have continued, but the recipients of such beauty were greedy consumers. Dried flowers, dried bark, faint woodsmoke upon a parched sunrise. Fullness with delicacy, hardness with yield. A lovely, lovely wine. (7/16)


[produttori]Produttori del Barbaresco 2012 Barbaresco (Piedmont) — Particularly…perhaps even unusually…approachable. Mostly crushed and dusted flower petals, with some soft earth. By general standards it seems beautifully in balance, which of course makes me wonder if it’s in nebbiolo-balance. In any case, it’s one that will be hard to not drink, because it’s so appealing right now. And finding nebbiolo that requires patience isn’t exactly difficult. (5/16)

Thick as a Brich

[albino, eunaudi, zenato]Albino Rocca 1995 Barbaresco Vigneto Brich Ronchi (Piedmont) — Floral dust, which is usually a beautiful outcome for aged nebbiolo. And it’s nice, but it seems muted…either from a little too much age or a little too much effort in the cellar, back at conception. I’m carping; this is a nice wine from which I apparently expect more than it’s willing to give. (4/16)

Ettore Amos

Ettore Germano 1999 Barolo Cerretta (Piedmont) – Gritty tar in dark-fruited runoff water. Hints of fine tobacco and bark. There’s a fist here, but the glove isn’t velvet, it’s medium-grit sandpaper. I waver between liking this and thinking that the materials other than tannin just aren’t quite interesting enough. But it’s long, the coal-like minerality turns somewhat crystalline on the finish, and had I another bottle I’d be willing to wait it out. (6/12)


Alessandria 2004 Barolo Monvigliero (Piedmont) – Let me preface this note by saying that at the time I drink this wine, I’m in the early stages of what will eventually be a three-week misery of sickness, the worst I’ve experience since I was swaddled. So there’s every reason to suspect that my palate is not 100%, or at least of which 100% it might be capable. I mention this because I struggle to find aromatic interest in this wine, which is never a welcome absence in a nebbiolo. The structure, while certainly dominant, isn’t as forbidding as it could be. And there’s a lot of density to the wine. But other qualities…I’m just not seeing them. (11/11)

Space Oddero

Oddero 1998 Barolo (Piedmont) – I admit to struggling with this wine, never quite sure if it’s corked (if so, it’s sub-my-threshold) or just being a typically antisocial mid-life Barolo. The only thing of sure of is that, based on numbers and history rather than organoleptics, this is probably a suboptimal age to be drinking a traditionally-styled Barolo. It is not, in any sense, giving of itself, except with clouds of obscurative tannin and an angry snarl. Structurally and temporally, all seems to be right with the wine, and my worries about taint are not shared by anyone else who tastes it. So if this bottle is representative, this is no time to be drinking it. If it’s not, then I just don’t know. And there’s always the possibility that the current problem is the taster and not the wine. (11/11)

It’s Sisquoc in the morning

Palmina 2006 Nebbiolo Sisquoc (Santa Maria Valley) – Freshly-crushed fruit, dark and forward, buried under a shower of funereal black lilies. Earthy and a bit bitter. Despite the forward fruit, there’s a persistent inner herbality and won’t – and shouldn’t – go away. It’s a little strange (OK, a lot strange), but I really kind of like it. At the very least, nebbiolo appears to be attempting to make some sort of contribution here. (11/11)

Stolp at nothing

Palmina 2006 Nebbiolo Stolpman (Santa Ynez Valley) – Mocha and blueberry confections with a solid wall of dusty tannin. Really, though, its inability to get one foot out of the dessert tray is sits undoing. A shame, too, as I’ve liked this wine a great deal in the past. (11/11)

Honea shrunk the nebbiolo

Palmina 2006 Nebbiolo Honea (Santa Ynez Valley) – Soft tannin and elastic juice, with layers of lacticity. Dead-ish; it’s still very present, but there’s no form or content to the presence. Completely uninteresting. (11/11)