Browse Tag

piedmont

Ascheri night

[harvest]Ascheri 2004 Nebbiolo d’Alba Bricco S. Giacomo (Piedmont) – Fine aromatics can’t quite be suppressed by a layer of slick woodiness and a lingering buttery note. Was this wine actually barriqued, or is there some sort of minor heat damage masquerading as internationalization? Whichever is the case, it’s pleasant enough, but it grows less interesting as the bottle progresses. (10/07)

Abbona to pick

[label]Abbona 2005 Barbera d’Alba Rinaldi (Piedmont) – Passionately expressive, with spiky acidity and vibrant red fruit spiraling around the palate; this has one foot in tradition and the other in some sort of free-flowing Dalí painting. Fun, and compelling at the same time. (10/07)

Alba’s fair…

[label]Bruno Giacosa 2006 Dolcetto d’Alba (Piedmont) – Complete and polished, with rich red fruit and a non-subtle animalistic underbelly, smooth tannin, nearly fair acidity and a round, ripe finish given texture and definition by mixed earth characteristics. Very, very good. (9/07)

Rocche & roll all night

Brovia 2001 Barolo Rocche dei Brovia (Piedmont) – Very young, of course, but already showing some qualities beyond the tarry primaries…mostly an expansion of the dried-floral aromatics and the emergent promontory of a dense, rocky core covered with a rich layer of brown loam. This is a wine with its roots deep in the earth. (8/07)

The Gaja hypothesis

[angelo gaja]Gaja 2004 Langhe “Sito Moresco” (Piedmont) – Nebbiolo, merlot & cabernet sauvignon. Maybe. Whatever it’s made from, a more overtly sexualized wine can scarcely be imagined. The fruit (mostly berries and spice) is velvety, rich, luxurious and utterly seductive, and what structure remains is softened and lotioned and polished to virtual invisibility, though it’s important to note that it isn’t actually absent. As I said: sexy, though in an obvious, impossible-to miss way. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this wine had a pimp. Or, more appropriately, a high-class madam. Even though my natural inclination is to carp about the wine’s clearly internationalized intent, I find it absolutely impossible to dislike the wine. If all the goopy New World monstrosities were actually this good, I might have to reevaluate the genre. Unfortunately (or perhaps thankfully, depending on your vinous religion), they’re not. This, on the other hand, is spectacular. (9/07)

The Grasso is always greener

Giuseppe Grasso “La Granera” 2004 Barbera d’Alba (Piedmont) – Tasting this brings back memories. Because I remember when barbera used to taste like this: crisp, biting, all red-hued berries with a little bit of sizzle. This isn’t one of the really old style thin and linear versions, however; it’s richer and a little bit wider around the waist, with a lovely finish that seems to begin to fade, then re-emerges with an angular vengeance. Perhaps it’s lightly wooded, perhaps just the result of better fruit. In either case, it’s not one of the overworked, overwooded monstrosities that infect the appellation. It’s not a “great” wine, but then part of what makes it so good is that it recalls a time when barbera wasn’t supposed to aspire to greatness. Bring out your tomatoes! (9/07)

Phineas fog

[label]Ettore Germano 2005 Langhe Nebbiolo (Piedmont) – Uninspiring, with obvious and prosaic nebbiolo dominated by its tarry, rather than floral, side and very little promise of inner aromatics to come. The tannin is correspondingly dominant, though there’s plenty of acidity as well. More than a bit hollow. It needs age, certainly, but I’m not sure the result will ever be all that compelling, and balance will remain an area of concern. (9/07)

Don Bongiovanni

[bottle]Cascina Bongiovanni 2005 Dolcetto d’Alba (Piedmont) – Friendly, fresh raspberry and boysenberry bisected by a thick wall of slightly biting tannin. The wine isn’t out of balance, necessarily, but I’m not sure the fruit will win the ultimate race to the finish line. That said, there’s a lot to like here, with an appealing emergence of mixed peppercorns and something more baritone and earthen in the finish. It’s occasionally leafy as well. I like it. Not everyone will. (9/07)

The Gattinara in the hat

[vineyard]Travaglini 2001 Gattinara (Piedmont) – Tar, but not so much with the roses…though there is a vague floral element here. Mostly, however, this is about pleasant organic elements, autumnal and humid, floating over a moldering bed of moistened earth. It’s fairly tasty, but doesn’t bear any sort of close examination. And I don’t know that it will reward much aging, either. (8/07)