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WTN: Various Piemontese Wines


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I visited a bunch of wineries in Piemonte during my visit, and here are the notes from them, in addition to miscellaneous notes from wine had in restaurants, etc.

2002 Pio Cesare Dolcetto d'Alba

Dark garnet/purple colour. Aromas of balsam, black cherry, and plums. Medium-bodied; very dry. On the palate, black fruits and oak that cause the front of the mouth to pucker. Drying finish with decent fruit. Sipped outside on Vittorio Emanuele II at Bar Pasticceria Pettite in Alba. 83 points (05/18/2004).

1998 Angelo Veglio Barolo Bricco Fontanile

Pale ruby/orange colour. Aromas of dried rose petals, tar, anise, cherries, earth, cinnamon, and a hint of violets and cedar as the wine began to open up. Medium-bodied with present but not overbearing tannins; cherries, earth, and tar on the palate. Nice 30s finish with dried flower notes. Drink now. 86 points (05/18/2004).

2003 Ceretto Blange Arneis

100% Arneis - Pale golden colour. Clean aromas of apples, pears, cream, and white flowers. Palate of pear and citrus, but very crisp and focused. Nice finish, ~30-40s with no bitterness that is found in some Arneis (this is due to a small amount of residual sugar allowed to remain in the wine) and has pear notes continuing through. A very well made wine and a new experience for me. 87 points (05/19/2004).

2001 Ceretto Monsordo

A blend of mostly international varietals - 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 15% Syrah, and 8% Nebbiolo. Dark garnet colour. Aromas of cream, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, animal, spice, and balsamico. Fresh tasting and tannic; I can only get red fruits out of this right now. Moderate finish, dry, ~25-30s. Seems a little young to me. This is the first vintage that Syrah has been added to the blend as it was just recently approved for use in Piemontese wines. 86 points, could improve with short-term cellaring. (05/19/2004).

1999 Ceretto Barolo Zonchera

Ruby/rose colour to an oranging rim. Aromas of rose petals, violets, cherries, peaches, and minerals. Medium-bodied, puckering and tannic; roses, tar, violets, and red fruit on the palate. Moderate-long finish, 45-50s. Lots of potential for this wine, but it needs a few more years to settle down. 89 points (05/19/2004).

1999 Ceretto Barolo Bricco Rocche Prapo

Ruby-orange colour to rim. Aromas of orange rinds, white flowers, dried roses, vanilla, and berries. Medium-bodied with cherries, plum, earth, vanilla, and apricot. Quite tannic and need a lot of time to come together. Moderate-length finish, ~ 30-40s. Revisit in 3-4 years to re-evaluate the potential for longevity. 87 points (05/19/2004).

2000 Ceretto Barbaresco Bricco Asili Bricco Asili

Ruby red to rose rim. Aromas of aged balsamico, white pepper, tar, animal fur, violets, and vanilla. Medium-full bodied, lovely fruit integrated with fine tannins. Red fruit is all that is showing right now, but the structure of the wine is excellent. Long, long finish, 60+s with earth, cherry, and violet notes. Give this lots

of time. (05/19/2004).

1999 Poderi Colla Barbera d'Alba

Medium-ruby red colour to a dusty rim. Lovely, perfumed nose of dried roses, violets, orange rind, currant, and blackberries. On the palate, well-integrated tannins and showing good red and black fruits with a bit of old saddle leather. Solid 30-40s finish. Drink now. 87 points (05/19/2004).

2003 Sottimano Dolcetto d'Alba Bric del Salto

Purple colour. Aromas of bright red fruits, apricots, raspberry, tiny red berry fruit (currant, strawberries). Tannic in the mouth, but medium-bodied with red fruits following from the nose. Moderate length finish, ~20-25s with anise notes. Needs a little time to settle down and integrate. 86 points (05/20/2004).

2002 Sottimano Barbera d'Alba Pairolero

Only bottled three days ago. Opaque purple/black colour. Aromas of blackberries and crushed black figs. Very balanced with good acidity that is not overwhelming. Showing dark crushed fruits on the palate. Solid finish with more dark fruits, ~35s. Very good. 88 points (05/20/2004).

2001 Sottimano Barbaresco Fausoni

Ruby colour to a rose rim. Aromas of violets, orange rind, roses, and balsamico. Medium-full bodied wine. Mouthpuckering; very dry. Good red fruits, minerals, earth, and cherries. Great finish, ~45-50s with red and black fruits. Needs time to come together - at least 3 years in the cellar. 88 points (05/20/2004).

2001 Sottimano Barbaresco Curra

Medium-ruby colour to pink rim. Aromas of balsamico and mint, developing with air to show currant and berries too. A little bigger/richer than the Fausoni. Meidum-full bodied with red and black fruit. It's a bigger wine, but not flabby at all. A well-balanced wine with solid potential in several years. The wine continues to open up with time, showing a strong 60s finish. 90 points (05/20/2004).

2001 Sottimano Barbaresco Cotta

The Cotta vineyard is located 500m away from the Curra cru. Medium-dark ruby colour. Aromas of currant and black fruit (blackcurrent/blackberry) with a hint of eucalyptus, vanilla, and mocha. Medium-full bodied; nice rich wine. Black fruit and minerals on the palate, showing a different style of tannins than those from the Curra cru. Good finish, ~45s. 88 points (05/20/2004).

2001 Sottimano Barbaresco Pajore

Located 5km from Cotta, this cru is 450m up the hill. The extremely poor soil makes for a more austere wine. Ruby/garnet colour; darker than the others. Very perfumed nose showing some austerity, but with aromas of minerals, red fruit, tobacco, and spice. Full-bodied with outstanding purity of juice. Black/red fruits, flowers, and spice showing on the palate. The spice lingers through to the long, long finish, ~60s. Outstanding. 92 points (05/20/2004).

2000 Sottimano Barbaresco Pajore

Lighter ruby/orange colour. Aromas of vanilla, violetes, and anise; a touch richer than the 2001 at this point. Medium-full bodied, already enjoyable. Present but not overwhelming tannins and showing red fruit, tarragon, and spice. Good acidity/freshness. Lingering finish ~45-50s. Let this one sleep for many more years to get full enjoyment from the wine if you only have a couple bottles. 91 points (05/20/2004).

1999 Sottimano Barbaresco Curra

Garnet colour with pink/orange tinges on the rim. Aromas of dried flowers, balsamico, blackcurrant, vanilla, mint, and mocha. Medium-full bodied and tannic, but very fresh tasting in the mouth, showing red fruits, mocha, and balsamico. Fresh finish, ~45-50s with red currant notes. Needs more cellar time, as this wine is just beginning to blossom. 91 points (05/20/2004).

2000 San Ferealo Dolcetto di Dogliano Superiore

Dark garnet colour, almost opaque, to a violet/rose rim. Fat, slow legs, sheeting the glass. Aromas of blackberry, black cherry, and spice. Medium-full bodied with blackcurrant, Indian spice, and sliced plums. Moderate-long finish, ~35-40s, with black fruits. A wonderful Dolcetto. 88 points (05/20/2004).

2000 Poderi Aldo Conterno Bussiador

100% Chardonnay aged in 100% new wood, 228L French oak barriques. The grapes for this wine are gown in a vineyard with very chalky soils.

Lighter golden colour showing fat, thick legs. Wonderful aromas of vanilla, minerals, tropical fruit, cream, apple, pear, honey, and apricot. Medium-bodied, clean on the palate with cream and white flowers. Developed additional aromas of cream, mango, pineapple, lemon, and a hint of caramel with time in the glass. It really fleshed out on the palate, showing more body and structure, with honey, apricots, and other white fruits following from the nose. Beautiful finish lasting 40-45s. Giacomo Conterno says this wine can go 10 years without a problem, and shows best in the 5-10 year range. An outstanding white. 93 points (05/20/2004).

2001 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barbera d'Alba Conca Tre Pile

12 months in wood; 70% new wood, 30% old wood. Garnet ruby to pink rim. Wonderful legs. Aromas of red berry fruit, earth, cherry, flowers (violets), and dark chocolate. Fresh tasting with good acidity, but is well balanced. Shows good berry fruit on the palate. Nice fruity finish, ~30s in length with berries continuing through. A very pleasant wine. 87 points (05/20/2004).

1999 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo Cicala

This is A. Conterno's single vineyard Barolo. They only use botte for their Barolo to keep with the tradition of the region.

Deep garnet colour to an oranging rim. Aromas of black truffles, licorice, tar, roses, violets, earth, spice, black cherries, black figs, plums, and mocha. Medium-full bodied with black truffle, fig, cherry, and spice replays from the nose. Long, long finish lasting over a minute with vanilla, earth, and black cherry notes. An outstanding wine with a long life ahead of it, much like the 1996. 95 points (05/20/2004).

1978 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo Riserva Granbussia

Light garnet colour to a slight orange rim. Gorgeous legs. Aromas of truffles, old saddle leather, spice, earth, cherries, dried rose petals, tar, and a hint of licorice. Medium-full bodied; an unreal wine. Tannins are perfectly integrated and the wine shows spice, leather, roses, earth, truffles, and orange rind on the palate. Long, long finish, ~50-55s, showing cherry and spice notes. Giacomo Conterno said this is easily a 50 year wine. An absolutely unbeliveable experience. 97 points (05/20/2004).

2003 Braida Il Fiore

Chardonnay, Riesling Renano, and three local white grapes.

Pale yellow colour. Perfumed nose of honey, lychee, and lemon. Medium-bodied, with white flowers and white fruit. Clean finish, ~20-25s. Simple, clean wine. 85 points (05/21/2004).

2001 Braida Asso di Fiori

100% Chardonnay.

Pale golden yellow colour. Aromas of white flowers, apple blossoms, and vanilla. Medium-full bodied with replays from nose, and a bit of cream and spice. Moderate length finish, ~30s with cream notes. 87 points (05/21/2004).

2002 Braida Barbera d'Asti Montebruna

Deep garnet colour with burgandy tinges. Aromas of grapefruit, currant, briar, and cherries. Medium-full bodied wine. Low tannins but balanced acidity. Blackcurrant, black plums, cherries, and earth on the palate. Moderate finish, ~30-25s with spice, plums, and sour cherries. 86 points (05/21/2004

2002 Braida Il Baciale

80% Barbera, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Pinot Nero.

This is only the second year Cabernet Sauvignon has been in the blend. Usually the volumes of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Nero are reversed, but in 2002, the quality of Pinot Nero was not good due to the poor weather in the region. Dark garnet colour to dusty rim. Aromas of cherry, earth, plums, briar, and red flowers. Medium-bodied; soft in the mouth, sowing red fruits (currant, plums) and berries. ~30s finish with berry notes. 87 points (05/21/2004).

2000 Braida Barbera d'Asti Bricco dell'Uccellone

Dark garnet with purple tinges. Aromas of peaches, dried flowers, figs, blackcurrant, tar, vanilla, and a whiff of licorice. Medium-full boided with few tannins, low acidity, yet is pleasant to drink. Showing a mixture of black fruits on the palate. Moderate finish, ~25-30s with red fruits. Drink now to retain the freshness of this wine. 89 points (05/21/2004).

2001 Braida Barbera d'Asti Bricco della Bigotta

Dark garnet colour with black tinges; almost opaque. Aromas of red fruits, cherries, vanilla, and violets. Medium-full bodied with integrated, but few tannins. Black fruit and vanilla on the palate. Moderate finish, ~35-40s, with plums and black licorice. 88 points (05/21/2004).

2001 Braida Barbera d'Asti Ai Suma

Dark garnet colour with black tinges to a violet/rose rim. Aromas of black licorice and black figs. Medium-full bodied with black crushed fruit, blackcurrant, etc. Very focused and balanced. A little drier on the finish with pepper, flowers, and black fruit notes. Moderate length on the finish, ~35s. 89 points (05/21/2004).

2003 Braida Moscato d'Asti Vigne Senza Nome

Nicknamed the "G-spot wine" at Braida. Pale yellow colour with green tinges. Wonderfully perfumed nose with lychee, honey, apricot, brown sugar, and cream. Slightly frizzante in the mouth; medium-bodied with apple, pear, honey, cream, and vanilla. Not too sweet, which is nice. Moderate length finish, ~30-35s. Clean finish with lychee and honey notes. Best wine from the tasting at Braida. 90 points (05/21/2004).

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It took you long enough! I've been waiting for these! Thanks for taking the time to post them - they are most interesting. I hope you and your father enjoyed the trip.

I agree very much with your assessment of the Sottimano wines although I would score the 2001's a notch higher. I find these wines consistently among the finest of the barriqued Barbaresci. I think they are fascinating to taste together as the wood treatment has clearly not overwhelmed the characteristics of each vineyard.

Could you comment on he experience of tasting so many young nebbiolo wines over such a short period and how it changed or reinforced your interpretation of the area and its wines? It would be interesting to discuss how visiting and tasting in a wine region affects your perceptions of the wines.

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Sorry Craig, it's been kind of busy, and it takes a little more time to post notes in bulk than individually.

The trip was outstanding. I can't stress that enough. The weather, food, wine, people - everything.

Sottimano's wine were excellent, and they will likely warrant a higher score with some bottle age. I could definitely sense the direction they were going after tasting the 2000 Pajore and 1999 Curra. Indeed it was interesting to taste the characteristics of the vineyard. Andrea took us through the wines in order from closest to farthest from his house, and even the wine produced from vineyards a half kilometer away was distinct.

Tasting so many young Nebbiolo wines in a short period was difficult. As a grape that traditionally needs time to show its elegance, the young wines were more powerful, and sometimes almost harsh. A lot of them were quite puckering in the mouth and it took a lot of focus to really see behind the wall of tannin and primary fruit to what the wine will likely develop into with time.

I really enjoyed visiting/tasting in the region and visiting the vineyards. Understanding the soil, climate, grape, vinification and aging processes (and experiencing them first hand) allow me to better comprehend the "soul" of the wine and where it comes from. In my opinion, I "got" Nebbiolo wine before my trip. Now I understand the essence of it and what makes it so special.

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Wonderful! It will be nice to chat with him on a regular basis. The early Saturday phone call to Andrea when we were leaving Alba was quite funny. He was already out in the vineyards working away.

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