18 October 2012, 21 Warren Street, Tribeca
This October, with help from the team at NY Vintners, we had our second annual Barolo dinner. With several repeat attendees from the first year as well as some new faces, we had a more structured approach to the tasting this year: the focus was on ’99, ’01 and ’03 vintage wines with a more limited set of producers than last year. The goal was to focus on vintage variation from a single producer as well as modernist vs. traditionalist’s style differences.
As is usually the case when Ryan is cooking, the food was so good it got as much buzz and comments as the wine. The menu for the night was:
- Wild Mushroom Cappuccino with shaved parmesan tuile – my favorite comment: “I love this soup and I hate mushrooms!”
- Cinnamon Braised Ossobuco with carrot risotto, Meyer lemon gremolata – this was an incredible preparation for this classic Italian dish. I had ossobuco at Babbo about a month later and it was nowhere near as tender and flavorful as it was at this meal.
- Chocolate Pot-du-Creme with sea salt, pignoli
Our first flight of wines were the younger wines of the night:
- ** 2003 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo (La Morra; bought 3 bottles) – tart red fruit and high acidity from one of Barolo’s classic producers. Had a medium finish with medium tannins – not drinking at a point where I really enjoy Barolo but think this will develop into a medium body, aromatic Barolo. Revisit in a few years. $90
- ** 2003 Giacomo Conterno Barolo (Serralunga; bought 3 bottles) – earthy and acidic with a very long finish. Definition of traditional Barolo. A much more powerful wine than the Mascarello and as a result, another wine at a point where I don’t enjoy drinking it. Wait at least 3 years before revisiting. $90
- ** 2001 Cavallotto Barolo Boschis San Giuseppe Riserva (Castigilione Falletto) – more fruit forward than the ’99 wines with big acidity, oaked. Easier to drink than the Vietti today – definitely needs a lot more time. $100
- ** 2001 Vietti Barolo Brunate (La Morra; bought 3 bottles) – very high acidity with a medium finish. Not as complex and nuanced as other Vietti I’ve had but still a very strong wine – would expect this to drink well within the next couple years. $100
Our second flight of wines were all 1999’s:
- *** 1999 Rocche dei Manzoni Barolo Vigna Cappella di Santo Stefano (Monforte) – this is one of the wines I contributed for the tasting which was very well received. A modern style wine, having spent 36 months in oak, was everything you would expect from a Barolo: earthiness, big fruit, great structure with the acidity and tannins well integrated at this point. Drinking well right now. $90
- ** 1999 Pianpolvere Soprano Barolo Bussia Riserva (Monforte) – another wine I provided for this tasting, it didn’t show as well as the Rocche dei Mazoni. The same producer but the wine was not as well integrated – more tannic and a huge finish. $100
- *** 1999 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo (La Morra; bought 3 bottles) – lots of secondary flavors of leather and dark cherries. A long, complex and changing finish – starting to drink well but still an infant. Will continue to explore over the next decade. $125
- *** 1999 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia (Serralunga) – like the Mascarello, more secondary flavors but tasted less developed at the same age. More structured, power and a longer finish. Would hold off on opening any of these right now but would like to try it again in a few years. $190
Our third and final flight of wines were two older vintages:
- **** 1988 Gaja Barbaresco Sori San Lorenzo – also one of the more modern producers who first starting incorporating oak into the wines in Piedmont, this wine looked more like a Cabernet when it was poured than a Barolo. Deep color which led to huge, red sweet fruit and perfect integration. Wine of the night. $250
- *** 1967 Aldo Conterno Barolo Bussia Riserva Speciale (Monforte) – sweet, musty old wine with an impressive amount of fruit. More of a novelty wine than something to really drink but impressive to see how well this wine has held up at age 45.