TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

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TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Michael Malinoski on Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:44 am

These notes are long-delayed, but not for lack of excitement about the wines tasted on this afternoon in Billerica back in mid-December. Andy outdid himself with a great wine line-up and his usual amazing cuisine. The poker went into quadruple overtime and still ended in a tie somehow, so the two finalists will split the hosting and wine selection duties for us next time.

All wines were served blind and the underlying theme was not known beforehand. We started with some white wines:

2006 Marchesi di Barolo Gavi Le Lune. The nose marries some crisp herbal, gooseberry, limestone and grass notes to softer elements of honeydew melon and floral notes—though this description makes it sound more complex that it actually is. It is light-bodied and soft-textured, with some mouth-puckering acidity. The fruit concentrates in a small ball of grapey and citrus notes before turning a touch flabby on the finish. Really, this is pretty innocuous.

2006 Cristina Ascheri Roero Arneis. Aromas of fleshy white peach, chalk dust and green botanical herbs are a bit light. It is tight and narrow on entry, rounding out more through the middle and pinching in hard again toward the back. Big streaks of acidity run through this at odd angles, turning sort of sour on the finish. It is still a bit bigger and more serious than the previous wine, with a bit more depth, but again this is not really anything to write home about.

2006 Francois Chidaine Montluis-sur-Loire Les Tuffeaux. Peter generously slotted this one in, not knowing that Andy had the Piedmont concept going. And certainly it stuck out as a whole different style of wine to those of us tasting blind. The nose is effusive, with notes of fine chalk and limestone, lemon rind, a sense of faint botrytis and some Christmas spices. It is rather fleshy in the mouth, with fine depth and a rounded feel. Off-dry flavors of white peach, brown spices and white chocolate are a bit of an unusual blend, but show a lot of character. It’s youthful, but nicely promising.

Red wines:

2004 Luciano Sandrone Barbera d’Alba. There’s lots of sweet dark brambly berry fruit on the nose of this first red. Aromas of crushed blackberry, spiced blueberry, wild stemmy notes, melted licorice and chocolate are rich, strong and heady. In the mouth, it is dense, with full body and a good deal of glycerin showing. There are a ton of chalky tannins that begin to really coat the palate, especially the longer one stays with it. Sweet dark berry and warm chocolate flavors are juicy, plush and caressing at first, but coming back later on seem coarser and a bit more disjointed.

2005 Giacosa Fratelli Barbera d’Alba Bussia. The nose here is entirely different, with a much more lifted sense of raspberries, forest greenery, tree bark, tobacco and creosote on the nose. In the mouth, it fans out nicely to fill all the crevices of the mouth, but has a twangy acidic edge running through it the whole time. The acidity and tannins eventually build up to a crescendo, but the wine stays finely delineated and medium-bodied. Flavors of dark cranberry, dark cherry, smoky spices, and citrus peel combine nicely, but do feel like they’d be more resolved and complete with more time in the cellar.

2001 Giacosa Fratelli Barbaresco Riserva Rio Sordo. There is a lovely nose here of aged leather, dusty old earth, tobacco wrapper, funky forest undergrowth and a hint of sweaty socks combined with red flower petals, dried black cherry and red licorice rope. It all works together quite nicely, actually. In the mouth, it is fresh and racy, but with a sort of aged mellowness running beneath. It has solid drive and length, with a hint of austerity toward the finish. It shows fine spices, red cherry fruit, fuzzy acidity and soft but plentiful tannin. It is on the full-bodied side, but feels sleek and nuanced in a nice way. My red wine of the day, though by a slim margin.

2001 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Ovello. This wine reveals aromas of red currants, cherries, flower greens, truffle oil, limestone and gardenias that are fresh, yet deep and earthy. In the mouth, it is rather intense and immediate, and really surprises by taking no prisoners right from the get-go. There are some flowery and spice-laden top notes, but underneath is a lot of smoke and fleshy red fruit that is rounded and serious. It finishes really long, with some austere tannins showing but not really getting in the way too much. It is all a bit too much at times, but I have to say that coming back to this much later in the day, the palate grip has relented a bit and the wine is generally more approachable. I think this is going to be outstanding, but needs at least another few years.

2004 Marcarini Barolo Brunate. Aromas of saddle leather, tobacco leaf, mildly skunky forest greens, smoke and sliced jalapeno ride atop a fine pool of light raspberry fruit, cherry liqueur and dark currants that show a lot of class, complexity and distinction. It has a silky texture in the mouth, and again shows a classy profile. It has a good deal of soft, chalky cherry fruit, white spices and gentle earth. It is medium-bodied and lithe, with polished tannins that do definitely grow with time. There is good intensity and power, yet a sense of restraint that makes it special. My #2 WOTD.

2001 Paolo Scavino Barolo Cannubi. This one is a bit dark and mysterious on the nose early on, with campfire smoke, black cherry, tar, and volcanic ash aromas. Later in the day, it brings in a much sweeter edge to the fruit, along with some confectionary notes. In the mouth, it is more open-textured than most, without quite as much structure. There are plenty of tannins, but they are much less drying it seems than others. It is red-fruited, with some flowery inner-mouth perfume allied to flavors of cranberry and sweet raspberry. It finishes easy, and I have to say it is a wine that really grows on me. My 3rd favorite of the day when all was said and done.

2004 Cascina Bongiovanni Barolo Pernanno. The nose here shows a lot of balsa wood, cedar dust, tomato plant and eucalyptus riding atop some jammy raspberry, kirsch and cherry fruit. In the mouth, it feels equally modern in orientation—with an absolute seamlessness and a luxurious texture. The plum and blueberry fruit is deep, rich and dark—with acidity on the decidedly soft side. It does turn a bit crisper toward the back of the palate, with some chocolaty tannins that begin to clamp down there. This is not a style for staunch traditionalists, but I like it well enough certainly for it to be my #4 wine of the day.

1999 Germano Ettore Barolo Cerretta. As with all of these Nebbiolo-based wines, I really like the nose of this particular offering, though it is real different from many of the others in the line-up. It offers up scents of flower greens, tea leaves, rice paper, grass and creosote that marry in interesting ways with a sweet undercurrent of sour cherry and red currant fruit to make for an earthy yet finesse-driven bouquet. It also has a cooler fruit profile in the mouth than many others in the line-up, with black currants, blackberry and spiced plum fruits that are dense and offset by twangy acids and huge dashes of spice. The problem with the wine is that while nice through the mid-palate, it just clamps down hard and rude on the back of the palate, eventually totally staining the teeth and hurting the mouth. This is not to suggest the wine is heavy or over-done in any way--just that it is extremely unapproachable at this stage of its life (even though it is the oldest of the wines).

2000 Prunotto Barolo Bussia. The nose here shows some espresso, forest scents, green pepper, dark cranberry and an odd cardboard note that taken together are a lot less pretty or engaging than the rest of the line-up. In the mouth, this is a wine on the mellower side of things, with an easy structure and soft, rounded tannins. The acidity sneaks in toward the back of the palate, but otherwise this one comes across as fairly uncomplicated and a bit dull.

That was it for the Piedmont portion of the tasting. It was really a fine line-up, with the five Barolo bottlings each coming from a different commune. I'd like to say that it provided some education on the styles of the different communes, but I admit I need to study up on that subject and spend more time learning what to look for. In a blind setting, it was sort of hard to do that, though I appreciated the opportunity to not be influenced by producers, vineyards or vintages printed on the labels.

All of these wines were certainly young, but it was really educational to see how approachable some of them could be with enough air and paired up with appropriate food. Still others, though, just shouldn’t be touched for a good while. In the end, I would have to say that the tasting did nothing but reinforce my desire to purchase and cellar Nebbiolo-based wines. I'm currently stocking up on 2004's, ostensibly for my girls' birth year, but I'm sure not all of them will last that long before I start checking in on them.

In any event, after all that, Zach and Kyle each brought a blind bottle that they wanted to get some group thoughts on. I believe there may even have been some sort of side bet on which person’s wine would be better liked.

2006 Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 75 Oak Knoll District Napa Valley. Man, what a shift this is! It is clearly a Cabernet-based wine, first of all. It kicks things off with aromas of leafy black currants, cool earth tones, green pepper and sweet creosote that combine in a rich, chunky style. It is smooth in the mouth, with a tough spine of acidity and tannin clearly evident. It is rather full-bodied, with a chewy texture and a blocky feel despite the smoothness of the texture. It is like a box of blocks that are not all stacked together—trying to fit in an enclosed space but sort of butting up against each other. It remains chunky and chewy all the way through, with flavors in the cool black fruit register. I don’t really like the style, but concede that it seems really youthful and awkwardly adolescent--so could certainly come around.

2001 Rutherford Grove Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. The nose features mocha, molten chocolate, black currant, leafy greens and perhaps some grilled pepper notes down deep. Sweet soft blueberries and soft generous spices lead the initial wave of flavor, followed by mocha-tinged velvety fruit, graphite and smoke in a relatively full-bodied package. A hint of alcohol seems to be showing through at times, but the wine does have a certain sense of easy generosity that is welcome after the Cameron Hughes. Personally, I gave this wine the head-to-head victory.

With dessert, Andy had a few more blind surprises up his sleeve with these two 375 ml bottles.

1994 Château d’Yquem Sauternes. Ah, this is just lovely on the nose, featuring a gorgeous bouquet of toasted orange peel, spiced orange candy, dried apricots, botrytis creamsicle, mace, crème brulee topping, Lady Grey tea and fresher bits of tangerine fruit. There is no question that this is a wine of class and character. In the mouth, it feels young, with a shot of pure apricot jam and toasted orange peel. It has a nice sense of weight—featuring some airy qualities married to deep bass notes of rich tropical, honeyed fruit. The balance is impressive, with the sweetly sugared notes offset by calming, wide-based acidity. The finish is poised and very long and the whole thing feels like a great relief after all the tannins today.

2001 Bonny Doon Vineyard Muscat Vin de Glaciere California. This is rather musky and comparatively coarse on the nose, offering up heady but funky old mangos and over-ripe, slowly composting tropical fruits on the nose. It is soft and super-sweet on the palate, with a raw sugar component. Sorry, I just don’t want to drink this, and not just because I have the Yquem in my other glass.

-Michael

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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Bill Tex Landreth on Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:57 am

Excellent notes...I was halfway expecting a Poker Face note.

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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Peter M Czyryca on Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:18 am

Working on my Vin Jaune notes - better chime in MM.

That tasting at Andy's confirmed my decision to sell all Piedmonte wines.

They're SO good. When like 40 years old. Otherwise, they're unforgiving beasts of a wine.

It's depressing b/c I love everything about them other than the tannin.
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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Zachary L A N G on Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:23 am

you were so busy checking the steelers score, I'm surprised you even had time for the wine!

Bill - the poker face was in VT a few weeks later....Michael, you should post those notes here too!

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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Zachary L A N G on Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:24 am

Bill Tex Landreth wrote:Excellent notes...I was halfway expecting a Poker Face note.

Michael is our resident note taker....wait til you see these VT notes..Ive never seen such discipline

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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Michael Malinoski on Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:42 am

OK, OK, I'll post the VT notes. Give me 5 minutes...

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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Peter M Czyryca on Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:43 am

Michael Malinoski wrote:OK, OK, I'll post the VT notes. Give me 5 minutes...

Unless Sarah and Nicole wrote on them hehehe. Inside joke from Vin Jaune night.
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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Jud Reis on Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:45 am

Michael - Thanks for the notes - terrific as always.

My notes from the same afternoon:

2006 Marchesi di Barolo Le Lune Gavi – Stony minerals, pears and dried herbs on the nose. A little effervescence and nice dry lemon and rock soil on the palate. Reminded me of a Savennieres. Quite nice and excellent with food.

2006 Cristina Acheri Aneis – Honey, white flowers and smoky limestone on the nose. Very light on the palate, with hints of pear and minerals. Could be a little bit closed, but also could just be a very light style – would be a better summer wine?

2006 Francois Chidaine Montlouis-sur-Loire Les Tuffeaux– Definitely a left turn in direction – sweet honey, white peaches and pears on the nose. Beautiful sweet honey and peaches on the palate with a nice acidic backbone and a nice nutty note on the finish. I was guessing Vouvray, so was not too far off. This is a very nice wine now, but will only improve with some bottle age.

2004 Sandrone Barbera D’Alba – Chocolate, mocha, white pepper and sweet black raspberry/black plum fruits – definitely seemed new world and I guessed Cali syrah blind. Nice simple drink.
2005 Giacosa Fratelli Barbera D’Alba – White limestone, pepper, cola and a little soft black fruit on the nose. Again, nice fruity palate, nice but not overly complex.

2001 Giacosa Fratelli Barbaresco Rio Sordo – Very funky nose, tons of brett, parmigano, black wild underbrush with just a hint of briary fruit showing through. Just painfully young on the palate with mouth searing tannins. We have clearly moved into an entirely different arena here, but I found the palate too off putting to really fairly judge.

2001 Produttori dei Barbareso Ovello – Intensely spicy and pepper nose with smoky chocolate, earth and sweet young strawberry. Nice sweet strawberry fruit on the attack with a nice hearty, earthy, tarry finish. Clearly my favorite of these two, just because it was approachable at this point.

2004 Marcarini Barolo Brunate – Nice red cherry fruit on the nose, but also some deep oaky tannins. Mouth puckering acidity and tannins on the palate- just hard for me to evaluate as it is so young.

2001 Paolo Scavino Barolo Cannubi – This started a stretch of my 3 favorite wines of the night. Limestone, black cherries, deep rich earth and tarry hosehair on the nose. Nice earth and structured black fruit on the attack with sweet chewy tannins on the finish. Very nice now and is only going to get better.

2004 Cascina Bongiovanni Barolo Pernanno – Quite pronounced but very nice oak notes on the nose –sweet vanilla and cinammon with lots of mocha coffee and fat ripe blackberry fruit. I thought we had switched back to new world here given how ripe the fruit was. Very opulently textured with lotf of black fruit and chocolate on the palate and a medium long finish.

1999 Germano Ettore Barolo Ceretta – The last of the 3 “hot streak” wines for me. Limestone, leather coffe and almond biscotti on the nose, Sweet glycerin and velvery texture on the palate with nice sweet fruit and tannins that transitioned seamlessly into a beautiful finish.

2000 Prunotto Barolo Bussia – White flowers, white pepper, rosemary and roasted pork belly with dark cherry fruit on the nose. The beautiful dark cherry fruit and floral note continued though to the palate – not a block buster, but a beautiful wine.

1994 Chateau d’Yquem – Very sweet rich nose of honey, apricots and hazelnuts. Very rich and opulent on the palate, with the same flavors of honey and apricots really concentrated and sweet. I thought Tokaii perhaps blind, as it seemed extra sweet to me and didn’t quite have the acidity I would have normally expected from a Sauternes.

NV Bonny Doon Vin De Glaciere – I’m not quite sure how this was made, but it reminded me of a cross between vin santo and muscat. Lots of honey and orange rind on the nose with a little hit of alcohol. Sweet intense but a little simple on the palate – of course it was a tough comparison following the d’Yquem.

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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Zachary L A N G on Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:02 am

Jud welcome to the board...good to have you!

Great notes on a great day of wine

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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Peter M Czyryca on Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:04 am

Zachary L A N G wrote:Jud welcome to the board...good to have you!

Great notes on a great day of wine

You had Jud?

Cool, good for you man. Hey, it's 2009!!
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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Michael Malinoski on Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:09 am

Hey, Zach, those VT notes won't post. Keep getting a message saying the post is too big. I cut a lot out but it is still too big. What is my issue (I have lots, I know!)?

-Michael

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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Zachary L A N G on Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:12 am

I'll check into it for you....if it doesnt work, maybe we can just split them into two threads

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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Michael Malinoski on Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:13 am

Jud,

Thanks for the notes, man.

This was one tasting that I could tell you and I were not especially agreeing on as we were going through these. Going through your notes, I really noticed more differences than we usually seem to have. C'est la vie, but rather interesting.


Peter,

You are of course correct about all the tannins in these young Nebbiolo wines, but I was actually surprised with a few of them how much enjoyment I could get out of them at this age. So, don't sell those bottles, just give 'em to me to store for you awhile as you go out and troll the auction sites for '78 Monfortino and such. I think that seems like a good arrangement to me...

-Michael


Last edited by Michael Malinoski on Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:15 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : mistake in one comment)

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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Michael Malinoski on Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:20 am

Re-reading our notes, Jud, at least we agreed on the Scavino and the Bongiovanni. They were less traditional, but both quite good.

-Michael

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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Zachary L A N G on Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:40 am

We needed some of Rico's Pinksky at that event! Shocked

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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Michael Malinoski on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:12 am

Is that the Pinksky from Bolghieri or the one from Bulgaria??

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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Tyler Rico on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:21 am

Last time I checked Africa was somewhere in between the Atlantic ocean and the Indian ocean Twisted Evil
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Re: TN's from an afternoon of Piedmont & Poker

Post  Zachary L A N G on Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:27 am

man alive...that was funny.

To fill people in, we were at the boston wine expo - reaching our limits - and some wine makers left, leaving wines at their table...our own Mr. Rico say behind the table and decided to do some pouring - it was a riot listening to him and watching the people listening to him talk about something he had no clue about

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