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Old Italian Wines 1996 – 1949 | Part 1 Dolcetto

 

Half a year ago a small group of us gathered for An exploratory tasting of mature Nebbiolo 1975-1954.  The wines from Alto Piemonte were largely good so we gathered again to try an even more diverse selection of Italian wines dating from 1996 back to 1949.  The selections were organized into three groups: Dolcetto, Barbera, and Largely Unknown.  The Italian wines were brought by a few and all but one of the bottles came from Chambers St Wines.  Given the expected low hit rate we went through a larger than normal set of wines.  In this post I cover the Champagne and Dolcetto wines.

Champagne

We started and finished the tasting with Champagne.  I brought the 1977 Moet & Chandon, Silver Jubilee Cuvee Champagne from Reid Wines of England.  Based on the 1971 vintage, this cuvee was released for the silver jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.  Despite the excellent fill, the cork came out readily, no doubt the cause for the dissipation of all bubbles.  It was still enjoyable as a still white wine and as one other person noted, there are some flavors reminiscent of Madeira!  Of the other three Champagnes I was particularly impressed by the NV Savart, Champagne Premier Cru Bulle de Rosé once it warmed up.

1977 Moet & Chandon, Silver Jubilee Cuvee Champagne
A honied amber color with sweet fruits on the nose. The cork came out readily so there are no bubbles at all, just a moderately silky body. Essentially a mature white wine but with chalk and hints of grip. The texture alone gives the faintest impression of a mousse. With air, quite attractive flavor develops which is evocative of Madeira in the finish. *** for flavor alone.

2011 Chartogne-Taillet, Chemin de Reims, Champagne Extra Brut
Imported by Envoyer. This wine is 100% Chardonnay that was fermented and aged in old oak from Anne Gros.  Alcohol 12%. Disgorged August 2017. Pale yellow in the glass. Ripe yellow fruit at first, very balanced with a gently sweet aftertaste. Hints of wood.  *** Now.

2008 Moet & Chandon, Grand Vintage Brut Chamapgne Brut
This wine is a blend of 46% Pinot Noir, 32% Chardonnay and 22% Meunier aged for seven years on the lees.  20% of the Pinot Noir is wine.  Alcohol 12.5%. A colorful wine of dried rose. Very fine in the mouth. Solid with plenty of ripe, red fruit and a tarter finish.  Flavorful but not that complex.  *** Now – 2023.

NV Savart, Champagne Premier Cru Bulle de Rosé
This wine is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir, 22% Chardonnay, and 8% wine of Pinot Noir. Alcohol 12.5%. A fabulous nose is followed by a unique flavor. Becomes stellar with air and warmth, revealing ripe berry and floral fruit. It builds both chalk and pastille flavors. Overall a racy and grippy wine once it has opened up. **** Now – 2028.

Dolcetto

The Dolcetto flight proved moderately good at best.  The 1996 Falleto di Bruno Giacosa, Dolcetto d’Alba is fully mature in flavor but still retains structure.  It lacked the verve to move up in quality.  I thought the 1978 Giuseppe Mascarello, Dolcetto d’Alba Bricco Gallo smelled good, it certainly engaged me but was tired in the mouth.  Sadly the 1978 Giuseppe Mascarello, Dolcetto d’Alba Ginestra was a bad bottle with its musty smell.  That left the 1968 Pio Cesare, Dolcetto d’Alba as the most interesting bottle.  Rather light in color with gentle flavors of strawberry and blood, this held up well and is evocative of the 1960s.

1996 Falleto di Bruno Giacosa, Dolcetto d’Alba
Founded in 1900, Bruno Giacosa purchased the 8.4 Ha Falletto vineyard in 1982.  At the time it was planted with just some Dolcetto.  Imported by Winebow. Alcohol 12%. At first a core of mature fruit that is astringent but interesting. There are just hints of very fine tannins. With air it is confirmed that this is fully mature yet still a bit firm by the middle. Notes of old leather add to the bitter flavors which extured over a textured and tannic finish. It wraps up with some eucalyptus freshness.  ** Now.

1978 Giuseppe Mascarello, Dolcetto d’Alba Bricco Gallo
Giuseppe Mascarello & Figlio was founded in 1881.  If am I correct, his great-grandson Mauro took over the winery in 1967.  According to the Wasserman’s he produced some 16,000 bottles of Dolcetto D’Alba annually.  They considered his approach to Barolo as traditional.  Imported by T. Elenteny. Alcohol 12%. Quite dark in color with grapey and cherry highlights. After an attractive nose, there are flavors of sweet fruits and oak. The wine is certainly tired or rather firm with black fruit marked by a bitter finish. *(*) Now.

1978 Giuseppe Mascarello, Dolcetto d’Alba Ginestra
Imported by T. Elenteny. Alcohol 12%. Quite dark with grapey color as well. Smells like musty wood. Nope! Not Rated.

1968 Pio Cesare, Dolcetto d’Alba
Pio Cesare was founded in 1881.  At one point the wines of Dolcetto d’Alba represented around 10% of their production or 24,000 bottles per year.  At the time of this vintages, the Wasserman’s considered them a very traditional producer.  Their Barolo was fermented in wooden vats where it was in contact with skins for two and a half months then kept outdoors during the winter.  Imported by T. Elenteny.  A light to medium bricking color. Delicate flavors greet with strawberry, bloody, and iron. This wine sports gentle weight, modest acidity, and a cola-like refreshing finish. A solid wine that held up for hours. ** Now.

Excellent 2016 Barale Dolcetto and Barbera

November 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Founded in 1870, the estate of Barale Fratelli is still run by the Barale family.  It is an interesting estate in that  traditional methods are still employed, as in the aging of the Barolo crus in glass demijohns, as well employing the new technique of fermenting with a starter of indigenous yeast selected from the oldest Nebbiolo vines.

The pair of wines that I tasted are meant to be expressive of the varieties without requiring long aging.  I also found that both of these wines offer plenty of texture for you to enjoy.  The 2016 Barale Fratelli, Castle, Barbera d’Alba drinks the most forward straight from the bottle.  It combines both orange and old-school red flavors that I particularly like.  The 2016 Barale Fratelli, Le Rose, Dolcetto d’Alba managed to surprise me.  After one hour of air it went from showing focus to revealing savory, mouth filling flavors.  It is Dolcetto as I have never tasted in my limited experience.  The wine did oscillate so I suspect it will improve over the course of next year.  I recommend you try both of these wines which you may find at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Barale Fratelli, Le Rose, Dolcetto d’Alba – $18
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is 100% Dolcetto sourced from vines located between Barolo and Monforte.  The fruit was fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts from the oldest Nebbiolo vines on the estate.  It is briefly aged in oak barrels to allow malolactic fermentation.  Alcohol 12.5 %.  A focused wine, not to be confused with firm, with savory flavors of black fruit and minerals.  It takes one hour to open up developing grapey texture and a perfumed finish.  This tangy wine has a very fine tannic structure  and watering acidity that borders on juicy.  The savory aspects kept me returning to the glass.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

2016 Barale Fratelli, Castle, Barbera d’Alba – $18
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is 100% Barbera sourced from the Castellero and Preda vineyards. The fruit was fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts from the oldest Nebbiolo vines on the estate.  Alcohol 14.5%. There are riper flavors of orange and some old-school red fruit.  With ripe orange citrus and pleasing textured tannins on the gum this wine has ample presence in the mouth.  There is moderate density to the flavors which morph from deep black through red in spectrum.  *** Now – 2021.

The Young 2012 Elio Altare, Dolcetto d’Alba is Spot On

February 28, 2014 Leave a comment

I enjoyed the 2012 Elio Altare, Dolcetto d’Alba from the first sniff.  It is a young and dry wine that will benefit from some age but its ability to show off some savory and ripe characteristics make it attractive right now.  I particularly like how the floral nose is referenced by the perfumed aftertaste making a homogenous experience.  Thanks to Phil for recommending this bottle! This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Elio Altare, Dolcetto d’Alba – $19
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  This wine is 100% Dolcetto sourced from vines planted in 1995 and 1975 on calcareous and sandy soils.  It was aged for ten months in stainless steel.  Alcohol 13%.  The perfumed nose was followed by young, tart flavors of blackberries.  There was a bit of ripeness poking out as the tannins developed and the wine became savory with air.  The flavors became dry towards the finish with very fine minerals and tannins evident.  There was good perfume in the aftertaste.  *** Now-2019.

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Recently Tasted Italian Wines

November 13, 2013 Leave a comment

I am nearing completion of my post for the Wine and the Sea Symposium so my attention must be diverted there.  Do not be surprised by some very simple posts focused on my tasting notes.  My favorite wine of this group was the 2008 Duca Di Salaparuta, Passo Delle Mule, Nero D’Avola, Sicily.  It has a bit of everything, tasted Sicilian, and is attractively priced.  The 2012 Fatalone, Teres, Primitivo, Puglia was much lighter and less complex than the 2008 vintage.  Still it is a perfect wine to drink right now.  The 2011 Cantina Nals Margreid, Galea, Schiava, Alto Adige is another wine to drink right now, quite nice for the price.  The 2007 Cappellano, Gabutti, Dolcetto D’Alba and 2011 Roagna, Dolcetto D’Alba were definitely enjoyable on the first night.  They both showed a rather promising future, enough so that we tasted them again on the second night.  They both completely fell apart.  I would cellar these for another year or two before trying and when you do, drink them up in one sitting.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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1999 Rocca di Montegrossi, Geremia, Tuscany – $30
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  This wine is a blend of 93% Sangiovese and 7% Merlot which was matured for 13-15 months in medium toast barriques.  Alcohol 14%.  Blue and black fruits, which still play it somewhat close.  It held up well with air, showing integration from bottle age but just a hint of complexity from maturity.  No rush to drink but I cannot image it will get any more complex. ** Now-2018.

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2012 Fatalone, Teres, Primitivo, Puglia – $16
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a very light orange-red.  There were lighter weight but flavorful ripe red fruit and citrus flavors on the sides of the tongue.  It was a gentle wine.  The flavors turn even lighter towards the finish, where they also become less complex.  There was a certain, smooth feel, a hint of yeast, and soft finish.  This was very much a drink now wine with a hint of stones.  ** Now-2014.

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2011 Cantina Nals Margreid, Galea, Schiava, Alto Adige – $13
Imported by the County Vintner.  Alcohol 13%.  There was minerally red fruit with a hint of black fruit which was completely integrated with the acidity and very moderate tannins.  It was slightly tangy.  A satisfying wine.  ** Now-2016.

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2009 Santa Lucia, Vigna del Melograno, Nero di Troia, Castel del Monte – $14
Imported by de Grazia Imports.  This wine is 100% Nero di Troia which was aged for 12 months in large oak casks.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a light nose of tar.  In the mouth were compact black fruits, powdery stones, more black fruit, and chalky drying tannins which stuck to the gums and inside of cheeks.  There was tangy and salivating acidity at the end and some smoke.  It remained compact but pleasing in its delivery.  ** Now-2018.

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2007 Cappellano, Gabutti, Dolcetto D’Alba – $23
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  Alcohol 13%.  There was an earthy start with a touch of wood box.  There were firm, drying tannins with a more significant Pilsner aftertaste on the second night.  It was tart and acidic but seemed to have a core of good flavor.  Much better on first night.  ** 2014-2019.

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2011 Roagna, Dolcetto D’Alba – $17
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose bore a mixture of herbs, bitters, and blacker fruit.  The wine was young on the first night with interesting potential.  But on the second night it had tart fruit, simple flavors, lots of acidity, and woodsy tannins.  It was stemmy and bitters-like in the finish.  ** 2014-2019.

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2008 Duca Di Salaparuta, Passo Delle Mule, Nero D’Avola, Sicily – $17
Imported by Wine Cellars Limited.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The flavors were a little darker, with riper fruit leaning towards red and black flavors.  The acidity was on the tongue tip, less obvious and certainly not on the sides.  It had good body, orange citrus notes, grapey density, and was good and lively.  There was a fine polished wood note.  **(*) Now-2019.

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2007 Duca Di Salaparuta, Lavico, Nerello Mascalese, Sicily – $17
Imported by Wine Cellars Limited.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a familiar nose followed by tangy red fruit and acidity on the sides of the tongue.  The tannins were mostly resolved into the grapey, red berry fruit.  With air the flavors took on more pungent, black fruit, and they also became saltier.  It also took on more power and structure in the finish.  ** Now-2018.

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Drinks at Serious Pie

November 4, 2011 Leave a comment

At Michael’s suggestion I tried two wines before settling down on what to have with my sausage pizza at Serious Pie.  The Franco Molino is imported by Italian Wine Merchants.  The Statti is imported by Vias Imports.

First Things First, Try Some Wine

2010 Cantina Franco Molino, Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont
This wine is made from 100% Dolcetto that was briefly aged in stainless steel barrels.  This wine was bright with an initial blast of tart, cherry fruit.  It was quite good and flavorful.  ** Now.

2009 Statti, Gaglioppo, Calabria
This wine is 100% Gaglioppo that was aged for 3 months in stainless steel.  This was all about restrained, dark fruit flavors, almost muted to begin with then an interesting, ethereal vein of flavor developed midpalate.  A bit of a lingering aftertaste. ** Now.