Notes from a Piemonte Nebbiolo tasting.
2000 Pol Roger Extra Cuvee de Reserve Rosé – while not in theme, I
don’t think anyone present would have rather had a Moscato d’Asti as a
starter! Good nose, still fairly primary (warning – I like my
Champers mature) soft in the mouth going in, with a bit of sweetness
in the finish, but the acidity also comes in with enough presence to
give a clean finish. My only minor criticism would be slightly less
than satisfactory mousse, with but a single trail of bubbles rising in
mine. I hesitate to press that point as it can be caused by residual
detergent in a glass.
2010 Pietro Nero Bianca La Novella Chiavennasca – this white wine was
a bit puzzling, showing a melon nose, an almost clear colour, pleasant
mid palate and hint of finishing sweetness. Presented as a white
Nebbiolo, it puzzled me as a Chiavennasca is normally just a Nebbiolo
red wine from Lombardy. Well, this was a white Nebbiolo from
Valtellina blended with chardonnay (so I had been right guessing that
component from the nose) so it was half in theme! Then I recalled
tasting one of these many years ago, but it had dropped from the
memory banks probably shortly afterward. Interesting wine!
2008 Produtorri del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolo – this co-op produces
excellent Barbarescos and they do it by being vigilant in selection
when their farmers bring their fruit to the coop to be crushed.
Anything less than top quality (could be too young vines, or off year)
goes into this second wine instead of one of their Barbarescos. This
one was quite light in colour, with a pleasant nose of simple sweetish
fruit, and the tannin made it seem lean and green, but not in a bad
way. It reminded a couple of us of a decent Dolcetto.
2000 Cascina Gagliassi Barolo ‘Le Coste’ Riserva – (to save me typing,
all wines from now on were Barolos). This one had some decent tar in
the nose, a bit ‘one note’ and a decent entry, but then the tannins
put a clamp on your tongue. Too young to really assess.
1998 Corino Vigna Giachini – rustic nose with some floral element and
a bit of tar, the tannins were pretty much a wall that prevented you
seeing just how much fruit was present. I have a half case of the
1997 and am thanking myself for staying away from it, based on this
sampling of the 98. These wines need time.
1997 Ceretto Brunate – someone was let loose with oak on this wine –
the nose was vanilla and flowers and hints of anise, rather non-
traditional! This is still tannic, but it has smoothed out enough to
be pleasurable drinking now – certainly be in no rush to plunder this
if you have it.
1996 Ceretto Brunate – the nose on this one was much more fruit (dark
cherry) but still showed some floral element, high toned, with medium
tannins and very good length.
1996 Alareo Claudio ‘Riva’ – a minty nose, of all things, but also
some more cherry and hints of coffee, and moderate tannin levels. A
new style wine with good length. Nice, but I guess I am an old style
1990 Paolo Scavino – I wanted to revisit this wine as the bottle I’d
opened earlier in the year hadn’t presented as well as I’d hoped. This
one was considerably better, showing a tar and floral classic Nebbiolo
nose with more complexity than the younger wines could muster, with
things like cigar box nuances appearing. Smooth and medium long, I
think this is drinking on plateau now and will continue to do so for
some years.
1990 Paolo Scavino Cannubi – what fun to have someone bring the same
year and producer from a single vineyard so we had the opportunity to
compare! The comparison? This wine had greater complexity in both
nose, where I noted additional nuances of wood and dark fruit, a
ripeness of fruit lacking in the previous wine and excellent balance
and length. Many reviewers seem to not be plugged into these wines
(RP included, he had drinking windows for this and the previous wine
ending in 2009 and 2004 respectively). Yes, you CAN drink them young,
but that is like plundering new Port – why waste it when it will give
decades of increasing pleasure?
1988 Mascarello Monprivato – I had been thinking that this one was a
1989 or maybe a 1985, but it was instead an over-achieving 88. Lovely
mature tarry nose, good concentration and medium length, this
traditional wine had it all together and was a nice way to finish the
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Bill S.

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