24 March 2008


[Barolo vineyards]Tasting notes from the Boston Wine Expo. Note the usual caveats about speed-tasting in boisterous environments, where mistakes are rampant and palate fatigue is a factor. These are brief impressions, not full examinations; the phraseology reflects these conditions.

Part 3: Italy

( For the previous year’s notes, look here.)

Marchesi di Barolo 2000 Barolo Sarmassa (Piedmont) – Licorice espresso. Goregous and balanced. Still quite tannic and primary. Beautifully composed, with a long finish. Really, really nice. (2/08)

Fantino Conterno 2003 Barolo Sorì Ginestra (Piedmont) – Pretty, leafy, and floral, with elegant spice and gravel. It’s very tannic (no surprise), but that’s the only real point of imbalance. (2/08)

Paolo Scavino 1999 Barolo Carobric (Piedmont) – Overextracted in every way. Actively offensive. (2/08)

Silvio Grasso 2000 Barolo Ciabot Manzoni (Piedmont) – Gorgeous, silky tannin. Seductive and beautiful, maybe even a bit lush. More forward than I would expect at this stage. There’s a pleasant note of old cheese here, but there’s also a lot of wood. It’s a good wine, but it’s not really why I like Barolo. (2/08)

G&F Mascarello 2000 Barolo Monprivato (Piedmont) – Slightly sour, minty, and strange. Impossible to access right now, but I don’t much like what I’m tasting. (2/08)

Fratelli Giacosa 2006 Dolcetto d’Alba San Rocco (Piedmont) – Dirty and difficult. Very acidic. (2/08)

Fratelli Giacosa 2001 Barbaresco Rio Sordo (Piedmont) – Sweet, gentle spice. Cherries. Already mostly mature, which is kind of disturbing. But it’s not a bad drink. (2/08)

Antinori “Guado al Tasso” 2003 Bolgheri “Superiore” (Tuscany) – Plum-flavored Port. Over-concentrated. Tannic and dull as hell. What is the point of wines like this? (2/08)

Antinori 2004 “Tignanello” (Tuscany) – International to its core, showing big blueberry and blackberry, albeit with surprising acidity. The finish is short, and it’s far simpler than it should be at this price, but the balance is at least acceptable. If one must drink this sort of wine, this isn’t a bad one to try. (2/08)

Giampaolo Motta 2003 “Giorgio Primo” (Tuscany) – Acidic strawberry, some good raw materials, but massive, overwhelming tannin obliterates most of what’s drinkable. I can’t possibly assess something this out of balance. (2/08)

[tuscan vineyard]Castell’in Villa 1995 Chianti Classico “Riserva” (Tuscany) – Dense. Strawberry and herbal dirt, with dense (actually, thoroughly solid) tannin. A bit hard, but long. Needs continued aging. (2/08)

Brancaia 2003 “Il Blu” (Tuscany) – Sour wood, dill, weeds, and hints of red fruit. Very dense, but with what? The finish is long and dusty. (2/08)

Quintarelli 1998 Valpolicella Classico “Superiore” (Veneto) – Concentrated and dense. Black licorice, strawberry, black cherry, and a solid, graphite-textured structure. Gorgeous but still fairly repressed; this isn’t done going wherever it’s going. (2/08)

dal Forno Romano 2002 Valpolicella “Superiore” (Veneto) – Fabric softener texture and aroma. Dense, hard, and absolutely no fun at all. Red licorice dominates the finish. This is pretty awful. Thankfully, it’s neither famous nor expensive. Oh, wait… (2/08)

Anselmi 2004 Capitel Foscarino (Veneto) – Sulfurous and tight, but pretty nonetheless. Grapey, with lovely, floral fruit. The finish is short, and has some dry botrytis-like characteristics. Overall, the effect is a little odd. What’s going on at this property? (2/08)

Jermann 2005 “Were Dreams…” (Venezia Giulia) – Fig and peach. Nice acidity. Pure, sunny, clean, and short. It’s good, but it’s not all that interesting. (2/08)

Vivallis 2007 Pinot Grigio (Trentino) – Crisp, dry, and powdery. Melon, ripe Granny Smith apple. Simple, pure fruit. Absolutely not complex in any way. (2/08)

Vivallis 2007 Nosiola (Trentino) – Floral, with very good acidity. Fun, clean, and sandy. Again, very simple. (2/08)

Vivallis 2007 Traminer Aromatico (Trentino) – Light aroma, only the faintest suggestion of spice, and overt crispness. Uninteresting. (2/08)

Vivallis 2007 Valdadige Schiava (Veneto) – Sour strawberry, cranberry, and herbs. Difficult and weedy. Ick. (2/08)

Vivallis 2007 Lagrein (Trentino) – Dirt and tar. Exceedingly underripe. Horrid. (2/08)

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