The relaxed pleasures of the Italian table perhaps touch the sublime in Piemontese inspired cooking? Fresh Tassie truffle liberally sliced over a plate of agnolotti del plin and what to drink? Undeserved spoiling in carefully sipped glasses of Produttori tradition. Great purity, freshness and ripe melting wax tannin. Head full of truffle, rose, cherry, licorice and tar perfume. Great fatty comfort cut by a tannin acid nexus like no other. A few moments of life on planet Earth which offer a very tasty connection to its best farming and cooking tradition. Even at just over ten years in the bottle under the most unreliable of closures, this Nebbiolo is only just starting to soften after a rough double decant. There’s no fat to the ripeness but there’s no green either. The acid cleans up the finish but it helps freshen the lovely mix of red fruit and darker savoury tar. Thanks, Scopri, our local Carlton Italian for birthday spoiling and the best glassware for Neb. Sitting under that huge black and white wall sized print of the Barbaresco landscape only helps the mood.
14% alcohol. Cork. $135.
95 rapturous points.
Just to make sure Nebbiolo’s over represented hereabouts, yet another. Enoteca Sileno have developed a reputation for perhaps not the thinnest of margins on wine but if you look carefully in their impressive wine fridge, you’ll notice less lauded vintages still there for about $135. Less if you buy a few and tongue in cheek ask for a discount. This Montestefano is still a craggy peak of dense stone. Very ripe red cherry, earthy tar and a bit of licorice, well, it is Neb of course. Chunks of mouth desiccating tannin and acid. Only tamed by fat and protein. Warm vintage, big hearted wine from the most stern of the Produttori’s crus. As unyielding as a 90s’ Juventus back four.
14.50% alcohol. Cork. $135.
93 four square points.
As the 2016 was so good and great value, finding a few 2012s amongst the stash under the house meant another Stelvin Luxe cracked with a satisfying twist. Nebbiolo obsession fed. Much more gentle than the 16 but beautifully clean and perfumed. Pot pourri, almost musk, gentle cherry and aniseed. Fragrant but not cloying. Great balanced crunch of ripe tingly acid and fine graphite tannins. More mountain fresh than Barolo earthy. Suave you might say.
14% alcohol. Lovely screwcap. $26 from a Prince Wine Store sale.
92 elegantly poised points.
Usually a good buy for a crisp, red fruited, juicy light weight version of Piemontese Nebbiolo, this vintage has been to the gym across the river in Barolo. Bit rustic to open, not in a tangy B word way but earthy and sulphur derived perhaps. Over a few days, it cleaned up and did a convincing imitation of a Langhe Neb or a baby Barolo..esco. Red cherries, fresh bitumen and a chocolate earthiness. A bit of licorice root too. In the mouth is where things really start to muscle up. Firm acidity and those black tea tannins pull hard. Without food it’s forbidding, a slice of good pizza and that structure clears the path for the fruit to bloom. Wine from Italy, always for the table, always. That tannin’s so good for you
14% alcohol. Screwcap, luxe too. $33, bargain.
Another Vajra and another sublime mouthful of Piemonte. Opens with slightly rusty, earthy scents that warm to fine, just ripe cherries with perfumed pot pourri on the edges. Became riper and richer over four days with Nebbiolo’s typical resistance to oxygen exposure. Seems ripe and generous by Vajra’s usual standards of grace and demeanour, perhaps a sign of a warm and riper vintage? Certainly delicious now and still plenty of that pleasing Piemontese stone and rock to cut the generous red cherries and sweet almond paste. Their 2016 Baroli are going to do some serious damage to the wine budget I fear.
14% alcohol. Cork. $45.
Opened a bit dull and browning but in the tradition of ageing Neb the colour freshened to a deeper red and the fruit gained weight. Some oddly distracting spice and herby liqueur smells also bobbed up, perhaps from this maker’s love of small oak barrels? Despite the static the fruit is dense and fresh with typical cherry and tar floating on settled acidity and considerable tannin. Just a bit too drying maybe? Leads to speculation about how much Nebbiolo really needs oak tannin as it just seems to jar against that lovely ripe skin extraction. The fruit wins in the end but does it need the make up?
14% alcohol. Cork. $25 from Murphy’s clearance back in 2012. Worth the risk.
Wine obsessed people can be so generous. Catching up with a good friend, they dropped this in my paws with the words, “bought a lot of this, think you should take one, it’s looking good at the moment”. Well, they’re correct as well as very kind. Bottle development smells of caramel with dusty pot pourri, dark cherries and earthy tar. Same in the mouth with a structure that’s melded fruit, tannin and acid into a seamless whole that runs on polished rails. Can’t see this particular bottle getting any better, others may, others not, such are the venerable. It’s surely a delicious pointer to the way a 2008 Barolo might be going. This is the sort of thing that just makes you want to raid the cellar and share, soon, eh? Thanks.
13.50% alcohol. Cork.