I spent some time yesterday with two legends of Barolo – Bruno Giacosa and Aldo Conterno. I visited both of their wineries and tasted some of their 2004 Baroli. I have to say that I was surprised by how good their 2004s are! There has been very little talk about 2004 in general, but the wines I tasted in their cellars were dark-colored, extremely aromatic and rich in fruit and tannins. They reminded me of friendly, young 1996s, although the '96s were much more aggressive when young.
What really impressed me was how the wines beckoned you to taste them. After every sip, I wanted to taste them even more. Okay. I will admit to you that I wanted to drink them. The fruit was so luscious and the tannins so refined and caressing. These were some of the best young Baroli I had tasted since 2000 in barrel, although the 2004s are not as concentrated as the 2000s.
For example, the sample of 2004 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto was spellbinding to taste. It opened with aromas of white truffles and crushed fruits and followed through to a palate with caressing tannins and ripe fruit flavors. Then a few minutes later, the fresh truffle character turned to crushed strawberries and raspberries. “This is going to be a great wine,” I thought to myself, "a potential classic."
Bruno was sitting across from me, and he said that he was very, very happy with the quality of the wine. “This is a classic year. I think it has more fruit than 1996 or 2001,” he said.
I also tasted a new Barolo from Giacosa. Made from the fruit of vineyards near the town of La Morra, it was not quite in the league of the Le Rocche, but it was outstanding all the same. It was rounder and slightly less complex than the young Le Rocche. Bruno has three acres of young vineyards there, just off the road to the village of Barolo. He has yet to come up with a name for the vineyard.
Aldo Conterno’s 2004s were equally impressive. In particular, I went crazy for his single vineyard Barolo Cicala -- another potential classic. It might be the best young Barolo from barrel I have tasted from him. It was dark colored, with layers of ripe raspberry and floral aromas and flavors. The roses poured out of the glass. Aldo said that part of the vineyard had been hammered by hail a few weeks before the harvest, so the production was about half the norm, but what was left was great.
He said that he would not be making any Granbussia from 2004, because the production of Cicala was too small. The former is a blend of the best wines of his vineyards including Cicala and Colonello.
My Vino Today
1974 Barolo Granbussia Riserva Special: This was served during dinner with Aldo at his house to accompany some simple dishes of pasta and fried eggs with white truffles. Yummy! The wine was stupendous. It was big and rich with layers of ripe plums and refined, soft and silky tannins. It tasted at least 10 years younger. This is the best wine I have ever had from this vintage in Piedmont. What a treat. I gave it 95 points in this non-blind tasting.
David Nerland — Scottsdale — November 30, 2006 1:01pm ET
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