The Barolo Boys

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March 20th 2012

The Barolo Boys seems a good collective description of the talented growers we spent time with last week, and also happens to be the name of the local football team, a talented line up.

Barolo is a beautiful place, situated in Piedmont ( “at the foot of the mountains”) which is distinctly hilly compared to Tuscany. The 5 villages dominating the winemaking scene are Barolo, La Morra, Serralunga d’Alba, Monforte and Castiglione Falletto. Each exhibits different character in the wines. DOCG was granted in 1980. The grape of Barolo itself is Nebbiolo, with Barbera and Dolcetto also being grown.

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Elio Grasso in Monforte was our first visit and Gianluca showed us some magnificent wines. His Barolo Ginestra Casa Mate 08 being my favourite, purity, power, structure and great finesse.

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From there we moved to Revello in La Morra, an estate we have worked with for many years. Here the wines are fruit forward and extremely appealing, we tasted stainless steel fermented Dolcetto 10, bright and crunchy and with the lowest acidity of the three grapes, Barbera – prunes and chocolate, then into his entire line up of Baroli – Giachini with its sandy soil was wonderful, but for me the minute production ( 1000 bts ) Rocche de L’Annunziata was the winner, truffle, eucalypt, dark black cherry and endless enjoyment.

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Cavalotto next for tasting and a beautiful lunch – the rabbit pairing fabulously with both the 97 and 99 Riserva San Giuseppe. A treat to see some evolution in these wines, which many of our producers liken to Pinot Noir – perhaps they are related?

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The winery sits atop the Bricco Boschis hill in Castiglione Faletto and has a unique micro-climate. This is a very traditional estate with some fabulously old botti – I adore the purity of the wines and find them amazingly drinkable, and have many in my own cellar including some 3 litre double magnums which are perfect for Sunday supper with Mrs C. Barolo Vignolo Riserva 05 was my winner here.

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To Pira to taste with Gianlucca and his wife in Serralunga. A very small estate making intense long lasting wines – wonderful floral Barbera ’10 and the Baroli just excellente, was very hard o remember to “sputare”. Marenca with its nose of candied violets was concentrated and very very good – super long.

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And the day ended with an extremely amusing dinner in a small bistro where my Dirty Italian book caused a certain amount of mirth…