Piedmont Wines


Other Piedmont




89 Pio Cesare Barolo Rio Sordo

Very dark—black. Extremely full of flavor and tannins. Chewy. Very chewy, more like eating than drinking. Strong earthy elements. Did I mention chewy? This wine is quite delicious if not a little overpowering. I believe it could age many more years without scandal. Perhaps the tannins will soften and balance will reign. $30 8/98

89 Poderi Rocche dei Manzoni Barolo Vigna d’la Roul
A bit dry and out of balance, but lots of flavor anyway. 5/01

90 G. Mascarello Barolo
It was very good. I lost my original note, and we don’t make up reviews around here, unlike some other wine web sites. $29 3/97

(2) Good flavor, spicy, showing some complexity. Very enjoyable. I was supposed to wait, but could not. Probably best in about 3-5 yrs. 8/00


90 G. Voerzio Barolo La Serra
I might say it was sort of tight/closed. I might say a number of things if you paid me enough. Was this wine ready? I really need to have it again. “...best not say more.” $26 5/97

(2) I am not quite persuaded that G.Voerzio’s barolo has enough going on to get excited about it. [I think the Mascarello was better, which is confirmed by the fact that you can still buy more of the Voerzio even now. 3/98


90 Gianni Voerzio Barolo
Full flavored but somewhat out of balance. Overly tannic, I suppose it was the same as the other bottles. $28 (worth $24) 10/01

90 Poderi Rocche dei Manzoni Barolo Riserva
Wonderful, long finish. Very full-bodied. The cluster bomb of Italian wines. Loads of tannins leave a thick, dry coating. But this does not detract at all from the wonderful experience. She continued to expand with air, and was still imposing at 12 hrs. Let me recap. Gobs of fruit, lots of good tannins. This wine gives every indication...continue...evolve and delight...many years. Must wait. Must-not-drink-all-90-barolos. Must-arrrgh $32 8/98

(2) Very dense. Earthy, acidic. Still very backward and needs another 5-10, but I’m just guessing at this point. $30 (worth $30-35). 11/01


90 Pira y Figli Barolo Cannubi

Fruit seems like it could go another 5-8 yrs, but somewhat out of balance at this point. ?Dry 5/01

90 Mascarello Barolo
Good flavor, just too dry . Same as before. 7/01

90 Cavallotto Riserva Barolo Bricco Boschis

Good body. Lots of fruit. Depth. Perhaps just a touch on the dry side, but—still less so than most other Italian reds. 1/02


90 Poderi Rocche dei Manzoni Barolo Vigna Big
Wow. Dense. Standard tobacco, leather, tar. Nose was 100% syrup. Could go at least 10 more years without much change. $40 4/05

92 Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra
Good fruit, but it fades with prolonged swishing. Medium to full bodied, but not balanced enough. Middle and finish is too astringent. $27 (worth $22). (drink now). 10/01

93 Revello Barolo
Good fruit but no balance. Too dry? Worth $27 (cost $30) (RP: now-2015, 90+) 5/01


99 Rocche dei Manzoni Barolo Vigna Big

Initially very oaky, good mid-palate, late-palate good but not too terribly concentrated (reluctant to use the word “thin” because compared to other wines…, but compared to some of the 01 Barolos I’ve had, it certainly is not on the extreme end of the concentration spectrum).  $50 (worth $40-50) 11/05


00 Farina Barolo
Same comments as 00 Farina Barbaresco (see below). $30 2/05


00 Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra

Pepper nose, but not only pepper (see annoying, young Côte-Rôtie), but also other spices too. Amazingly chewy body. Tannins oppressively young at this point, but this wine is all there, no doubt.  Finish about 15-30 seconds. The young tannins—wow. But as I say, the fruit is all there. All there. Pepper blows off after a while anyway. This is good Barolo. 12/05


01 Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra

Slightly more strength, tannins // Tannins seem a little younger (one year younger) but flavor also showing a little more // What I imagine is a classic Nebbiolo flavor—even now, I’m still swishing the same mouthful, and it’s occurring to me that this flavor is pretty much unending. At $65, one should buy more. 12/05


01 Pira/E Barolo Cannubi

Damn good. Not quite as elegant/balanced, nor does it have quite the incredible mouth feel of the 01 Scavino Bric del Fiasc $80, but it is really good. $65 (worth $65) 11/05


01 Clerico Barolo Pajana

A monster.  Grendel.  But delicious. Tried to let it air out a few hours but the wine—the wine tasted too good for people to not finish it before even one hour was up. I would say compared to some of the 01s clocking in at $80, that this Barolo is probably worth a proportionate $65 and may even turn out to be undervalued at that.  Barolos nowadays really are ridiculously expensive. But still worth it, in my opinion. 11/05


01 Azelia Barolo San Rocca

Standard Nebbiolo nose. Tannins sharp, crisp. Flavor has a touch of sour. Finish under 10 seconds. This wine will no doubt improve greatly with time. Definitely not ready at this stage. 11/05


01 Scavino Barolo Bric De Fiasc

Standard Nebbiolo nose. Flavor after initial opening is already showing more than Azelia. Body slightly smoother, more chewy. Finish is more classic Nebbiolo. After being opened 45 minutes, both the Azelia and Scavino just got better and better. The sourness in the Azelia gave way to a much nicer, rich Nebbiolo flavor.  The Scavino became fatter and softer and its flavor started to become outright delicious. This Scavino is my top pick in 01 Barolo so far. I am going to have to make some inquiries.  $80 (worth $85) 11/05



90 Roagna
Was it better than the single vinyard Produttori’s? I can’t remember that far back (retrospective note). $28 10/96

90 Sori Paitin
Can’t really say much because I had it with a girl who ended up drinking most of it before I could get a second glass. Like the very hungry caterpillar, she also drank half a bottle of cheap Rioja, which she adamantly declared better than the Barbaresco. Who’s Sori now? $22 4/97

90 Produttori del Barbaresco
It was very good and remained so at 2 days. $18 1/22/97

(2) I report the same story. 1/98
(3) Fruit explosion on the palate. Seems so young even at 10 yrs old. One could try to find complexity here. For example, there was the moment where I detected the essence of one blueberry. But you should probably just enjoy the fruit and get the haut stuff in more expensive nebs. Now, I’ve never been part of the “I always mention something about the structure, but that’s just to conceal my ongoing addiction to forward fruit” camp. But what about this fruit! This fruit is great for $17. 1/00


90 Produttori del Barbaresco Moccaggata
We had this with the 90 Capezzana carmignano. We decided it came on with much more force showing a great, fruity nose and strong finish. It had neither the complexity or elegance of the carmignano at this early stage of its development. I’ll keep you informed as to how these PDB ‘single vinyards’ evolve. $25 11/97

90 Produttori del Barbaresco Pora
Wall of tannin. Fruit bomb. Maybe I’m detecting early signs of a new layer of complexity. That or I’m deluding myself. Nonetheless, way too early to drink. A crime? No, but it will surely improve another 5-10 years. $25 2/99

(2) Too young versus just interminably out of balance, which would suck considering I have several remaining. Will try again in 3-5 years. $25 (96). 5/00
(3) Great nebbiolo flavor. It’s been too long since I’ve had this great flavor. Slightly too dry, but decent structure overall. Might improve over next 5 years. 7/02
(3) Strong, beastly, not showing any signs of fading. Also not showing any normal flavor! It’s clearly Nebbiolo. It’s just not as good as I remember it. 4/05

(4) This time it seems like better flavor, but still overly tannic.  Definitely a lot of good fruit here.  Not sure if the fruit will last as long as these tannins. 8/05


90 Produttori del Barbaresco Ovello
A tannic bomb waiting to evolve. Chernobyl? Honestly, I’m not good enough to know. But there’s certainly no point in drinking any more of these for another 5 years. $25 (96) 10/00

(2) Same as previous. It’s like time has stood still for this wine. Lots of fruit, astringent tannins. +/- worth the price/effort. 1/06

(3) Still somewhat out of balance and I doubt that will ever change. But listen. There is rockin’ Nebbiolo in here. So shut up. 1/07

90 Produttori del Barbaresco Montestefano
Solid fruit. Good flavor. Way too dry for the hype. Age may have helped these brutes become a little more approachable, but they’re still quite gnarly. I might say worth $24 just for the solid neb flavor. 9/01

00 Farina Barbaresco

All power. Strong. Too young but good taste. Worth all of $25. 2/05


01 Albino Rocca Barbaresco Vigneto Brich Ronchi

Wall of tannin—but not just a wall of tannin, but an incredibly astringent, ten-foot thick, impenetrable sheet of—I don’t even remember the last time I met tannins like this. There is fruit. Plenty of it, but right now, the two are on separate planets. And for $50, I’m not sure there’s enough evidence they’ll ever come together. I cannot buy more at that price when there are sure things, like so many other 01s for just a few dollars more. Between us, the truth is, these tannins will outlast the fruit by > 5 yrs. 12/05


“The 2001 Barbaresco Brich Ronchi features a complex nose with incense and chocolate mingled with notes of roses and anise, a rich, deep palate whose size and weight are balanced by much velvet and very supple tannins. Drink: 2005-2018.” – Daniel Thomases


Okay, what was he smoking? He’s right about the nose. It did start to develop a fairly interesting nose > 1 hr after opening. I forgot about that.


“Fabulous aromas of crushed blackberries and strawberries follow through to a full-bodied palate, with soft and velvety tannins and a fresh finish. Very aromatic red. Best after 2007. 1,620 cases made.” WS92




96 G. Mascarello
Nice, lots of glycerol, medium fruit, short finish. An Italian beaujolais. Funny taste last experienced with cheap 96 bourgogne (I don’t know the word for it). At least it’s not too harsh like some low-end Italian reds. Day 2, still holding up. Drink now - 2004 A.D., or not, I don’t care. $14 4/99

(2) Same as other one? Maybe a little better.


96 Pavia et Figli La Marescialla (barbera d’asti)

A bit clumsy but loaded with fruit. The Tek 9 of Italian wine. Best under $20 wine since the 90 PdB Barbaresco. Give it 3-6 years. $15 5/99

96 Rivetti Barbera Gallina
Flavorful but only worth $21 probably. Slightly out of balance, dry. Would say drink within next 2-3 yrs. $27 3/02




Dolcetto D’Alba

94 Aldo Conterno
It had a nice, simple and very accessible flavor. Overall, it was worth $16 even though it was pretty tame compared to the big nebbiolos. Good for serving people who are also tame compared to the big nebbiolos. 4/97

90 Ceretto

Standard Italian table wine. Maybe overpriced at $16. 12/96




Other Piedmont

96 Produttori del Barbaresco - Nebbiolo
Concentrated. You can almost see the tannins in this murky wine. I think I just saw a small catfish swim by as well. Alcoholic nose. Good $11 plonk. Unfortunately it was $12. Requires food for safe drinking. 3/99

96 Kye Freisa G.D. Vajra VV (Nebbiolo di Langhe)

I had no idea when to open this one, so that generally means right now. There’s lots of good flavor here, just not much fat. It’s too tannic now and needs another 5 years at least, but with air, it becomes rather expansive on the palate like a mini-barolo (not to sound like your local wine retailer). Might be worth $20. 10/99

(2) Still plenty of neb flavor but fairly imbalanced. Dry. Oh well. Maybe worth $20, I guess. 2/05


96 Rivetti La Spinetta Pin

Pretty good concentration of fruit. Very Bordeaux-style, in my opinion. Still tight and backward. But opens up > 30-60 mins. Should clearly improve over next 5-10 years.  Very promising. $30 1/06


“About 200 cases were made of the 1996 Pin (89+), a proprietary red wine blend of 50% Nebbiolo, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Barbera. The color is a saturated black/purple, and the wine tannic and backward, made in a Medoc-like style. Although rich, it was closed, and revealing too much oak to merit an outstanding score (it was brought up in 100% new oak casks).” – Robert Parker


03 Paolo Scavino Rosso

Feel good wine of the year.  Light-bodied but good fruit flavor. Worth $19 at least. Perhaps reports of the death of good, cheap Italian red were premature. $16 5/05

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