Location: 8800 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069. (310) 652-6613
Date: September 9, 2017
Rating: Mirko is an awesome chef
From my cellar: 2014 Montenidoli Vernaccia di San Gimignano Fiore. 90 points. Sweet and sour white fruits, good acidity here and nice persistence. Very likable and food-friendly, but also able to stand on it’s own.
1995 Azienda Bricco Rocche (Ceretto) Barolo Bricco Rocche. VM 91+. Similar red color. Very expressive, very Barolo aromas of cherry, tar and chestnut. Sweet and densely packed but very firm and stubbornly backward; with aeration, this showed complex, fresh flavors of cherry, raspberry and smoke. The strong tannins are nicely integrated. A rather powerful ’95 that should show more personality with four or five years of additional bottle aging.
1996 Albino Rocca Barbaresco Vigneto Brich Ronchi. VM 94+. Even deeper red ruby color. Pungently spicy, penetrating aromas of rose petal, violet and red berries. Thick, intensely flavored and sharply delineated, with strong acidity and plenty of buffering extract. This has superb material and outstanding grip and persistence. Firm tannins are in perfect balance with the wine fruit. Wow! This is aged in all new barriques, but I never would have guessed it.
1997 Azienda Bricco Asili (Ceretto) Barbaresco Bricco Asili. VM 91+. Medium red. Subdued but pure aromas of sappy redcurrant, cherry, dried flowers, leather and mint; the most complex of these ’97 Barbarescos. Suave and rich but impressively unevolved for a ’97 Barbaresco. Firm acids contribute to the impression of solid structure. Finishes firm and persistent.
From my cellar: 1999 Roagna Barbaresco Crichët Pajé. JG 93. The 1999 Crichet Pajè is a superb bottle of young Barbaresco, with the inherent elegance of this superb vintage working very nicely with the “nobly rustic” style of the wines at this epoch at Roagna. The bouquet is deep, pure and complex, wafting from the glass in a blend of cherries, orange zest, cigar smoke, a superb base of soil, nutskins, fresh oregano and a dollop of road tar in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and beautifully balanced, with a sappy core, outstanding soil signature, ripe tannins and excellent length and grip on the tangy and focused finish. High class juice that is still in need of several years in the cellar to reach its apogee
1988 Elio Altare Barolo Vigneto Arborina. VM 94. The 1988 Barolo Vigneto Arborina stands out for its forward, decidedly fruit-driven style. Soft, pliant and super-expressive, the 1988 is wonderfully expressive today. Hints of leather, smoke, tobacco, cedar and crushed flowers add nuance on the finish. The 1988 saw just four days on the skins and was the last Barolo aged partly in cask. Even today, the 1988 retains gorgeous freshness and delineation.
1997 Azienda Bricco Rocche (Ceretto) Barolo Bricco Rocche. VM 92+. Medium red, orange at the rim. Cool, highly aromatic nose of redcurrant, dried rose, clove, cinnamon, chocolate and loam. Highly concentrated and rich in the mouth; flavors of chocolate, marzipan and amaretto show an almost liqueur-like sweetness. Big but ripe tannins coat all the surfaces of the palate. Very impressive.
1989 Giovanni Corino Barolo Vigna Giachini. VM 91. Corino’s 1989 Barolo Vigna Giachini offers up cedar, mushrooms and a host of mostly mature aromas and flavors on a delicate, elegant frame. The tannins remain a touch firm, but there doesn’t appear to be much upside in holding bottles too much longer.
1997 Giovanni Corino Barolo Vigna Giachini. VM 92. Good full red. Fresh, spicy aromas of cherry, camphor, licorice and dried flowers. Fat, sweet and pliant; a step up in complexity and concentration from the Arborina. Finishes very long, with lush, fine tannins. A very successful, thoroughly ripe ’97 Barolo.
Pennoni all’amatriciana, guanciale, red onion, san marzano, pecorino. Nicely al dente, and tons of bacon fat flavor. Not was integrated or smooth as the Felix version though.
1996 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Cannubi Boschis. VM 96+. The 1996, one of the estate’s best, takes things to another level. It shows an outrageous, well-delineated nose of fresh roses, minerals and menthol followed waves of dark fruit and licorice flavors that are just beginning to show the signs of early maturity, with exceptional freshness, length, and harmony. This opens beautifully in the glass, taking on an almost Burgundian elegance. A wine to marvel over. It is hard to resist this now, but it will be even better in another 3-5 years, and age gracefully for another decade, and probably more.
1996 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletto di Serralunga d’Alba. VM 94+. Medium red. Musky, complex aromas of black raspberry, licorice and lead pencil. Large-scaled but penetrating; tangy raspberry flavors are given great precision by the wine firm spine of acidity. Almost painfully young today. Finishes with explosive, very persistent flavors and firm but thoroughly buffered tannins. A bit dominated by its powerful structure today, but this wine really blossomed with aeration.
1998 Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra. VM 92. Domenico Clerico’s 1998 Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra is one of the most full-throttle wines of the vintage. Still deeply-colored, this authoritative wine possesses tons of mineral-infused dark fruit intermingled with French oak and menthol. This remains one of the most tannic and firm wines of the vintage. My impression is that the fruit will fade before the tannins melt away. Still, this is a beautiful wine Barolo to enjoy over the next few years, although it is not a wine for the timid.
2001 Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra. VM 95. Clerico’s 2001 Ciabot Mentin Ginestra was one of the first Barolos that really captivated my attention and for me it remains this producer’s most representative wine. It is a superb achievement and one of the highlights of the vintage.
From my cellar as a bonus: 2008 Ferrando Carema White Label (Etichetta Bianca). VM 92. The 2008 Carema Etichetta Bianca wafts from the glass with sweet dried cherries, tobacco, sweet herbs and crushed flowers. A mid-weight, delicate wine, the 2008 is quite typical of these hillside vineyards. In 2008 the acidity is a bit on the high side, which readers should keep in mind when considering food pairings. This is a gorgeous wine from Ferrando.
I opened this “bonus” wine: 1997 Maison Roche de Bellene Chambertin Collection Bellenum. 91 points. Seemed a bit uninteresting at first, but after about 5 hours of air, this was really singing. Very perfumed, elegant nose, with loads of soft red fruit, spice notes, and a touch of secondary. Great acidity on the palate, beautiful silky tannins on the finish.
These Sauvages events are always great fun and the wines were spectacular, particularly supported by Mirko’s sophisticated Northern Italian cooking. This is his fourth location in recent years but wherever he goes, there the cooking is!