Location: 9400 W Olympic Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 90212. (310) 407-7791
Date: July 25, 2014
Rating: Awesome Food & Wine
The Sauvages are a group of serious Friday afternoon wine drinkers. Today’s event brings us to the Avalon Hotel’s poolside Italian: Oliverio for a special custom Barolo lunch.
Marcassin Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard. I didn’t catch the vintage, but it was a 100 point Parker wine. This is a pretty decent new world Chard, still, I don’t understand the ratings. It’s flabby, lacking the acidic backbone that makes a great white Burgundy so delicious. Instead you are just hit by straightforward richness.
1997 Azienda Bricco Rocche (Ceretto) Barolo Prapò. IWC 90. Medium red-orange. Spicy aromas of redcurrant, clove, dried flowers and tobacco. Juicy, bright and delineated, with noteworthy shape and structure. Quite spicy at the core. Substantial firm tannins are very nicely buffered. Finishes with excellent persistence.
1998 Angelo Gaja Costa Russi. Parker 92. The dark ruby/purple-colored, supple-texture 1998 Costa Russi possesses sweet, jammy raspberry and cherry fruit, medium to full body, gorgeous glycerin, low acidity, and a lightly tannic finish. Although large-sized, it has good finesse as well as beautifully pure fruit.
1997 Roberto Voerzio Barolo Cerequio. Parker 92. The paradoxical 1997 Barolo Cerequio possesses exquisite purity as well as an open-knit bouquet, but restrained, tannic, forceful, backward flavors. Dense and rich, with the vintage’s thickness well-displayed.
1997 Cordero di Montezemolo Barolo Monfalletto. Parker 90-96. A well-respected La Morra producer, Codero’s 1997 Barolo Monfalletto is a soft, structured offering with muscular, earthy, licorice, and black cherry aromas as well as flavors. With airing, notes of chocolate, truffles, meat, and pepper emerge. Muscular and rustic, but substantial and rich on the palate, it requires several years of cellaring.
Mediterranean Seppia. Carmelized onion, fresh liver, black figs. An interesting combo that totally worked. The sweetness of the fig worked with the liver (probably actually foie gras) and the Seppia had a wonderful chew.
1996 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Cannubi Boschis. Parker 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. 96+ points/drink after 2008.
1997 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Cannubi Boschis. Parker 96. The 1997 is rich and alcoholic on the nose, displaying aromas of very sweet fruit with a slightly evolved character. It is super-rich and concentrated on the palate, offering intense sweet fruit and mineral flavors, but with notable balance for the vintage, closing with a final lingering note of sweetness. This is drinking well now and should last at least another ten years.
1996 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletto. Parker 94-96. The saturated ruby/purple-colored 1996 Barolo Falletto exhibits an extraordinary nose of smoke, earth, white truffles, black fruits, licorice, and floral scents. Extremely massive, with layers of concentration, high tannin, a muscular personality, and a 40+ second finish, this classic, young Barolo will require patience. Why can’t I turn my body clock back twenty years?
1997 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletto. Parker 93. Giacosa’s 1997 Barolo Falletto de Serralunga is an exquisite Barolo offering superb notes of tar, earth, truffles, licorice, minerals, and cherry/raspberry fruit. There is plenty of acidity as well as high tannin, but concentrated, chewy flavors. The wine is tight, dense, impressive, and surprisingly structured for a 1997.
1998 Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra. Parker 93. 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.
1997 Massolino Barolo Vigna Rionda. Parker 90. The sexy, layered, evolved 1997 Barolo Vigna Rionda was obviously produced from extremely ripe fruit as evidenced by the dark garnet/amber color, and sweet perfume of smoke, caramel, toffee, and espresso infused with black cherries, plums, and prunes. This multilayered, full-bodied offering exhibits a seamless personality with no hard edges.
1999 Massolino Barolo Riserva Vigna Rionda. Parker 93. The 1999 Barolo Vigna Rionda has always been somewhat of an enigma. It is a big, structured Vigna Rionda with vibrant fruit, great length and powerful tannins. One of the casks was new in this vintage and the wine has always has a gloss of new oak, but over the years the oak has begun integrate and the wine has developed beautifully. I may have initially underestimated this wine.
From my cellar: 1996 Aldo Conterno Barolo Colonnello. Parker 90-93. The 1996 Barolo Colonnello is aromatic, offering scents of melted asphalt, cedar, tobacco, spice box, and assorted red and black fruits. Following a soft entry, the immense richness, fleshy, full-bodied power of this wine became apparent. The finish offers considerable tannic clout and power.
agavin: Sadly, this bottle was kinda turned, and particularly odd as I bought it from Aldo Conterno personally in 2000 and had it well cellared. It wasn’t totally gone, and the nose was fabulous, but the color was mostly brick and the fruit faded. We didn’t serve it.
Conchiglioni al forno. Stuffed with veal trippe, white bean sauce, pecorino cheese. A fabulous pasta. Nicely al dente, with a wonderful cheesy tomato sauce inside. I guess the trippe just added a touch of richness, as I didn’t detect the noxious texture.
2000 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino. Parker 97. Conterno’s 2000 Barolo Riserva Monfortino gives an impression of accessibility only because it is so open relative to some of the surrounding vintages of this great, legendary Barolo. The 2000 has tons of fruit backed up with considerable tannic heft. With time in the glass sweet, balsamic notes make an appearance, but this is one of the few 2000s that needs considerable cellaring to show all of its cards.
2000 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Cannubi (San Lorenzo) / Ravera. Parker 89-91. 2000 Barolo Cannubi (San Lorenzo)/ Ravera (from barrel)—A blend of 60% Cannubi (San Lorenzo sub-plot) and 40% Ravera fruit. Dark ruby in color, the Cannubi (San Lorenzo) /Ravera is delicate, perfumed and aromatic, with lots of cherry and spice flavors, although still very closed on the palate. The Brunate/LeCoste is the masculine wine, the Cannubi (SanLorezo)/Ravera the feminine wine.
2000 Angelo Gaja Sperss. Parker 94. From Magnum. Gaja’s 2000 Sperss is wonderfully open and radiant. Layers of dark fruit, grilled herbs, cassis and smoke saturate the palate in this powerful, stunningly beautiful Sperss. Gorgeous inner perfume and a long, intense finish round things out in style.
1996 Pride Mountain Vineyards Reserve Claret. Parker 95. The 1996 Reserve Claret is a blend of 63% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petite Verdot (230 cases), it is a gorgeously balanced, super-concentrated yet hauntingly symmetrical wine with copious quantities of black fruits, spicy new oak, minerals, licorice, and roasted herbs. Full-bodied, with a cherry liqueur-like richness to its fruit, this wine has loads of glycerin, fabulous extract, and no hard edges. The velvety finish lasts for 40+ seconds. This is a spectacular wine that must be tasted to be believed.
1995 Clinet. Parker 96. Another extraordinary wine made in a backward vin de garde style, the 1995 Clinet represents the essence of Pomerol. The blackberry, cassis liqueur-like fruit of this wine is awesome. The color is saturated black/purple, and the wine extremely full-bodied and powerful with layers of glycerin-imbued fruit, massive richness, plenty of licorice, blackberry, and cassis flavors, full body, and a thick, unctuous texture. This is a dense, impressive offering from administrator Jean-Michel Arcaute.
1996 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain. Parker 96. The 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain possesses a black/blue/purple color, and a texture of unctuosity and thickness. Greatness is suggested by a wonderfully sweet mid-section, gorgeous purity, and this humongous wine’s overall symmetry. It also possesses sumptuous layers of concentration, remarkably sweet tannin, low acidity, and a 40+ second finish.