2011 Barolo horizontal, Thursday at Grappa. On release, 2011 Barolo & Barbaresco promised to be a vintage that would be approachable while young, especially on the heels of the full throttled 2010. I've had a few 2011's here and there but figured it was time to check in with a bit of a horizontal look:
We started w 2 Champagnes and Grappa's always delicious beef carpaccio.
Collard-Picard NV Brut - This Chard-Pinot blend was a good example and on its own would be very nice, either as an apertif or with light food. It was however, immediately overshadowed byt the LaHerte et Freres.
2010 LaHerte et Freres Les Emprientes - Beautiful, rich, full and toasty with biscuit and a bit of ripe apple but not overdone in any way. Great balance and in a good spot. I'd enjoy this now if I had some.
With grilled octopus:
2011 DeMaria Barolo, La Morra - Beside the Azelia, it seemed like an unfair match. This was soft with delicate red & blue fruit and very accessible. Somewhat fruit forward. Beside the Azelia Classico it just seemed lacking. DRINK.
2011 Azelia Barolo Classico - This is the second or 3rd time I've had this. It shows gripping tannin and more structure and depth. Good now, but will improve with time, so I'm holding the bottles I still have. HOLD
With mushroom risotto & sides of rapini
2011 Roagna Barbaresco Paje - Wow. This was my first Roagna. Blind it could easily be mistaken as Barolo. Although they had their own character, I was amazed at the similarities between this and the Elio Sandri. Both were amazing and drinking beautifully. The Roagna showed as more elegant and more fruit forward and some salinity. DRINK/HOLD
2011 Elio Sandri Barolo Perno Riserva, Monforte - The second Wow wine of the night. This showed more structure than the Roagna and was deeper, denser. Both wines of this flight would be entering their drinking window imo with Roagna sooner, Sandri a bit later. DRINK/HOLD
With duck breast & port reduction, root veg.
2011 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletto, Serralunga - This was the 3rd bottle of this I've had. The previous bottles (2018, 2019) were both singing with beautiful fresh but not ripe red fruit. This bottle seems to have put on weight since then and show more depth and concentration but less of that brightness that was evident in earlier tastings. Perhaps it is heading towards the very early stage of a closed phase, but has definitely put on some weight. DRINK/HOLD
2011 Brovia Villero, Castiglione Falletto - The wheels had fallen off the note taking bus at this point. Suffice to say, this was singing and showed well beside the Giacosa. Again, compared to a bottle in early 2019 this seems to have put on a bit of weight. DRINK/HOLD
1975 Romer du Hayot, Sauternes - STUNNING. I've enjoyed this wine at least a half dozen times since 2011. It has always shown well but seems to have put on some additional depth and complexity since 2018, when the previous bottle was opened. Caramel and big orange marmelade. Bright, smooth, balanced. This is the best showing so far. YUM. Perfect w the Tiramisu.
WOTN? The last 4 bottles were all so good, it would be splitting hairs. If pressed, the closest I think I could come i the Sandri and Giacosa followed very closely by the Brovia and Roagna.
2011 open for business? My conclusion is yes, qualified that as is often the case, with some variance. My initial conclusion on first tasting the 2011 vintage on release is that it's one to enjoy while waiting for 2010, 2008, 2006, and now 2014. No rush, but will continue to test the waters until if/when they shut down.