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This night in Piedmont heaven was coordinated to coincide with a trip Ken Vastola, fellow Nebbiolo Head, made to Colorado. After generous appeteasers and salad I served a spicy Italian sausage/zucchini stew, which seemed to be a good fit for the main flights.

Pre Tasting Primers
2001 Icardi~Moscato d’Asti~La Rosa selvatica & 2001 La Spinetta~Moscato d’Asti~Bricco Qualgia –compliments Roberta Backland and Steve Lewis, both of these were three star, palate teasing hussies (aka the panty droppers)

1999 Sandrone~Barbera d’Alba
Served from magnum, always a fine Barbera, although I think folks were anxious to move on to the main event. Three stars (89 pts)[/b]

[i]Flight 1 – Assorted B & B with some age

1982 Borgogno~Barolo Riserva
From Rico’s cellar. 13.5% alc. Decanted immediately prior to serving. Borgogno is one of the few Piedmont producers that age at least a portion of their wines for release at maturity. Prior to export each bottle is decant from its sediment, topped up with wine from the same vintage and finally recorked using a new cork. The date stamp on the cork from this bottle indicates it was recorked in Sept. 2002.
Light garnet, absent any bricking. Alluring evolved aromatics on a frame work of cherry liquor, lilacs and roses, with a whisper of mushrooms. Beautifully balanced, with ample elegance and finesse. Still showing its inner youth on the finish as firm tannins make their appearance near the end of the 30-second finish. Overall this was quite restrained and tight, and in retrospect I wish I had given it a few hours to open up. Four stars (94+ pts)

1993 Renato Ratti~Barbaresco
From the cellar of Paul David. 13% alc. Decanted 3 hrs prior to serving.
Deep garnet, with a tinge of emergent orange. Evolved bouquet of earthly funk, wet bark and leather buttressed by a sweet core of sour cherries and a medium length finish with soft tannins on the tail end. Seemed at peak to my palate and I suspect this will hang in the “zone” for another five or so years. Three stars (88-89 pts)

1990 Ceretto~Barbaresco Bricco Asili
From the cellar of Steve Morvai. 13.5% alc, 620 cases produced. Decanted ½ hour prior to serving, showed quite openly.
Deep ruby, little bricking. Stunning evolved bouquet oozing of rich black cherries, mulch, and tar. Sweet core of cherries and raspberries, everything in balance, and a soft caressing long finish supported by cleanly delineated tannins. Maybe still a little shy of peak. A most impressive performance. While checking some background on this wine I found an interesting disparity in quality assessment – WS 79 pts. vs. RP 95, both reviewed it at release in 1994. One of the group’s favorites of the night. Borderline five stars (96+ pts)

Flight 2 – The Conterno’s
1985 Giacomo Conterno~Barolo~Cascina Francia
From the cellar of Ken Vastola. 14% alc., decanted immediately prior to serving.
Aged garnet hue with reflections of orange. Caressing gorgeous bouquet of cherries, strawberries, roses and petrol, that gained presence and scale with a little time to unwind in the glass. Distinctly Burgundian in its persona, the mouthfeel was perfectly balanced offering generous and rich ripe red fruit, vivid acidity, and a long enchanting finish marked by dusty tannins that seemed to fade into the sunset. Four stars (94 pts)

1993 Giacomo Conterno~Barolo~Cascina Francia
From Rico’s cellar. 14% alc. Decanted 5 hours prior to serving.
I’ve posted on this a few months ago and tonight’s showing was right on the mark with my previous experience. Deep garnet, no sign of aging. Complex deep noted aromatic profile dominated by rich Moreno cherries, red raspberries tobacco, dried roses and a hint of pine resin and tar. Powerful and masculine, yet sophisticated, the long road to the finish lasted 30++ seconds. 4 stars (94 pts)

1993 Giacomo Conterno~Barolo~Monfortino
From Rico’s cellar. 14% alc. Decanted 5 hours prior to serving.
I also posted quite recently on this wine. Tonight it was again showing impressive masculinity and power, a true heavy weight contender cut in a traditional mould that offers a clarity of fruit and delineation of complexity that few Barolo’s can offer. Deep and brooding black cherry compote, thick with tar and menthol layered with hints tobacco and Cuban cigars. Impeccably balanced as a cornucopia of ripe fruit coats the mouth eventually giving way to a tsunami of firm, fine tannins. As I mentioned in the last TN for this wine, not the greatest Monfortino, but damn, DAMN good! Tonight bordering on five stars (96 pts)

Flight 3 – The Scavino’s
1989 Scavino~Barolo~Bric del Fiasc
From Ken Vastola’s cellar. 14% alc. Decanted 6 hours.
Deep russet with hints of a garnet edge. Compact and brooding, its monstrous scale still hiding its treasures. I was blown away with how unforgiving this great wine was, an absolute youngster hiding behind a 15 year-old label. Despite having to chisel my way in, I was able to eek an aberration of black and red cherries dipped in tar and coated with a hint of leather and chocolate. Clearly a manly affair, but seemingly many years from maturity. Four stars (93+ points)

1989 Scavino~Barolo~Cannubi
From Ken Vastola’s cellar. 14% alc. Decanted 6 hours.
Oh ma Gawd, smell the magic! Nebbiolo perfume personified as waves of sweet black fruit, roses, creosote, figs and forest notes practically leap from the glass. This stuff’s on fire! No surprise this was the first decanted of the night to be emptied. Somebody make me put the glass down! Five stars (97 pts)

Flight 4 – The Newbies
1997 Produttori del Barbaresco~Barbaresco~Ovello Riserva
From Rick Morgan’s cellar. 13.5% alc. Decanted 5 hours.
Exhibiting the archetypal ripeness of the 97 vintage, black cherries and leather with a hint of raisin and spice. Mid length finish. I must admit it was hard to pay close attention after the Cannubi. Three stars (88 pts)

1998 Ceretto~Barolo~Bricco Rocche~Bricco Rocche
From Rico’s cellar. 14.5% alc. Decanted 6+ hours.
Now we’re back in the saddle, I mean saddle leather. Big and burley, with massive compelling notes of smoky barbeque, bacon, iodine and leather, yeas, lovely worn leather! Excellent balance and finesse with a generously lengthy and well delineated finish. Absolutely terrific stuff! Will this ever shut down? I adore this wine and can’t wait to try my next bottle with ten years of cellaring. Four+ stars (95 pts)

1999 Produttori del Barbaresco~Barbaresco~Ovello Riserva
From Rick Morgan’s cellar. 13.5% alc. Decanted 5 hours.
Damn that distracting Ceretto, I had trouble refocusing on this one after such an impressive wine. Great typicity, body and finish, my notes are lean but I remember liking it (see epilogue notes below) and even more so when I finished off the remains two nights later. I’m planning on stocking up on 99 Produttori’s as this has a bright future with significant ageing potential. Three stars (91+ pts)

2000 Sandrone~Barolo Le Vigne
Compliments Steve Lewis. 14% alc. Decanted 2 hours.
Now I’ll admit, this doesn’t hit a home run on typicity, but is it ever a gorgeous slutty little THANG! Thick with raspberry compote, strawberries and hint of roses and tar, a bit primary at this young age, but obviously outstanding winemaking at work here. Full bodied, voluptuous and round. My half-drunk notes say ”when exotic becomes erotic”, guess that sums up this sexy Barol-ho! Four stars (93-94 pts)

The only bottle we did not open that was brought to the tasting was a 1993 La Spinetta~Monferrato Rosso~Pin. We simply had too much wine for the limited numbed of attendees so it was saved for another day. We wondered however, if this might not have been the very first year of production for this wine – anyone know?

A number of partially filled decanters remained after everyone had left so I capped them and placed in the cellar where they could stay cool and hopefully not fade. The following night, while watching the Yankees get their butts kicked (YES!) I returned first to what remained of the ’82 Borgogno, which was still hanging in there having oxidized ever so slightly. Next it was the remains of ’89 Scavino Bric del Fiasc, a generous glass-worth, which had barely budged an inch. Oh boy! It was rock solid and showing beautifully after 30 hours in the decanter. Then, I hit the ’93 Conterno Cascina Francia decanter, where two healthy glasses remained. This was absolutely gorgeous, showing even better than it had the previous night.

Last night, while watching St. Louis win the pennant I managed the three final remnants. First up, the ‘97 Produttori del Barbaresco Ovello, which had basically gone to hell in a hand basket so it was down the drain for that one. Then it was on to the ’99 Produttori del Barbaresco Ovello, which was standing on rock solid ground and drinking beautifully after nearly 60 hours after first being opened – impressive, and a good indicator of the age-worthy-ness of the ‘99 Produttori’s. Last at bat was none other than the 2000 Sandrone~Le Vigne. Bam! Double BAM! This stuff was absolutely rocking and not showing the least bit of fade after being open more than two days! I smiled as I pondered the last little sip. What a great OL it had been. Thanks all who attended and especially to Ken V. for joining us for a very special night of Nebbiolo, some 1500 miles from his Noo Yawk home.

Reporting live from the summit of Mount Nebbiolo, this is Rico signing off! Ciao for now!
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Hi VM!

Mt. Nebbiolo - why it's in mind, of course. Our virtual location is the north side of Denver.

Yes, we can do this again, and again. Better than stopping at a spa en-route to your favorite Colorado ski resort. Seriously, an OL would be in order if you're in the area.

Thanks for the heads up, been going pretty big on that Conterno fire sale, got a case of the '93 and 3 cases of the '98! You'd think I like the stuff Eek Go Binny's!

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