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Circle of Wine Writer's Barolo tasting

Elio Altare’s Arborina 2000, 2001and 2005, Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

This 1.5 hectare vineyard in La Morra has a south, south-east exposition, vines from 1948 and 1989 plantings, is 250-280 metres above sea level, with clay-limestone soil with yields of 4000 kg per hectare. Maceration with skins is in controlled rotofermenters for 3-4 days and aged in Frenchbarriques (20% new, 80% old) for 24 months. Loved his 2001, with its clear, clean nose of violets, its full, complex mouth and its elegant finish. It was a bit too strong in alcohol (14.5%) but the extracts are there and the wine is tasting quite young. The 2000 has a subtle, lively nose, a well-balanced mouth with notes of coffee, chocolate, warm berries and nougat - very well-made. The 2005 is not showing well at this tasting, a bit herbaceous and short, with a hint of green tannins, but should sort itself out beautifully with a bit of age on it.


Scavino’s Bric dël Fiasc 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001, 2000, 1999 and 1998, Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

A larger estate, comprising 20 hectares producing 100,000 bottles (so, twice as large as Altare), Bric dël Fiasc in Castiglione Falletto (Fiasco) is 1.63 hectares with a south-west exposition, an altitude of 260 metres, silt-sand, marl soil with an average yield of 50 q/ha. Like Altare, maceration is short and fermentation is in steel rotary fermenters. Aging is 12 months in Frenchbarriques and another 12 months in the larger, traditional botti in the aim of enhancing the character and typicity of the terroir, rather than masking it.

The 2005 is very forward with huge extracts and power - a bit too much, with a short finish – but the potential is evident. For me, the 1998, 1999 and 2000 are portents of its future, with their clean, inviting noses of stewed fruits and nougat. The 1998 has a superb, round, fully complex mouth and as it continued to open, continued to reveal its power and personality. The 1999 is fresh and lively on the mouth, delicate yet hugely powerful and well-balanced. The 2000, again, is elegant, fresh, lively and intensely perfumed.

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