The Annual Pilgrimage

It has been a good while since I last posted on this blog. That has been mostly due to higher priorities, such as family and work, which, however, in no way have prevented me from partaking of the great things in life. I have had time and reason to reflect on just how wonderful life is and just how much there is to enjoy about it. I must admit that if the believers are right and there is such a thing as heaven – a place that is supposed to be so much better than earthly existence – it would have to get so relentlessly good that I would be bound to get bored with the lack of variation. In the run-up to the great test of whether that will be my fate I am dealing with life as the best thing there is, and my only chance of happiness. And so…:

As related in a previous post – the romantically entitled – I am lucky to be part of a circle of wine-mad friends. We get together anywhere between 4 and 8 times a year, depending on whether there are major birthdays and other occasions to celebrate or we “just” feel the need to get together and drink the best wines in our cellars. During the past few years a custom has developed which sees us relocate to the house of one of our flock, Frank Hansen, in Loazzolo, southern Piedmont, in November. As you will undoubtedly know already, the great attraction of Piedmont at specifically that time of year is the white truffle, of which we partake copiously. It does not in any way detract from the enjoyment of our little outing that there is so much great wine being made in the general vicinity of Loazzolo (do Barolo, Barbaresco, barbera, dolcetto etc., not to mention the great but exceedingly rare sweet botrytized moscato wine of Loazzolo itself, ring a bell?).

The view from Frank's house in Loazzolo

A view from Guido Porro’s house of the lovely Lazzarito vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba

Our gracious host, Frank

Our gracious host, Frank

This year we flew to Milan during the morning of Thursday 8 November, and proceeded to drive the rented mini-van to Loazzolo, stopping along the way to do a bit of food shopping. During the evening we cooked and consumed a humble meal of just 4 courses. I must admit that the details of the food escape me, but what I do remember is that Frank generously gave us a major tasting of superior Alto Adige wines, as follows (very brief notes on the wines, apologies; and yes, there is Champagne and Burgundy in there…):

Hofstätter Alto Adige Pinot Grigio Joseph 2010

Medium weight, very true to the fairly heavy exotic fruitiness and slight spiciness of the variety, yet minerally, fresh and beautifully balanced.

Sct. Michael Eppan Alto Adige Blauburgunder (=pinot nero) Sct. Valentin 2008

AA pinot noir is often uniquely light to the point of being anaemic, with great emphasis on minerality. This was no exception.

Elena Walch Alto Adige Pinot Nero Ludwig 2008

This definitely had fuller fruit and good pinot’esque berry fruitiness. Quite a charming wine, even if not very profound.

Hofstätter Alto Adige Blauburgunder Riserva Mazzon 2008

This had powerful pinot fruitiness, strong minerality and rather good vegetal/animal aromas; my only complaint would be a slightly heavy-handed use of new wood.

Vilmart & Cie. Champagne Brut Premier Cru Grand Cellier d’Or 2005

This was definitely a small-grower Champagne, with some autolytic character and a slightly rustic, very charming and food-friendly style.

Sct. Michael Eppan Alto Adige Sauvignon Sct. Valentin 2010

Lovely soft sauvignon nose, somewhat restrained. Ditto mouth, very minerally.

Tenutæ Lageder Vigneti delle Dolomiti Bianco Cason Hirschprunn Contest 2008

AA vineyard-designated wines can have some of the longest names in the wine world… This was a complex mix of many grape varieties. Broad, full nose complemented by very good wood-ageing, equally full in the mouth and long, fruity and minerally.

Elena Walch Vino da Tavola Rosso Kermesse Cuvee MMV

Being a Vino da Tavola, this is not allowed to designate a vintage. Hence MMV, so take a shot… As I recall it, this is a complex blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, lagrein and syrah. Quite deep and dark, but also very juicy and minerally, with smoky and slightly peppery highlights. Very good stuff.

Hofstätter Alto Adige Lagrein Steinraffler 2008

Quite deep and extracted, some new wood. Not quite my cup of tea, as I prefer lagrein very juicy and with fresh yoghurt-bacon-strawberry character. But for all that a very well-made wine.

Tenutæ Lageder Alto Adige Lagrein Lindenburg 2007

Good stuff this, more of what I think of as the real lagrein character, but still a touch of new wood marring the picture.

Elena Walch Alto Adige Lagrein Riserva Castel Ringberg 2007

Despite being very dark and quite powerful, this for me had the best lagrein character and sappy juiciness. Wonderful stuff.

Faiveley Mazis-Chambertin 1994

Yes, grand cru red Burgundy from a négociant in what many consider to be a rather disastrous vintage. Wonderful, quite powerful mature pinot nose, fully tertiary, yet still maintains charming fruitiness. Full, lovely and very long, with sweet berry fruit, forest floor and barnyard. Entirely confirms my experience from my own cellar with bottles of Gevrey grand cru 1994, which can easily take another few years of ageing.

The Alto Adige Lineup

The Alto Adige lineup

The next day we went winery-crawling, with three very interesting visits:

Guido Porro

We started the day in Serralunga d’Alba, at the winery of traditionalist producer Guido Porro, who has emerged as one of the new, bright producers during the past few years. Production is quite limited and only from own vineyards. Porro works exclusively with the indigenous varieties of dolcetto, barbera and nebbiolo, and while you may spot the odd barrique in the cellars, the barriques will be anywhere from 4 to 8 years old, and thus will have little if any flavour influence. The majority of all wines age in either stainless steel or large Slavonian oak casks. The pride of the house is its parcels in the famous, powerful Serralunga vineyard of Lazzarito. A new Barolo from another Serralunga vineyard will emerge within the next year or so. Tasting notes:

Dolcetto d’Alba 2011

Delicious nose of cherry, crushed raspberry seeds, hint of liquorice, fresh flowers, juicy. Light to medium weight in the mouth, juicy, good acidity, good grip with nice smooth tannin. OK length, juicy cherries, flowers, somewhat sappy. OK wine, not profound, but certainly highly juicy and drinkable.

Barbera d’Alba Santa Caterina 2011

Slightly closed nose with dark juicy berries, flowers, hint of sweet spice. Light to medium weight in the mouth, juicy but soft, OK acidity, light tannin. Good length with juicy berries, flowers and minerals. Another juicy and drinkable wine, though somewhat closed at this point.

Barbera d’Alba Santa Caterina 2009

Fruity nose with juicy red berries, hint of meat, mulberry, slight reductive whiff. Medium weight, round, juicy, discreet tannins, OK acidity, dry. OK length, juicy berries, somewhat discreet. Passable wine, a bit too neutral/discreet for my taste.

Langhe Rosso Paesan 2008

This is 80% nebbiolo, 20% barbera. Lovely soft nose with raspberries, soft spices, slight hint of humus going towards truffles, hints of bark and flowers. Light to medium weight, rather elegant and juicy, good hit of grape tannins. Good length, slightly austere, with lovely dry, juicy raspberry fruitiness, humus/truffle and dried flowers. Lovely, charming wine with some seriously classy nebbiolo fruit, deliberately made in a slim, light to medium weight style.

Langhe Nebbiolo 2011

Slightly closed but juicy nose with raspberries, dried flowers, touch of sweet liquorice, hint of humus. Light and elegant in the mouth, good grape tannins, juicy and dry. Good length with fresh raspberries, dried flowers, slight spiciness and humus. A fine, elegant, delicious wine.

Barolo Lazzairasco 2008

Deep and delicious nose with dark sweet-juicy berries, the beginnings of tobacco, humus, bark, fresh and dried flowers. Medium weight to full, handsome tannins, good acidity, good grip, lovely depth and Serralunga warmth. Very long, juicy, dark berries, liquorice, flowers, hint of tar, truffle emerging. Seriously good stuff, the quality of the Lazzarito vineyard clearly coming to the fore here.

We then felt a bit peckish, so repaired to the nearby Schiavenza restaurant, fantastically located on the eastern edge of Serralunga, and featuring amazing views over the beautiful, hilly Langhe landscape. The majority of us chose a mixed antipasto of grilled peeled peppers with bagna cauda, carne cruda, vitello tonnato and artichoke tartlet with cheese fonduta, followed by tajarin (=tagliatelle) with butter and white truffles. Simple, traditional, elegantly presented and utterly delicious. I recommend this restaurant if you are in the vicinity. Schiavenza is first and foremost a pre-eminent producer of Serralunga wine, notably some seriously good traditionalist single-vineyard Barolos, and we wasted little time in sampling a couple of the house wines:


Barbera d’Alba 2010

Dark/sweet berry nose, redolent of fermenting must, juicy, hints of flowers and spices, good depth and breadth. Medium weight, good depth of fruit, juicy but round. Good length, elegant, dark juicy berries, flowers, spices, minerals, good depth and breadth all the way. Seriously good barbera.

Barolo Riserva Broglio 2001

Big, beautiful, warm nebbiolo nose with cherries, plums, liquorice, tar, dried rose, humus going towards truffles, very considerable intensity and complexity, classical Serralunga. Big, firm, handsome grape tannins, good acidity, considerable concentration and classically austere balance. Very long, delicious fruit, flowers, leather, tar, humus, tannic bark, savoury, intense and concentrated. Wow!


Next winery stop was at Giorgio Scarzello in Barolo town. This is yet another traditionalist (=non-barrique) producer that has emerged with strongly improved quality over the past 10-15 years. Emphasis in this house is very much on the terroir from the holdings in prestigious vineyards in the comuni of Barolo and Novello. I must admit that this producer has not featured much on my radar screen, but this visit converted me with a very strong showing of some really classy wines. Tasting notes:

Langhe Nebbiolo 2010

Delicious strawberry/raspberry nose, fresh fermenting must, freshly cut flowers, an ethereal lifted touch. Light to medium weight, elegant and juicy, balanced soft tannins. Good length with delicious juicy and perfumed berries, flowers, lifted and fresh. Utterly delicious and immediate, yet with intellectual appeal.

Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2008

Strong dark berry nose, concentrated and minerally, with flowers, hint of tar and humus. Medium weight and firm in the mouth, rather concentrated and well-balanced. Good length with fresh dark berry fruit, juicy, hints of humus and spice, then fading out on perfumed notes. Excellent stuff.

Barolo 2007

Expressive fruity nose with red berries, bark, forest floor/truffle, dried flowers, sweet liquorice and a lifted/ethereal quality. Medium weight, well-balanced, soft tannins, good acidity. Long, charming and delicious, red berries, forest floor/truffle, flowers and a  repeat of that lifted/ethereal quality. Lovely wine, typical of the warm vintage in the sense of being very immediate, with little of the austere character normally encountered (in cooler vintages) in nebbiolo from the Langhe; not necessarily a keeper, but so drinkable.

Barolo Vigna Merenda 2005

Merenda is part of the famous Sarmassa vineyard. Lovely deep nose with classical cherries, liquorice, truffle, sweet wood tar, clay and dried flowers. Classically dry balance in the mouth, medium weight, juicy, with good acidity and handsome grape tannins. Very long and classical, cherries, sweet liquorice, wood tar, truffles, dried flowers, ending on a lifted/ethereal note. Lovely.

Barolo Vigna Merenda 2006

Powerful and austere yet ethereal, elegant nose, still very young, with cherries, leather, humus and fresh flowers, a “cool” and promising nose. Medium weight, austere, heaps of very handsome grape tannins, good acidity, fresh, dry and very classical. Very long and fresh, juicy, cherries, leather, dried flowers, forest floor, ethereal, classical. Very handsome in a classically austere mode, very much a wine of the terroir, with decades of life ahead of it. My favourite of Scarzello’s wines.


We next repaired to Canelli to visit one of the best producers there, Avezza. Canelli is moscato and barbera country, and these varieties account for the bulk of Avezza’s production, but the area around Canelli is also well-known for pioneering sparkling wine styles in Italy, as well as what are now termed international varieties. Avezza’s broad range is reflective of all these influences. I get the sense that this producer is still looking for its “unique selling point”, but there can be little arguing with the quality – and in particular with the spectacular price/quality ratio – of the wines. And there can be absolutely no complaining about the warmth of the reception one gets here. Tasting notes:

Alta Langa Metodo Classico Brut 2009:

This is 80% pinot noir, 20% chardonnay. Light, fresh nose with apple and a hint of green, not much in the way of autolytic character. Slight, fresh, acidic, dry. Not long, with acidic apple and a hint of greenish bitterness. This was lacking in the concentration and flavour development department.

Metodo Classico Rosé Brut 2010

100% pinot noir. Fresh nose with candied raspberry and a greenish/bitter element. Light, fresh, soft, slightly high on the dosage. Not long, with a caramelly raspberry element and a hint of the greenish/bitter note. Again lacking in the concentration and flavour development department.

Piemonte Chardonnay Bricco della Croce 2011

Fresh and inviting nose with peach, vanilla and a touch of flowers. Slim, soft and fresh. OK length with peach, flowers, vanilla. Not a great, complex chardonnay, but well made and very drinkable. And you would not believe the (low) price.

Dolcetto d’Asti 2011

Juicy/sapid nose with cherries, sweet fermenting grapes and a smoky/green spicy note. Light, soft, round, juicy, little tannin, not very concentrated. OK length, sweet bright berry fruit, flowers, green/smoky hints and very slightly spicy. In the light end of dolcetto, certainly the antithesis of some of the monster dolcettos that have appeared, very drinkable.

Barbera d’Asti 2011

Juicy nose of dark berries, flowers and a light but pleasant sweet roasted tone approaching coffee. Light to medium weight, juicy, soft, little tannin. Good length, juicy berries, flowers, minerals. A charming wine of soft, aim-to-please fruit.

Barbera d’Asti Nizza Sotto la Muda 2008

This spends 12 months in barrique. Nose rather dominated by the barrique at this stage, but also mulberry, hints of flowers and meat, quite concentrated. Medium weight, juicy, fresh, round, and a whack of wood tannins. Good length with barrique, juicy berry fruit, flowers and minerals. Somewhat marred by barrique at this stage, but judging by the next wine this seems likely to overcome it over time, and certainly has good concentration and balance to allow it to improve for a few more years.

Barbera d’Asti Nizza Sotto la Muda 2007

Quite deep, intense and juicy nose with mulberries, meat, dried flowers, sweet liquorice. Medium weight, quite intense, some wood tannins, round but juicy. Good length, dark berries, touch of balsamic barrique, flowers, liquorice, minerals. This clearly came from a vintage that was superior to the 2008 and had considerable concentration and balance.

Next followed a couple of Monferrato Rosso wines, both named Pulo (after a fassone bull that had been used by the family in the vineyards well into the 1960’ies). The fact that the grape make-up of Pulo changed from one year to the next, and that the wine is not being made at all any more, reflects that it has been impossible for the Avezzas, despite the quality of the wines, to find an enthusiastic market for the wine. The nebbiolo vineyard is now converted to making sparkling nebbiolo rosé, a wine not necessarily without merit (nebbiolo makes some of the greatest rosés in the world), but this has meant higher yields and earlier picking. I can’t help but feel somewhat sad.

Monferrato Rosso Pulo 2008

40% nebbiolo, 40% barbera, 20% cabernet sauvignon. Slightly closed but broad and somewhat sweet nose of dark berries, flowers, wood shavings, hint of smoke and green peppers. Medium weight, fruit sweet, then dry, firm, some tannin, good concentration. Good length with dark juicy berries, a bit of smoked green peppers, flowers and minerals. Interesting and actually quite good, even if the well-integrated cabernet pepper element is not a very Piedmontese thing.

Monferrato Rosso Pulo 2007

100% nebbiolo. Juicy nose with a hint of barrique, then cherries, violets, liquorice, an ethereal hint. Light to medium weight, finely grained tannin. juicy, dry. Good length, cherries, liquorice, hint of tar, flowers, ends on an etheral/truffly note. Clear nebbiolo character here, in a light version, juicy and drinkable.

Moscato d’Asti La Commenda 2011

Beautiful citric nose with elderflower and exotic flowers. Same in the mouth, lovely, fresh and lightly sweet. Purest enjoyment. One of an unfortunately shrinking band of great Moscato d’Astis, now that this hitherto fairly unknown wine has been discovered by the giant wine factories. There are moves afoot to come up with rules that can distinguish the industry plonk from the good stuff. Let us hope they succeed.

The evening was dedicated to a visit at the wonderful restaurant called La Casa Nel Bosco near Cassinasco, which featured a celebration of the popular and rustic Piedmontese dish of bagna cauda. Bagna cauda translates literally into “warm bath”, and involves a thick, pungent sauce made by melting garlic and anchovies with olive oil (and sometimes butter) and then dipping a variety of raw and boiled vegetables in the sauce. It is a typical autumn dish which exudes a powerful and unmistakable aroma. There was no mistaking that garlic featured strongly when we walked in the door, and a strong sense of hunger and anticipation immediately set in. Within short we were seated and were treated to a barrage of vegetables and individual stands with tea lights under bowls of powerful bagna cauda. As it turned out, the initial plates of vegetables were only the beginning, with at least three more sets to be brought in, but we had to give up about half way, suffering from acute garlic and oil saturation.

Obviously, such pungent, rich fare requires wine that can thoroughly cleanse the palate, and the restaurant had happily obliged by featuring another traditional item: new wine, in this case new barbera. These were the wines we tasted:

Coppo Barbera 2012

Powerful, juicy and darkly fruity nose with coffee-like aroma of ripe grape seeds, hints of flowers and minerals. Light to medium weight, extremely lively and juicy, quite extractive style, hint of tannin. Good length, juicy-acidic dark berries, flowers, minerals and coffee.

Cerutti Barbera Cassinasco 2012

Nose of juicy-sharp berries, fresh flowers and minerals. Light in the mouth, juicily acidic, fresh and lively, almost no tannin. Good length, very fresh dark berries, sweet fresh flowers and minerals.

Coppo Barbera d’Asti l’Avvocata 2011

Juicy, powerful, darkly fruity nose, , white flowers, lavender, intense and slightly alcoholic. Light to medium weight, juicy, good acidity, slight tannin. Good length, dark juicy berries, flowers, minerals and a touch of coffee ripeness.

Cerutti Barbera d’Asti Cassinasco 2010

Juicy nose with dark and red berries, sweet flowers, sweet liquorice, caraway spiciness, touches of blueberries and cocoa powder. Medium weight, juicy and lively, good acidity, little tannin. Good length, cherries, blueberries, flowers and a marked minerality of iron and gravel.

Cerutti Moscato d’Asti 2011

Fairly broad nose of very fresh quince, elderflower and citrus fruit. Light, fresh, acidic, sweet. Good length repeating the aromas from the nose.

The next day was dedicated to our usual pastime of cooking a multi-course dinner and serving wines blind along with it. To do that, some serious shopping has to be done, and we do that in Alessandria. Perhaps the most important reason why we do so is that we have found a sneaky little wine bar in a side street where any wine purchase is accompanied by a hailstorm of little tidbits and nibbles. I will not tell you the name for fear of spoiling the magic. This is always a fairly disorganized stand-up affair, so I have no proper tasting notes, but we had the following wines:

Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso 2010

Lovely, soft, juicy and complex expression of nerello mascalese.

Guastaferro Taurasi Primum 2003

Tasting notes given in a previous post, a powerful and large expression of aglianico and terroir.

Castello di Lignano Barbera d’Asti Stramba 2009

Juicy and good, not great.

Sigillo Primitivo di Manduria (vintage not noted)

Somewhat jammy, a bit too much oak.

Librandi Magno Megonio 2008

One of my perennial Calabrian favourites. Recent vintages, such as this one, have reduced oak impact, which has done wonders for the fruit expression, although I would not mind a further reduction of oak influence. Big, tight and complex, with that typical dark cherry fruitiness and good tannins.

Once back in Loazzolo we started to cook. As I recall it, we had 8 dishes in all, many of which cooked by yours truly. As my kitchen duties left little time for note-taking, I do not have a list of the dishes consumed, nor any photographs of them, but I did manage to scribble down notes of the wines we tasted, starting with the kitchen wines consumed during preparations. As usual during our dinners, most wines were served blind:

1st wine: Avezza Barbera d’Asti 2011

See note above.

2nd wine:

Highly complex, juicy yet beautifully mature nose with soft dark berries, black olives, iron/grouse blood, spice, minerals and meat. Medium weight, juicy, finely polished tannins, good acidity. Good length with red and dark berries, all of the aromas from the nose and the begginings of humus and tobacco. Lovely, mature, complex wine. The wine: Gripa Saint Joseph 2004.

3rd wine: Dönnhoff Nahe Riesling Trocken

Delicious, big and intense nose of quince, peach, nettle, flowers and honey. Slim, elegant, good acidity, dry but rounded. Long, quince, apple, minerals, flowers, touch of honey.

4th wine: Erpacrife VSDQ Metodo Classico Dosaggio Zero 2008

This is a 100% nebbiolo made as a rosé and then subjected to several years of bottle age on the lees. Erpacrife is a joint effort that includes the Scarzello family of Barolo. Rather charming, light nose with raspberries, strawberries, hint of flowers, minerally. Light, fresh, good acidity, dry. Acceptable length, discreet, fresh, raspberries, minerals.

5th wine:

Sparkling. Powerful nose of apple, quince, slightly sulphuric sourdough rye bread autolysis, marzipan. Medium weight, dry, broad, handsome acidity. Long, repeating the aromas from the nose, very significant intensity, touch of roasted hazelnut, minerals. The wine: Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Cristal 2002.

6th wine:

Lovely, deep nose of peaches, greenish-bitter herbs, wax and a touch of oak. Broad, fat, slight residual sugar, slightly low on acidity. Good length, peaches, rose, herbs. Let down somewhat in the mouth. The wine: Venica & Venica Collio Friulano Ronco delle Cime (the vintage escaped me).

7th wine:

Lovely nose of peaches, hazelnuts, slightly perfumed herbs, minerals, flowers and a slight roundness from wood ageing. Medium weight, dry, slightly bitter, good freshness of acidity. Good length, hazelnut, herbs, very minerally, slight oak, grilled peaches. Lovely wine, great character and terroir. The wine: Feudi di San Gregorio Fiano di Avellino Pietracalda 2007.

8th wine:

Powerful, intense and complex nose of waxy yellow fruits, green/bitter herbs, almost kerosene-like minerality and resin. Quite fat, medium weight but powerful, dry, slightly bitter. Long, with yellow fruits, resin, very minerally, waxy flowers. Great wine. The wine: Villa Bucci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva 2006.

9th wine:

Thick and concentrated nose of strong coconut barrique masking hints of blackcurrant, minerals, violets. Dry and bitter from the oak treatment, somehow both flat and strangely acidic. Quite long and concentrated, dominated by the oak, then hints of minerals, violets, blackcurrants and cherries. Disgusting wine, an utter failure to express intrinsic qualities and terroir. The wine: Pelissero Barbaresco Vanotu 2005.

10th wine:

Deep nose with humus, tar, leather, liquorice, meat, black cherries, an ethereal component and dried flowers. Powerful, intense, juicy, lovely grape tannins, good acidity. Long, ethereal, repeats the aromatics from the nose, intensely minerally, liquorice, tar. Wow! The wine: Fontanafredda Barolo La Rosa 1996.

11th wine:

Fresh, charming, light, lively, redcurranty nose, with a slightly ethereal tannin-derived touch, humus, leather and touch of flowers. Medium weight, fresh, light tannins, good acidity. Good length, fresh redcurrants, touch of Amaro Averna, slightly spicy, dried flowers and leather. A lovely, light, fresh and charming wine. The wine: Ugo Lequio Barbaresco Gallina 2008.

12th wine:

Discreet nose, touch of caramel, spices, redcurrants, dry garrigue, hints of liquorice and tar. Medium weight, handsome grape tannins, good acidity, good balance. Long, very minerally, slightly medicinal, touch of flowers and caramel. A slim, elegant, fine wine. The wine: G. Mascarello Barolo Santo Stefano di Perno 2004.

13th wine:

Powerful, slightly oxidized Bovril nose, then humus, cherries, leather, a slightly balsamic/ethereal touch, meat. Powerful, big tannins, good acidity, sweet fruit. Long, with soy, cocoa, violets, Bovril, plums, meat. The wine: Fontanabianca Barbaresco Sorì Burdin 2001.

14th wine:

Sweetly mature nose of blackcurrants, green peppers, exotic spice, cigar box, crayfish shells. Medium weight towards large, good tannins, slightly low on acidity. Long, blackcurrants, cigar box, tannic bark, touch of humus and barnyard. The wine: Château Léoville-Las-Cases Saint-Julien 1983.

15th wine:

Huge nose of great depth and weight, with essence of cherries, sweet liquorice, dry exotic spices, incense and then a lifted ethereal element. Powerful, dry and broad in the mouth, great depth of fruit, hint of kernel bitterness. Long, wide and deep aftertaste with cherry essence, exotic spice and incense. The wine: Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Mazzano 2004. Always one of my favourite Amarones, a classic, and for me always Masi’s best Amarone.

16th wine:

Big fat nose with nettley botrytis, waxy yellow fruits, minerals, vanilla, lemon meringue, honey and hint of lemon peel. Fat, sweet and unctuous, slightly bitter hit of botrytis. Long, intense and concentrated, with slightly coffee-like oak, honey, grilled peach, citrus. Lovely! The wine: Château Rieussec Sauternes 2004.

That concluded the evening and my participation in the annual pilgrimage, as I had to leave for Verona for participation as a juror in the Vinitaly International Wine Challenge. As usual, the flock repaired to the truffle market the next day, and then gathered for an evening of whatever they could make out of the spoils of the previous day. What they had in my absence:

Schmitges Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spätlese Trocken 2004

Dr. Loosen Mosel Riesling Trocken “Blauschiefer” 2008

Musso Barbaresco Pora 2008

Bruno Rocca Barbaresco Coparossa 2004

Yours truly


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