What better way is there to spend a late afternoon in New York than looking out into Gramercy Park
and tasting through this epic list of Barolo by the glass at Bar Maialino.
Tasting these big name Nebbiolo's side by side was a soothing experience that was a much needed contrast to the usual chaotic tasting room scene one hurriedly darts through in Manhattan. The photo of the below list can speak for itself but there were some surprises of course.
The 1999 Bartolo Mascarello was drinking the best for me. 1999 was a classic vintage in the Langhe and the consistency I have found with Bartolo Mascarello Barolo's is unmatched by any other producer in my opinion. They have also bottled an insane 2003 Barolo in such a difficult vintage and you'll see most other producers are already drinking past their peaks with that very hot and over ripe vintage of 2003. Bartolo sources the grapes from the vineyards of Canubbi, San Lorenzo, Rue and Rocche' and is always a blended Barolo.
The 2003 Giacomo Conterno, Cascina Francia was showing a very promising aromatic profile from the glass. A delicious balance of fruit, herbs and spice, but on the palate fell very short. There really is no structure or length for this expression of 2003, but is still delicious to chug down with food if you just want a tasty Barolo without thinking too hard about it (for $39 a glass).
The Giuseppe Mascarello, Monprivato 2005 was another favorite of mine at the bar. This beast from Castiglione Falleto was showing a nice bloody muscular side of Barolo and was still very young and big but also generously food friendly.
At the beginning we started off with a taste of the 2007 Fratelli Alessandria, Monvigliero. Monvigliero is the prized single vineyard in the northern Verduno area of Barolo and is known for its greatly aromatic wines that also bring a firm backbone and great complexity. This wine did not let us down. It was showing that amazing Langhe bouquet while still being very traditional and approachable for such a young wine. A step lighter in body than some of the big hitters on the list but Monvigliero for me is delivering some promising and exciting wines for the market here in the United States.
The 2000 Giuseppe Rinaldi, Brunate-Le Coste was a wine I was so looking forward to tasting. They are one of the most sought-after and prized of all the Barolos. When they are on point they are fucking amazing and life changing but there definitely isn't the consistency I see in a producer like Bartolo Mascarello. This wine was pretty wild. At first it had a big chemically wet paint and truffle aroma almost coming off as a touch of volatile acidity. The harshest of it blew off after a minute in the glass but it was still an amazing wine to meditate over. It had very beautiful layers and was insanely complex but I have to like the Bartolo over this wine because of its absolute harmony and togetherness. I was sipping with a few Maialino employees at the bar and was informed that it wasn't just this bottle that was showing the slight V.A.
As of 2010 Rinaldi's Barolo will be labeled as just "Brunate" and "Tre Tine" as the law doesn't permit two vineyards on a single label.
Happy Nebbiolo Season! I hope to be back soon.