Critics find much to like in 2010 Baroli

August 18, 2014

Hi folks, lots of info this week so no commentary. Field Recordings Huerhuero Vineyard Petite Sirah 2012 is a deep royal purple color with dark chocolate, cassis and smoke aromas. Concentrated, with great legs, it shows blackberry and maple syrup flavors; it spent 16 months in American and French oak. Huge fruit, excellent tannic structure; it needs time in cellar but only $25. A terrific introduction to Cali Petite Sirah. You know I tried it due to its name. I’m glad I did.

Yalumba Shiraz Viognier Eden Valley 2009 from Australia is deep crimson-purple. Opens with cinnamon, black cherry and violet aromas. Medium-bodied, with rhubarb and fruit cake flavors, and finishes round and soft. This is a ton of wine for $14. Ready to drink now, 88 points McD.

Winter’s Hill Estate Pinot Blanc Dundee Hills, Oregon is $15. Pinot blanc is not usually aromatic. However, Winter’s Hill has hints of white fruit, peach, tart apples, dried floral and chalk aromas. On the round palate, lime, baked apple, lemon curd and herb flavors ride an acid-bright frame. Clean finish exhibits dusty notes and minerality, 93 points McD, 1 price point driven. Les Vignes de Bila-Haut has three new releases from Michel Chapoutier. Regular readers know I am a huge fan of Chapoutier, father and son. These are wonderful values for smart buyers. These Bila-Haut can be found at Banks, Atlantic, Bayside, Bin 66, Teller and Galaxy in Ocean City, Md., that I know of. Let’s start with the 2013 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Blanc made of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Vermentino. Opens with apples, grapefruit and a smoky minerality. On the palate, white peach and minerals are balanced with a good acid profile that cleans up the finish. Buy under $14, 92 with price point.

Next up is 2011 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Les Vignes de Bila-Haut at $14. Great QPR blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan, it opens with a complex bouquet of cherry, currant, leather, game and spice. Nicely balanced, clean finish. A lot of wine for the price, 91 points McD.  The 2012s were slightly less impressive at 86 points.

Finally, a lovely Rosé Pays d’Oc 2013 from Bila-Haut you can find for $13. This Grenache-Cinsault blend deserves 88 points. Lovely pinkish rose color, the bouquet is mouthwatering citrus. It leads to white nectarine, raspberry, and strawberry flavors with spice hints. Pays d’Oc is a wonderful, dry, food wine and a great summer porch sipper.

Costers del Gravet Celler de Capcanes Montsant 2010 is 50 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 percent Garnacha, 20 percent Samso (carignan). Classic Cabernet profile supported by by Grenache. Deep ruby-violet color opens to cherry, plum, blueberry, undergirded by smoky, toasty oak. A beautifully balanced expression of fruit, acid, alcohol and tannin with good concentration and staunch body. Finishes long and cleanly; great with lamb, venison and other wild game. Buy for $240/case or $22/bottle, 92 points. Needs cellar time. Jancis Robinson gave the 2011 17.5/20; high praise from her. I did not sample the 2011.

Galloni is bruiting about the merits of the 2010 Baroli. I have sampled several, and I agree that for those with patience and forbearance, they would make an excellent cellar buy. Most will be ready by 2018 and will improve and drink well into at least 2030. My notes from a recent tasting: Renato Corino Vigneto Rocche dell’Annunziata Barolo 2010 is 96 points under $48.  

Be careful; while “dell’Annunziata” is 96, his generic is 90 points at $40. These items would be great for you to compare before buying. You may think the $40 bottle suits you better since case buyers would get two free bottles by comparison. Azelia Barolo, whether you try the Margheria, Bricco Fiasco or San Rocca, are the bomb at 96-plus points and under $70.  

Our old pal Elio Grasso is selling 1.5-liter bottles (two bottles in one) of Ginestra Vigna Casa Mate for $149. Galloni rated it 97, and stingy Tanzer 95. I haven’t tried Casa Mate but a 95 from Tanzer is like Fagan feeding filet mignon to “the lads.” I would jump all over this if I were a Barolo bibber. You can bet I will be sampling some as soon as possible.