NK Barolo & Barbaresco
at Tabard Inn, Washington, DC (9/15/2005)

Pictures can be found here.

This was a great night of people, wine and food. I was asked to scribe, so here it is.

Attendees were Josh du Lac, Steve Ham, Steve Heymann, Dave Nicolson, Chris Bublitz, Elliot Levy, Don Thomas, Gary O'Connor, Barry Pershkow, and your not so humble scribe. Peter Thaggard never made it. Note that when Steve Ham joined, the abbreviation SH was already taken by Steve Heymann, so he got SHam. Not my doing Steve.

First, let me say thanks to all these good folks for coming out on a weeknight and for bringing so many wonderful wines! It was great company. Thanks especially to Steve Heymann for picking the place and organizing this fabulous event.

The Tabard Inn is a really lovely place with great character and excellent food. The Veal cheeks were extraordinary and a perfect match to all the reds. I understand that they were added to the menu just for us to match our wines! The folks there are somewhat new to wine dinners of this type, but they did everything they could possibly do to make us comfortable and to make the whole dinner work. A big thanks to their whole staff and especially Chantal.

Within each flight, the wines were poured sequentially, so some people may have had side by side comparisons, others may not have. I did my best to keep as many wines as possible throughout each flight for comparison purposes.

At the end of the reds, we voted for WOTN among the reds by each giving our top 3 in order. Since there were so many good wines, quite a few got little or no points, but were widely agreed to be terrific wines. We probably should have had each person give their top 10, but we sure weren't up to that!

Also, many wines were liked or loved by almost everyone, but a few were controversial. For example, the few wines that didn't impress me (and there were only a very few of those) were liked or loved by others. We were very fortunate in that there were no bad wines and no bad bottles!!!


1996 Duval Leroy Blanc de Chardonnay Brut (JdL)
Big toasty lemon custard nose. Fresh, crisp, tasty. 88 points.

1996 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese (CB)
Complex nose of papaya, mango, and tangerine. Light and fresh in the mouth. Great length. A super Spatlese! Better than the auslese version I had a few weeks ago. 94 points.

1998 Valentini Trebbiano d'Abruzzo (SH)
Hard having such a dry wine after the Spatlese. Very interesting nutty nose. Fresh and crisp in the mouth with a complex oakiness. Goes quite well with incredibly fresh oysters. 90 points.

2003 Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Zobinger Heilingenstein Austria (DT)
Very good. Straightforward but very appealing. Totally dry. 89 points.


1982 Gaja Barbaresco (BP)
Gorgeous nose of earth, mulch and tar. Fully mature and ready to go after a half hour in the decanter and glass. Terrific right now. Only this and the Cicala were really at their peak IMO. A beauty! Only made one person's top 3, but I suspect it was in the top 5 or 6 of almost everyone. 94 points. Group #7 WOTN.
Open 2 hours: Starting to fade. Drink up!

1989 Scavino Barolo Bric del Fiasc (KV)
Heavenly nose of black fruit and black truffles. Tons of tannin. Really backward and tight in the mouth. Great length. Tremendous potential here, but I should have decanted this and the Cannubi the day before (instead of at 4pm). Shows a little more with the tasty risotto. 94-97 points.

1989 Scavino Barolo Cannubi (KV)
Tight nose of black fruits with just a hint of the floral notes I have usually found in this wine. Delicious blackberries in the mouth. Wow! Really needs time. Great purity. Mesmerizing. 95-97 points.

1989 A. Conterno Barolo Cicala (SH)
Stunning fragrant nose of roses and tar. Yummy in the mouth with juicy acidity. Thinner than the Scavinos but really showing its stuff today. So tasty, great with the risotto. 95 points. Group #3 WOTN

1989 Massolino Vigna Rionda Riserva (PB)
Dark fruit, beef and floral nose. Serious stuff. Opened at the dinner, so it needed time, but started to open up in the glass. Classic Rionda flavors of beef and cherries. Not as much weight as a Giacosa Rionda, but a superb wine. 95 points.

1989 Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra (EL)
Superb cherry truffle nose. Tart, tannic, appealing. Developing some mintiness over time. Very good and very similar to the same wine at the RicoFest Barolothon, but somehow a little less pizzazz. 93 points.

1990 Corino Barolo Rocche 1990 (CB)
Gorgeous ripe fruit nose. Sweet, silky Pomerol-like Barolo. Sexy mind-blowing wine. Just like the bottle I brought to the Roy Hersh dinner last year, this is one of the best modern-style Barolos ever made. 98 points. Others liked it much less.

1990 B. Giacosa Barolo Villero (SH)
Gorgeous nose of flowers and cherries. Fragrant and stunning. Loads of tannins. Classic, manly Villero. Should drink well for 20 years. 96 points. Clear #2 group WOTN: one first place vote, four 2nd place votes, and one third place vote.

Mystery wine (KV)
Heaven in the nose. Expansive and exquisite in the mouth. Tannin and white truffles. So sexy. Will be even better in 10 years. 98-100 points. Several people say it's more feminine than the others. Elliot says he's sure it's a 1990. Steve and Barry guess that it's the 1985 Giacosa Santo Stefano Riserva. They're wrong, but not by much. It's the ...
1990 B. Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano Riserva (red label).
[Double decanted at 4pm.]
Open 2 hours more: Orgasm in a glass! The finish lasts forever! Perfect. 100 points.
Clear group WOTN. 7/10 people picked it as their WOTN.


1997 Scavino Barolo Bric del Fiasc (DN)
[Triple decanted 24 hours.] Huge oak nose. Thick, sweet fruit. A little hot. What's the future here? Elliot says Aussie Barolo. Not a bad description. If it ages with balance: 93 points. If not: ???

1997 B. Giacosa Barolo Falletto di Serralunga (DN)
[Triple decanted 24 hours.] Gorgeous truflly nose. Expansive, ringing in the mouth. 94 points.

1998 B. Giacosa Barolo Falletto di Serralunga (SHam)
Nearly the same nose as the 97, but a touch more fruit. Perfect balance. Even with the decanting, could still use 5-10 years to show its best, but this is outstanding stuff. 96 points. Group #6 WOTN.

1998 Gaja Sperss Barolo (JdL)
Very oaky. Intensely sweet. Tastes like barbera and oak. 88 points. Others liked it much more.

1998 Scavino Barolo Cannubi 1998 (EL)
Hot nose. Licorice. Good balance. Needs time. 92-93 points. Group #4 WOTN

1996 B. Giacosa Barolo Falletto di Serralunga Riserva (red label) (DT)
[24 hours in the decanter.] Heavenly nose of earth, truffles and roses. Huge, structured balanced. A wine of greatness in its infancy. 98-100 points. Group #5 WOTN.


Mystery wine ("sweet white dessert wine") (JdL)
Orange nose. Very sweet. Tastes orange Muscat, but without the thickness. Tasty, but a little too sweet for me. 90 points. It was a Greek Muscat dessert wine, but I missed the details. I lingered with the reds.

2002 Baumard Quarts de Chaume (SHam)
Great, sweet/acid balance. Way too young, but has great potential. 93-95 points.

2000 Antinori Muffato della Sala Umbria (EL)
Sweet citrus nose. Excellent balance. 92 points.

1995 Maculan Acininobili (DT)
Amber color. Dry botrytis nose. Exquisite and perfumed in the mouth. Wow! Not as thick or heavy as the 90, but terrific stuff! 95 points.




All original content © Ken Vastola