G. Conterno Barolo vs. L. Sandrone Barolo Single-Blind
at Morrell Wine Bar and Café, NYC (5/14/2015)

This group was started by Tony Kim through the discussion forum on Antonio Galloni's Vinous. This particular tasting dinner was organized by Eric Guido who made all the arrangements for the venue and the food. Eric also named the tasting The Icon vs. The Iconoclast and prepared a booklet for our tasting notes (mine did not list the wines):
The venue was upstairs at the Morrell Wine Bar and Café. The view above is from the balcony looking down at the entrance. We all had a great time eating, drinking, and discussing the wines. Dinner began a little after 7pm and ended around 11pm.

Our group is divided on the topic of blind ranging from "hate it" to "love it" and everything in between. So for this dinner the bottles were bagged, but those who did not want blind got a TN sheet with the names. Those of us who did want blind, got a sheet without the wine listed. (Eric graciously made up both.) But then as we started the tasting, some who wanted blind said they only wanted single blind, so as Eric brought over the bagged bottles to start each flight, he would announce which wines were in the flight (but not the order). So for the four of us who wanted blind, it was single-blind by flight, and we sat at one end of the table. For the rest, it was with complete knowledge of which wine was which.

I very much wanted blind. I really wanted to see just how different these 2 producers wines were when I didn't know which was which. IMO the difference was obvious in the first flight. The 97 CF was very earthy, while the 2000 CB was simple and sweet.

In the 98 flight, I guessed them all wrong. In 1999, it was obvious to me which 2 were Conterno and which one was Sandrone, but hard to tell the CF from the Monfo since the Monfo was flamboyant, while the CF was tight as a drum. These two flights were consistent with my theory that a true traditionalist makes the wine the vintage gives him. So Conterno made a very forward, ripe Sandrone-like wine in 1998, but not in 1999.

1996 was confusing because there was imo something wrong with the Monfortino. Once I was told which one was the Monfo, it was easy to tell the CF from the CB. In the last flight, it was obvious which was the 85 CF since, unlike any other wine that evening, it was fully in the tertiary stage. It was just wonderful to have at least one wine that showed us where all these wines are heading (I hope). The 90 CF we had was a great wine. The 90 CB was a good, but not great wine.

Click on any photo with a border for a larger view.

The Fine Wine Geek himself in a rare photo op with all the Barolos
(except the 1997 CF which was left at home, see the note below).
Photo by Eric Guido.

Spiced Walnuts, Olives, Artisanal Cheese Selection, Domestic and Imported Charcuterie.

My tasting notes for the Barolos are single-blind. That is, I knew which wines were in each flight before the flight was poured, but did not know which wine was which.

Two Hot Vintages: 1997 & 2000

Second Course Served with the 1998 and 1999 Flights
Gnocchi with Wine Reduction, Herbs,Tomato Sauce with Melted Pecorino, and Crispy Potato Straws.



Third Course Served with the 1996 and 1985-90 Flights
Herb Marinated Beef Tenderloin over Roasted Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Barolo Sauce.


1985 and 1990

Chocolate Truffles and Chocolate Biscotti.

My tasting notes posted from CellarTracker.


These are two excellent producers. None of the Sandrone wines tasted oaky. I still have a preference for G. Conterno, but the Sandrone wines are very good. Also, at this tasting, I did not see a clear difference in quality between Cannubi Boschis and Le Vigne.

Eric Guido's notes on this tasting can be found on his Cellar Table blog.

Mark Scudiery's notes on this tasting can be found on his Wine Without Numbers blog.

People Photos

Click on any photo with a border for a larger view.
Marc, Tony, Jeremy, Michael. You can also see the reflection of Iggy & Mark.

Dynamic Eric managing the tasting.

Tony, Jeremy, Michael, Mark, Iggy.

Tony, Michael, Mark, Iggy, & Jonathan.

Eric taking bottle photos.




All original content © Ken Vastola