2001 Barbaresco & Barolo
Tolani Wine Restaurant, NYC, 12/7/2011

A group of Nebbiolo lovers got together to blind taste some excellent wines from the 2001 vintage. Most of these wines were double-decanted late morning or early afternoon. Since I organized the flights, the wines were not blind to me, but they were to everyone else.

The food at Tolani on the Upper West Side (410 Amsterdam Ave.) was excellent. Sadly, Tolani closed in the summer of 2015.

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All the Barbarescos & Barolos in the order tasted. (Photo by Eric Guido after the tasting.)

Since the first two courses were very good, but not very wine friendly, I held the first flight of wines for the third food course.

First Course
Butternut Squash Soup: Caramelized pears, chestnuts, black truffle whipped cream.

Second Course
Fuyu Persimmon Salad: Watercress, Radicchio, Pepperdew, Pecan Cracker.

Flight 1: 2001 Barbaresco
Pork Belly: Honey Crisp apples, pistachio.

I liked all 5 of these very much. The Giacosa Asili was controversial, but the Giacosa Rabaja was everyone's favorite.
  1. 2001 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Asili - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
    Beautiful nose of black and red fruit. Lovely and delicious. Nearing its peak. Should drink well for another decade. Tannins are soft, but still quite present. (93 points)
  2. 2001 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Rabajà - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
    Licorice and black fruit in the nose. Long silky finish. Complex with a bit more structure than the Asili. Love this. (94 points)
  3. 2001 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
    Tight red fruit and iron nose. Medium body. Long finish. Needs time. (93-95 points)
  4. 2001 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
    [Double decanted at 11am.] Glorious perfume with rich sweet black fruit. Surprisingly big wine. Expansive and riveting. I love it. Not everyone does. (95 points)
  5. 2001 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Riserva Rabajà - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
    [Double decanted at 11am.] Very backward and muted nose. In the mouth, the wine is huge. Rich and tannic, this is much younger than anything else so far. Marvelous structure. This is obviously a great young wine that needs several more years. (97-100 points)

Flight 2: 2001 Barolo from the Commune of Barolo
Rabbit Fricassee: Homemade Gnocchi, Sweet Yams, Brussels, Dried Cherries.

The Bartolo being corked was a real disappointment. It added to the flight being a real mixed bag.
  1. 2001 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate Le Coste - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Muted sweet red fruit nose. Gorgeous complex red fruit in the mouth. Tannic, penetrating. Still young, but great black and red fruit with a super long finish. (95-97 points)
  2. 2001 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
  3. 2001 E. Pira & Figli (Chiara Boschis) Barolo Cannubi - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Chocolate and black fruit nose. Big, tannic, somewhat monolithic at this stage. Has that gunky thick modern quality to it that I don't like, but it may grow out it. (91 points)
  4. 2001 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Storico Liste - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Silky tannic thick. Perhaps the most extracted wine so far. Medium length. (93 points)

Flight 3: 2001 Barolo from the Commune of Castiglione Falletto
Braised Short Ribs: Parsnip Puree, Cipolllini Onions, Watercress, Pomegranate Gastrique.

It was great to have these 3 wines from Cavallotto all together. It gave a clear sense of the house style and the early appeal of these wines. The Monprivato was a very different breed of cat.
  1. 2001 Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Lovely smokey nose. Sweet, tannic black cherry on long finish. Tasty. Licorice and black cherry. Excellent value. Drinking well tonight, but should continue to drink well for 10 or more years. (92 points)
  2. 2001 Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Vignolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Muted nose, but brilliant black cherries on the finish. Loads of licorice and flowers in the middle. Very nice stuff. (93 points)
  3. 2001 Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Thick and silky in the mouth. Classic Cavalotto. Thick and modern in the mouth-feel, but the flavors are pure Nebbiolo. A very harmonious and delicious wine. Drinking well now and for 20 years. (94 points)
  4. 2001 Giuseppe E Figlio Mascarello Barolo Monprivato - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Cherry nose. A lovely and delicate wine. Some VA, but long and tasty finish. Has an ethereal quality that I think will make this a great wine in 5-10 more years. (94-97 points)

Dessert Wine & Cheese
Selection of Cheese: Parmigianino, Stilton Blue, Granny Smith Apples.


2001 is clearly an excellent vintage with a long future. The Giacosa Rabaja was the hands-down WOTN.

Notes posted from CellarTracker.

WOTN Voting (3pts each for #1, 2pts for #2, 1pt for #3)

1195Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Rabajà Riserva
21312Cavallotto Barolo San Giuseppe Riserva
3(tie)81Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Asili Riserva
3(tie)84Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili Riserva
5713G. Mascarello Barolo Monprivato
6(tie)13Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano
6(tie)16G. Rinaldi Barolo Brunate-Le Coste
6(tie)110Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis

Eric Guido's notes on this dinner.

People Photos

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Around the table:
Eric, Greg, Joe, Leo.
Leo, Ali, Marty.
Josh, Tom, Eric.
Tom, Eric, Greg, Joe.

A little later . . .
Walt and Me.

Walt and Me.

Ali, Marty, Walt.




All original content © Ken Vastola