2008 Barolo (and one 2007)
at Del Posto Restaurant, NYC 4/27/2013

Afternoon Tasting of New Release Barolos at Antonio Galloni's La Festa del Barolo

This was the afternoon tasting event at Antonio Galloni's La Festa del Barolo 2013. Each of the 15 producers poured one Barolo from their current release. For the first 14 producers, that was the 2008. For the last one, that was the 2007 from Cavalotto. The event was incredibly well-run, with superb service, organization, and glassware. All wines were opened around noon. The tasting ran from 2pm to 4pm.

Part 2 of this special day was a Gala dinner.

Click on an image with a border for a much larger view of that image which may contain additional image.

Antonio introduces the event:

The two tables of winemakers, left and right:

Alex Sanchez of Brovia and Alfio Cavallotto of Cavallotto
are happy to be at the far end and go last:

Flight 1
  1. 2008 E. Pira & Figli (Chiara Boschis) Barolo Cannubi - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Ruby color. Tight but lovely perfume. Nice structure with plenty of tannin and perfume in the mouth. Oak seems subtle. Greg dP says only 20% of their barriques are new. Best wine I've tasted from this estate in years. (93 points)
  2. 2008 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Cannubi - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Blacker ruby color. Sweet, oaky, thick. Bland at this stage. (88 points)
  3. Chiara Boschis (E. Pira), Andrea Farinetti (G. Borgogno), Luca Sandrone (brother of Luciano).

  4. 2008 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Cannubi Boschis - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Muted nose of cherry vanilla. Well made but overwhelmed by oak at this point. If the oak fades, it could be excellent. (88-94 points)
  5. Luca Sandrone (brother of Luciano) with translator Barbara Sandrone (daughter of Luciano).

  6. 2008 Roberto Voerzio Barolo Cerequio - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Some turpentine on the nose. Highly extracted. Oddly chemical. No one else seems to think it is an off bottle. Not rated.
  7. Roberto Voerzio speaks.
Antonio listens. The sommeliers pour.

Flight 2
  1. 2008 Azienda Agricola Elvio Cogno Barolo Bricco Pernice - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Most classic nose so far with lots of tar and flowers. Nice structure with elegance and balanced fruit and tannins. Expansive in the mouth. Sadly only one cask made of this selection from a subplot of the Ravera cru. Biggest (positive) surprise of the afternoon. (94 points)
  2. Valter Fissore, who married Elvio Cogno's daughter, now makes the wine.
    Elvio Cogno was the winemaker for Marcarini for many years.

  3. 2008 G.D. Vajra Barolo Bricco delle Viole - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    [24 May 2013] Trying another bottle at home after my odd experience with this wine at Antonio's La Festa. Open 30 minutes in the decanter: To my nose, it smells strongly of cherries and vanilla. In the mouth, the wine is sweet with an undercurrent of tannin and a long cherry-licorice finish. It is a beautiful wine. After 3 hours: Continuously changing. Now the nose is all black plums with hints of licorice and tar. Gaining weight and thickness with air. The tannins are a little tart and the finish is long. Needs 8-10 years to really show its stuff. (93-95 points)
  4. Giuseppe Vajra, who pointed out he is only 27 years old.

  5. 2008 Vietti Barolo Rocche - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Black cherry nose. Delicious, expansive, structured, ripe and extracted. Serious stuff. (94 points)
  6. Luca Currado of Vietti said 2008 had their longest macerations ever.

  7. 2008 Paolo Scavino Barolo Riserva Bric dël Fiasc - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Thick rich extracted. A lot of vanilla on the finish. Hard to judge at this stage, but I think it has potential. This is a special edition riserva in honor of the winery's 30th anniversary. All profits from this wine will go to charity. 2500 bottles made plus some mags and 3L. (93 points)
  8. Antonio introduces this special bottling for Scavino.
    Enrico Scavino speaks and his daughter Elisa Scavino translates.

Flight 3
  1. 2008 Conterno Fantino Barolo Sorì Ginestra - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Pure vanilla nose. Not a lot of structure. A nice wine which may improve with more time in the bottle. Fabio Fantino says they are using less oak, but this seems more oaky to me than the 2007. (88 points)
  2. 2008 Elio Grasso Barolo Ginestra Casa Maté - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Sweet black cherry nose. Nice tarry fruit, but tons of new oak. (92 points)
  3. Fabio Fantino (Conterno-Fantino) & Gianluca Grasso (Elio Grasso).

  4. 2008 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo Romirasco - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Incredibly dark and reticent nose, but something quite potent in there. Sweet tart red and black fruit. Great potential. Long finish of black fruit and licorice. Franco Conterno says 6000-8000 bottles made in a typical year. Two large Slavonian oak casks, one new each year. Intially rated 97 points and the wine of the tasting so far, but when I came back to it, it had gone over the top and become oddly medicinal. Hard to know where this is going. Antonio said their was some bottle variation among the bottles at the tasting, but I would swear there was variation just within my glass. Judgement reserved.
  5. Franco Conterno of Aldo Conterno.

  6. 2008 Pio Cesare Barolo Ornato - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Sweet vanilla nose. Medium long finish. A touch green. (84 points)
  7. Pio Boffa of Pio Cesare.

Flight 4
  1. 2008 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Hands down wine of the tasting. Black fruit, licorice, and a gorgeous perfume with an appealing touch of dirt in the nose. Very earthy and structured. If it puts on weight, as I expect it will, it may rival the 1989. Certainly reminds me of that great wine. (96-98 points)
  2. Roberto Conterno of G. Conterno.

  3. 2008 Fratelli Brovia Barolo Ca'mia - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Powerful black fruit nose. Thick in the mouth with a hint of vanilla followed by strong tannins. Quite sweet, but plenty of structure and tannins beneath. (93-95 points)
  4. Alex Sanchez (Brovia), Alfio Cavallotto (Cavallotto).

  5. 2007 Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Lovely dense nose of sweet black fruits with hints of exotic spices. Very sweet and long. Should drink well for 2 decades. (93 points)
  6. Alex Sanchez (Brovia), Alfio Cavallotto (Cavallotto).


The last question was whether there will be another La Festa del Barolo next year.
Antonio referred the question to his wife Marzia who he said did most of the work.
She did not commit:

The winemakers toast Marzia:

The winemakers toast the audience:

Two of my Barolo buddies, Nicolai Søegaard & Bob Hughes:

Other attendees posing with Pio Boffa:

Other attendees posing with Antonio and Alex Sanchez:


I think 2008 is a very good and classical vintage similar in style to 2006, but perhaps not as tannic and structured. Several producers said this was the latest Nebbiolo harvest in their history.

Notes posted from CellarTracker.

Greg dal Piaz's notes on the same event posted on Snooth.

Mark Scudiery's notes on the same event (and other 2008's) posted on his blog, Wine Without Numbers.

If you have a subscription to Antonio Galloni's Vinous (highly recommended), there are excellent videos from this event posted there.




All original content © Ken Vastola