2012 Barolo: Grace Under Pressure
@ Del Posto Restaurant, NYC (2/4/2017)

Morning Tasting of New Release Barolos at Antonio Galloni Vinous Media's La Festa del Barolo 2017.

We tasted one 2012 Barolo from each of the 15 producers represented except for one 2011 from Roagna. These were all current releases. All wines were opened around 9:30am and served cool (cellar temp). The tasting ran from 10:30am to 12:30am. The tasting was followed by lunch (see below).

Part 1 of this special event was a Gala dinner the previous evening.

I have been to each of the previous four La Festa current release tastings. You can find my photos and notes from those tastings here:
Links to each flight and to lunch: Click on an image with a border for a much larger view of that image which may contain additional image.

The entrance to Del Posto:

All set for the tasting:

The place mats for the glasses:

All the wines (put together after lunch):

Daniel Moritz and the FWG before the tasting:
Photo by Amanda Moritz.

The FWG and Greg Dal Piaz as the tasting begins:
Photos by Keith Edwards, Wine -- Mise en abyme.

Antonio and the panel:

La Bella Marzia who organized this event. A rare shot of Marzia & Antonio together at this event. (Chiara Boschis seated.)

Pouring the wines as Antonio gets the tasting started:

Tough to get started at 10:30 the morning after the Gala dinner the night before, but I quickly got up to speed. I'm a trooper!

Flight 1: Cannubi and Cannubi Boschis
Four women of Cannubi: Chiara Boschis of E. Pira, Paola Rinaldi of Franceso Rinaldi,
Silvia Altare of Elio Altare, and Barbara Sandrone of Luciano Sandrone:
Chiara Boschis spoke about the Cannubi vineyard. She said the micro-climate almost always yields excellent wines in all different kinds of conditions. She also mentioned that there is an on-going effort to have all growers in Cannubi go organic. She is one of the pioneers in this area.

Paola Rinaldi gave props to Chiara for starting this organic effort. She told how her grandfather bought their first parcel in Cannubi long ago from a farmer for the Marchesa di Falletto. It is near their farmhouse which is calle "palazzo". She then spoke about their 2012 in detail. She thinks it is a good wine with very good potential for aging.

Silvia Altare said this is their second vintage for them in Cannubi on a 7-year rental (2011-2017 vintages). It is unclear if they will be able to renew this rental. This plot is 0.25 hectares of 50 year old vines and overlaps Cannubi Valletta. They redid the vineyard to organic practices. First wine where they used no rotofermenter. They used traditional punch down. Only 4 days of skin contact. They made 5 barrels (225L barriques) which is 125 cases of wine.

Luciano Sandrone's daughter Barbara Sandrone discussed Cannubi Boschis, the first vineyard land that her father bought.

Flight 2: Barolo and Castiglione Falletto
Carlotta Rinaldi of G. Rinaldi and Luca Roagna of Roagna:
Carlotta Rinaldi spoke about Brunate. She had a lot of information about their parcel there because her father and her grandfather kept diaries and made daily entries about the vineyards. They have 3 distinct plots, each with different soil types and microclimates. Still, they always pick their entire parcel in one day.

Luca Roagna explained that Pira is a monopole in Castiglione Falletto. They have almost 5 hectares planted to vines. There is one hectare where the young vines are from 1937 and the old vines (he believes) are from when they first grafted Nebbiolo onto American rootstock. A few are even ungrafted vines!

In general, they separate their grapes based on the age of the vines. Under 25 years of age, they declassify the wine to Langhe Rosso. 25-50 year old vine grapes go into the regular bottling. Over 50 year old vine grapes go into their "Vecchie Viti".

In response to my question about the change in name, Luca explained that Pira used to be known as "La Rocca e La Pira" but this did not fit the new MGA standards. He said they called it "La Rocca e La Pira" because at times in the past, it was called "La Rocca" and at times it was called "La Pira", so they combined the two. It was never a blend of 2 vineyards.

Flight 3: Monforte
Alessandro Fantino of A. e G.N. Fantino, Vittore Alessandria of Fratelli Alessandria,
Fabio Fantino of Conterno-Fantino, Gianluca Grasso of Elio Grasso.
Vittore Alessandria explained that both his father and his mother come from wine families. His mother's family is in Monforte. His father's family is in Verduno. Their parcel in the Gramolere vineyard comes from his mother's side of the family. He is the 5th generation winemaker in his family. He says that like some other vineyards in Monforte, there is a lot of wild mint growing in Gramolere which accounts for a typical "balsamic mint" quality in the wines.

Fabio Fantino first describes Monforte and makes a strong distinction between the vineyards on the west side of the ridge stretching north from the town of Monforte (e.g. Bussia, Gramolere) and those on the east side of this ridge (e.g. Le Coste, Monsconi, Ginestra, Castelletto). He then went on to describe Ginestra in detail. All their vineyards are certified organic. Their typical winemaking regimen is two weeks on the skins, two years in French oak barrels, and one year in bottle.

Gianluca Grasso said he is the 3rd generation in his family to make wine. He started in 1996. His father was the first to bottle their wine (in the 1970s). His father worked in a bank in Turin. Gianluca told a story about his father getting caught calling in sick to the bank in order to help his father with pruning. The next day he resigned from the bank and committed himself to making a living making wine.

Looking down my row: Greg Dal Piaz, Jonathan Doft, Henry Kahn, Todd Tucker, Jamie Wolff.

Flight 4: Serralunga
Franco Massolino of Massolino and Roberto Conterno of Giacomo Conterno:
Franco Massolino focussed on the character of Serralunga since all their vineyards are there. He is the 14th generation of his family to make wine. He pointed out that "Serralunga" means the long hill, which it is, running north-south. Then ridges run out to the west and east which support all the famous vineyards of the village. They now use only fermentation in cement vats and aging in large oak casks from Salvonia and Austria.

Roberto Conterno gave a lengthy and impassioned speech his history and how it is intertwined with those of others in the region, including others on the dais. He spoke in Italian with Antonio translating. He mentioned, for example, that when he looks at Gianluca Grasso of Elio Grasso, he sees Gianluca's father. He mentioned the somewhat hard features of Gianluca's face and his father's face. He described them as classic Langhe features. And it reminded him of all the hardworking men and women of the Langhe who had lived through such hard times and preserved their heritage. He ended with, "From this, I know who I am and where I come from. If you don't know who are, you have no future." Words to live by.

Flight 5: Ravera and Monvigliero
Luca Currado of Vietti, Giuseppe Vaira of G.D. Vajra, Fabio Alessandria of G.B. Burlotto:
Luca Currado spoke about Ravera, a very large vineyard with 4 different exposures and 3 different soil types. He thinks his parcel there is more similar to Cogno's Bricco Pernice than it is to Vajra's Ravera. [This makes sense since Vietti's parcel is just north of Bricco Pernice along the same ridge.] He then went on to discuss the effect of global warming. It benefits Ravera because it was cold in too many vintages in the past, because of the elevation and because it is in the western-most part of Barolo which gets the cold air from the Alps. Finally, inspired by Roberto Conterno's story and seeing Carlotta Rinaldi, Luca told the story of the day he and his father returned from purchasing their current plot in Ravera. They were very excited about this purchase, so when they ran into Beppe Rinaldi, they told him about it. His response was to tell them it is nice vineyard where he grew Dolcetto and Barbera.


This was a very informative tasting. 2012 is another very good vintage, at least judging by the top producers.

Notes posted from CellarTracker.

More People Pix

Looking around the room at the end of the tasting:

Two of the Italy experts on the Vinous team,
Ian D'Agata & Alessandro Masnaghetti:

More audience members. At the far end of the long table is Keith Edwards.
On the right is my empty chair.


Lunch was served, with the wines from the tasting, upstairs on the first floor where we had the Gala dinner. There were also two older wines that I tasted.

Looking around our lunch table:
Jonathan Doft, Jamie Wolff, Greg dal Piaz:
Clay McLachlan, Luca Roagna, Henry Kahn:
Henry Kahn, Todd Tucker:

Lobster Salad with Lemon Aioli & Soft Herbs

Bread & Butter. The butter is from the same cows that they get their cheese from.

Jon Doft brought a 1969 Vietti Barolo after he found out that Luca Currado was also a 1969 birth.

The other two men at our table get their pasta. On the left is Filippo Pistone,
the GM of Bacchanal Wine Imports. On the right is an enthusiastic young man
from Illinois currently doing graduate work in Biology in NYC, but I lost his name.

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe:

Pear Crostata with Fig Conserva & Toasted Walnut Gelato:


James Forsyth and the Vinous photographer/videographer Kyle Fisher set up
the bottles from the tasting to take a photo. Of course many of us seized the
opportunity to take photos of our own, including Luca Currado:

The Fine Wine Geek posing with Alessandro Fantino of
the Alessandro e Gian Natale Fantino winery, who have
been making wonderful wines in recent years.

Book Signing at Chelsea Wine Vault

After lunch, the Vinous gang had scheduled a book and map signing described on their website by
Join Antonio Galloni, Alessandro Masnaghetti and Ian D'Agata at Chelsea Wine Vault, in New York's Chelsea Market, on Saturday, February 4th at 3:00pm. Antonio and Alessandro will be on hand to sign Vinous' Napa Valley Vineyard Maps, Alessandro will sign his books Barolo MGA and Barbaresco MGA, and Ian will sign copies of his book, Native Wine Grapes of Italy.
Since I already owned these books, I went over mainly to see an old friend who works in the store.

Chelsea Market is across 10th Avenue from Del Posto.

It was quite a ways through the market which is full of interesting stores and eateries:

Finally arriving at Chelsea Wine Vault:

There I met up with my old friend Mark Ricca (right) and
my new friend Rob Fritz (left):




All original content © Ken Vastola