Saturday, October 30, 2010

2000: Barolo Retrospective

With 2010 almost at a close, I thought it would be a great time to check in on the 2000 vintage of Barolo. 2000 was a year that was highly acclaimed by critics and still to this day by many producers in Piedmont. It was a ripe vintage (much like 1990) but with many producers gearing their wines toward the modern side of the winemaking spectrum, it turned out many wines that showed beautiful young but are now coming across as disjointed. In some recent tastings, Baroli from 2000 have shown rough tannins against rich fruit, making them jammy or overly dark. However, there are still many highly enjoyable wines from this vintage and most are showing beautifully right now. The best rule of thumb is to go with the producers you know and trust.

It’s also important to note that many of the tasting notes you find, from when these wines were first released, are no longer a good gauge to go by when buying. A wine that was rated 95 points by a critic because of the wow factor of the vintage seven years ago may now be a bottle that is showing the signs of age in an unbalanced wine. One of the main things I took from this tasting was that the traditionally minded producers still managed to make wines that tread toward vibrancy and finesse while some of the modern producers here play on the strengths of the vintage and, even though they made wines that weren’t very representative of Barolo, they are still highly enjoyable.

I would recommend buying any of the wines from the notes below for near-term consumption and the best part is that you can still find them on retail shelves. If you want Barolo that will drink well tonight with just a few hours in decanter, look no farther.

Lastly, before I move onto the notes, I would be remiss not to mention the absolutely amazing food provided by i Trulli, located at E 27th St. New York, New York. I’ve gone on record saying that this is my favorite Italian spot in NYC and this dinner reconfirmed that sentiment. It was truly amazing in everyway.

On to the notes:

Conterno Fantino, Barolo Vigna del Gris 2000 – The nose showed dusty black cherry and cinnamon with hints of herbs and a bit of tar. On the palate, I found round, sweet then sour strawberry, spice, and honey tones that turned a bit drying into the finish as a wall of tannin coated the palate. This is a wine that I’d love to check in on in another five years. (90 Points)

Domenico Clerico, Langhe Arte 2000 – While not technically a Barolo, consisting of 85% Nebbiolo with Barbera and Cabernet, this wine managed to surprise me with its balance and complexity. The nose showed black berries, green pepper, flower petals and licorice. On the palate, I found sour cherry, mulling spice and meaty broth on a smooth, velvety frame. This wine came across as ripe yet finessed, making it an enjoyable sipper. (89 points)

Paolo Scavino, Barolo Carobric 2000 - The nose of the Scavino Carobric was worth the price of admission as aromas of black olive, rich brooding dark fruits and meaty broth wafted up from the glass. However, on the palate this wine lost my affection as sweet, candied red fruits and a dusting of spice reminded me of a Cali fruit bomb. The finish was surprisingly fresh with lasting notes of cherry. (88 Points)

Rocche Dei Manzoni, Barolo, Vigna Cappella di S. Stefano 2000 – At first, the nose showed dusty potpourri with raspberry fruit and a hint of vanilla, but with a little time in the glass, aromas of broth and mushrooms came forward, which grounded the ripe fruit, making this wine highly enjoyable. The palate was smooth and very autumnal with sweet red fruit, allspice and cinnamon leading to a long sour candy finish. For a wine I was afraid would be too ripe, this bottle showed beautifully, and although it may not be my preferred style of Barolo, there was no doubting the quality in the glass. (90 Points)

Brovia, Barolo Rocche 2000 – The Brovia Rocche was rich yet vibrant on the nose with scents of fall leaves, dried flowers and ripe strawberry fruit. On the palate, I found a soft, sweet expression of dark berries carried by vibrant acidity across the tongue with molasses and herbs rounding out the medium-long finish. This was one of the bottles that kept me coming back for more once the tasting was done. (92 Points)

Roagna, Barbaresco Paje 2000 - The nose on the Roagna Paje showed a darker side of Nebbiolo as aromas of buttery pastry crust and dark fruits dominated with floral and herbal tones. On the palate, there was a finessed expression of red berries, tealeaves, and hints of dark, dark chocolate. With time in the glass, more meaty and mineral notes came forward. This was a gorgeous glass of Barbaresco that seemed to be missing a bit of focus on the palate but was still highly enjoyable. (90 Points)

Bartolo Mascarello, Barolo 2000 - The Bartolo Mascarello, even being from the ripe 2000 vintage, showed beautifully fragrant and classic notes of Nebbiolo. The nose was floral with minerals, tight red fruit and beefy reduction sauce. The palate was fresh and lively with red cherry, roses, tobacco and tealeaf. This was a medium-bodied wine that showed its beauty through finesse as opposed to power, and it finished with red fruits and light cherry tobacco. (93 points)

Notes from other 2000 Baroli from 2010:

Elio Grasso Barolo Ginestra “Vigna Casa Maté” 2000 - The nose showed black cherry, roses, leather and a bit of heat that was moderate enough to not get in the way. On the palate, I found cherry and currant on a medium bodied frame with silky tannins. This wine balanced between ripeness and elegance as the finish carried sour red fruit to the close and stayed on the palate for what seemed like a full minute. (90 points)

Giacomo Conterno, Barolo Cascina Francia 2000 - The nose was big and ripe with black cherries, earth and a bit of raw beef. The palate was soft and full-bodied with dark red fruits, red beets and minerals that all turned a little sweet on the mid palate and led to a slightly tannic finish. I certainly don’t see this lasting decades but it was enjoyable and a good candidate for drinking 5 years plus. (92 Points)

Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo Riserva Granbussia 2000 - The 2000 Aldo Conterno, Barolo Granbussia, showed candied red fruit with cedar, leather, crushed fall leaves and a seductive Christmas spice on the nose. On the palate, it was full-bodied and juicy with ripe strawberry, tobacco, licorice and spice. The finish was long, with red fruit, yet clean, showing silky tannin. This is an approachable bottle now, but it still shows a balance that promises many years of good drinking and, with all this ripe fruit, might one day be a truly classic Barolo. (96 Points)

Cavallotto, Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe 2000 - The nose was big and brooding with dark red licorice, rose petals, orange marmalade and a combination of things that I can best describe as sauerbraten sauce. On the palate, it was full bodied with vibrant acidity, showing sour raspberry fruit, rosemary, tar and clove. The finish was long with cranberry fruit and silky tannin. Gorgeous. (93 Points)


  1. The Rocche Dei Manzoni sounds awesome. I agree that 2000 is stating to drink good now. Thank you for the update. And really great notes!!!

  2. Great notes, and I'm sorry I missed this event. I think, in general, the 2000s are to be enjoyed over mid-term aging, while the more structured '99s and '01s from Piedmont develop further in the cellar. Interestingly, the Piedmont producers with whom I spoke all generally raised a curious eyebrow at Wine Spectator's perfect 100 point score for the vintage. Not that they thought the vintage was bad, just that they thought that Wine Spectator's accolade was somewhat too strong.

  3. Wonderful notes. I am hosting a dinner party tonight and opening a few 2000 Barolos. Thanks for the confidence that I have timed this dinner correctly.

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