Saturday, April 27, 2013

2000 Barolo & Barbaresco Revisited

By: Eric Guido

So we all love to talk about how wrong the critics were with the 2000 vintage of Barolo and Barbaresco. Such a highly touted vintage that drank so well on release, yet that seemed to be all that it was. Now, with 13 years of age on these bottles, we take a glimpse into what they have matured into, and although I wouldn’t recommend aging these in your cellar, most of them are drinking beautifully.

However, to add insult to injury, we decided to add another twist to this tasting by stacking the deck with a number of "modern-style" Baroli. Modern-styled (or Internationally-styled) Barolo has become something of a bad word in Piedmont, with scores of producers now moving away from small French barrels and adding their own large Slovenian casks to their cellars for aging. There was a time when extremely low yields, roto-fermentors and small oak barrels were the mark of a modern producer. Cellars turned from dank caves into marvels of modern technology. The idea was to make a Barolo that was more approachable, younger-drinking and more acceptable to the international palate. The fact is that over the years the terms modern and traditional have become quite blurred. As even the traditionalists realized that there was nothing wrong with clean wine-making and lower yields, some even opting for roto-fermentation, yet sticking to aging in large barrel.

However, back during the 2000 vintage, modern-styled winemaking was still in its heyday. My fear was that the combination of the ripe vintage, higher concentrations and the use of new oak, would result in muddled, over-ripe, over-extracted and completely undrinkable wines; and for the most part, I was wrong. What this proves, for one thing, is that winemaking has more to do with the producer than the vintage. And another important point is that the quality of the fruit can outlast and outshine some of the most aggressive winemaking.

In the end, I wouldn't be buying these wines to put away in the cellar today. Most of them are drinking great now, and the few that need more time only need a few more years to come together. These can provide a lot of enjoyment at this time, and if you see some of the top bottles for a good price, buy them. You won't be disappointed.

On to the Wines:

2000 Michele Chiarlo Barbaresco Asili – The nose was classic and slightly rustic with aromas of cherry, forest floor, earth tones and hints of green stems. On the palate, it was amazingly soft and feminine with red fruits, inner floral notes, and a mineral core. The finish showed drying tannin and red fruits, begging for a few more years in the cellar. (89 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

2000 Elio Altare Barolo La Morra – The nose showed lush red fruits, red licorice, dried flowers, intense spice and herbs. On the palate it was soft and enveloping, coating the senses in concentrated red fruits with brisk acidity to keep it fresh, showing ripe cherry and earthy soil tones. It dried out slightly on the finish with notes of dark chocolate and tart cherry. (90 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

2000 Paolo Scavino Barolo Riserva Rocche dell'Annunziata – The nose was dark, and brooding with black cherry, cinnamon, spiced oak, saw dust, moist undergrowth and herbs. On the palate, it showed a smooth sheen of oak with tart red fruits, dark chocolate, cedar and wood tannin, which dried the palate. On the palate, a wave of refreshing acidity made the mouth water, leaving only a gentle tug of tannins at the cheek. (90 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

2000 Vietti Barolo Lazzarito – The nose was classic with dusty cherry, tobacco, minty herbs, minerals and savory, seared meat. On the palate, it was juicy throughout with notes of strawberry, herbs, a smooth hint of oak and a truly Burgundian feel. The finish turned tart, yet stayed juicy with lingering red fruits and cedar. (92 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

2000 Andrea Oberto Barolo Vigneto Rocche – The nose was expressive, rich, yet classic with roses, tart cherry, animal musk, tobacco and hints of spice. On the palate, it was unbelievably silky, yet turned grippy, with red fruits, cedar and a core of minerals driven by fresh acidity. The finish showed its youthful side with hints of drying tannin, saturating red fruits and tobacco clinging to the senses. (93 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

2000 Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Vignolo – The nose was intense yet brooding with a mix of red fruit, perfumed floral notes, soil and undergrowth; it was like smelling a bouquet of fresh cut roses, stems and all. On the palate, it was rich yet juicy with black cherry fruit, inner floral tones and herbs. The finish lingered on and on with dark, saturating red fruits. (94 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

2000 Elio Grasso Barolo Riserva Rüncot – The nose was beautifully expressive, revealing layer upon layer of its enticing bouquet as it sat in the glass. Notes of black cherry, brown sugar and sweet spice gave way to a dark yet explosive array of mint, ripe strawberry, and sweet, spicy floral tones. On the palate, it was focused, balanced and still youthful, showing sweet ‘n sour cherry, herbs and minerals, which filled the senses. The finish was slightly tart, showing balanced structure and hints of tannin. I can see this wine getting even better with a few years’ time. Beautiful. (95 points) Find it on Wine-Searcher!

For a deeper look at the 2000 vintage Baroli, check out "2000: Barolo Retrospective" from October 2010.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Nice wine as well you discovering of its bouquet, indeed! Thanks a lot for introducing ;) Thanks!
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