An astonishing five years had passed since our first Barolo Battle, which is far too long a period to go without an organized tasting of such great wines. Our results this time confirmed the greatness of this appellation, with all the entries being well-made and interesting.
Every taster gave Josephine's bottle their #1 vote, a wine with superb balance, delicious flavors and elegance. Andy's second place bottle was from a classic producer, receiving an admirable four second-place votes.
Price seemed to matter in this gathering, with a definite relationship between price and number of points, something that doesn't happen regularly in these tastings.
First Place: Marziano Abbona Barolo Terlo Ravera 2006. Tasters were immediately enamored with this wine, with comments such as, "I want to splash this on my face" (Andy), "smells gorgeous" (David), and "Oh my god, take me to bed" (Josephine). Andy felt that it "makes you want to get on a horse and ride around". Scents of cloves, nutmeg, laundry detergent, pine, eucalyptus, caramel, and butter. Really well-balanced, with no disconnect with the nose. Refreshing, seductive, and exuberant all at once, with notes of tea, celery, and melted caramel. Really beautiful. Josephine exclaimed that "whatever this is, I want a case of it". Very consistent through the night. Received 30 points. Josephine's bottle. About $85.
Second Place: Pio Cesare Barolo 2008. A little darker in color, a deep ruby. Tasters found complex scents of toast, burnt sugar, caramel, cream, white chocolate, cigar, turmeric, and vanilla. Josephine described it as "more friendly", while Suzanne was "picturing sheets blowing in the wind". Flavors reminiscent of blackberry, bing cherry, and cream. Offers much more on the palate with air. Had a metallic finish where Kristin noticed "bamboo shoots". Most improved. Received 12 points. Andy's bottle. About $65.
Third Place: Fratelli Alessandria Barolo Monvigliero 2008. Looks slightly more brown. Closed initially, but then opens up to reveal notions of vermouth, cinnamon, black licorice, tar, dark tobacco, violets, burnt sugar, and incense smoke. Intriguing, and really grows with aeration. A little medicinal, with a meaty character, plus cranberries. Received 9 points. Kristin's bottle. About $65.
Marcarini Barolo Brunate 2010. Unfiltered, and a bit lighter in color. Funky nose, featuring mold, Comet cleanser, damp basement, under-ripe cherry, sour candy, wet stone, latex, and a bit of skunk. Suzanne described it as "not terribly inviting". Burnt sugar, granny smith apples, Chinese black tea, flowers, smoke, and cranberry notes in the mouth. Received 6 points. David's bottle. About $60.
Piazzo Barolo 2010. A bit more brown in color, with scents of cedar, soap, minerals, spearmint, and pebbles. Smooth in texture, bright, and not as tannic. Josephine noted that it "whooshes into my sinuses". Enjoyable, but not interesting. Received 3 points. Suzanne's bottle. About $43.