Sometimes serendipity comes serendipitously. Yesterday, unexpectedly, Barolo producer Davide Rosso of Giovanni Rosso stopped by to taste our staff on his wines. What a cool break to the always arduous preparation for our semi-annual inventory! I was introduced to the wines of Giovanni Rosso about two years ago through our partner The Sorting Table. I appreciate both their quality and approachability. So not to be long-winded, let’s get to the wines.
The first wine we tasted was the Barbera d’ Alba. This wine is a blend of two vineyards, one with old vines of 60 years of age, the other, 15 years. Giovanni explained that the old vines provide depth and structure and the young, acidity. The wine is fermented in concrete and finished in large French oak barrels of various ages. The result is a rich wine with bright red fruits, the tell-tale Barbera licorice and spice. With good acidity, the wine remains lively on the palette and would make a great match for hearty pastas and roasted meats.
The Nebbiolo Is a new wine from Giovanni Rosso. It was pleasant enough, full of bright fruit, good acidity, and subdued tannins. This Nebbiolo still follows a pseudo-traditional model, vinified in concrete and finished in large casks of varying ages. I would compare Rosso’s Nebbiolo to the Pelissero at about the same price point, though it is quite a bit softer.
And then, the Barolos- The first Barolo we tasted was Giovanni’s entry-level wine, the 2007 Serralunga d’ Alba. I have enjoyed this wine on a couple of occasions outside of this tasting, so I am familiar with the quality. The 2007 vintage in Barolo was warm, and produced wines that had weight and relatively ripe tannins. The 2007 Serralunga is a great introduction to Barolo at a reasonable price point because it is an approachable style with plenty of fruit, ripe tannins, and enough acidity to balance the wine.
The next wine was from the cru Ceretta, again from the 2007 vintage. This wine was classic Barolo, a lovely wine with an elegant nose of rose petals, and a hint of tarry licorice. A mineral component added complexity to the aroma. On the palette, the wine expressed an elegant tension with a perfect balance of tannin and acidity, the epitome of the fist in a velvet glove. The finish was nearly a minute!!
The 2007 Barolo Cerretta is a more typical wine for the vintage than La Serra, in part because the clay-rich soils here yield Barolos with intense, round fruit. The Cerretta impresses for its depth and sheer balance. Sweet dark cherries, menthol, minerals and spices wrap around the muscular finish. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2022. 93 Points
The final wine, was La Serra 2007. The La Serra was notably fatter than the Ceretta with more fruit, more alcohol and some helacious grip. While I personally enjoy some tannin, most would prefer this big boy with a hearty dish. A few years of cellaring would also be beneficial.
The 2007 Barolo La Serra presents beautifully articulated, bright red fruit, flowers, mint and spices. This is a gorgeous, pure Barolo endowed with significant focus and verve, both quite unusual for the year. There is just enough fruit to balance the wine’s wiry, structured, personality. This is another strong effort from Davide Rosso. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2022. 93 Points Antonio Gallioni
The good news here is that while you’re waiting for the 2007 to come around, we have a library release of the La Serra from 2004. While I have not tasted the 2004, all indications are that it is a wine with an early development trajectory and should be drinking very well at the moment. Antonio Gallioni scored it 92 Points. His Review is below:
The 2004 Barolo La Serra reveals a feminine expression of Nebbiolo in its raspberries, red cherries, spices and menthol, with firm, sinewy tannins that give the wine impressive focus and length. This mid-weight Barolo is a terrific effort from Davide Rosso. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2019.
This tasting was a confirmation of my previous experiences with the Giovanni Rosso wines. They are consistent, well-made offerings with a foothold that straddles modern and traditional Barolo. The Barbera is rich without being overdone. The Barolos are solid from the bottom up, with Cerretta (my personal favorite) showing feminine elegance and amazing length; and La Serra, showing power and tannin that will need a few years to develop. I can’t wait for the cool weather to usher my desire for hearty cuisine so I will have the perfect occasion to plan a meal around one of these fine wines.