Tasting Notes contains just that notes on wines I have tasted!

Saturday, June 19, 2004


This is the third in a series of wine tastings being held on a monthly basis at Vintage Wines, San Diego, California. The event was billed as:

June 17th, 6:30-8:00PM
"I am sure you have read about the 1999 Brunellos and the 2000 Barolos, so here is your chance to taste 4 of each! We will explore the varietals, regions, history and the future of these famed regions. Which do you like better Sangiovese Grosso or Nebbiolo? Come in and find out for yourself, or if you plan to purchase or have purchased them, this is your chance to taste ours and keep yours for later."

The Barolos were supposed to be 2000 which has been reported by Wine Spectator as a 100 point vintage. In the end we only got to taste 2 wines from that vintage. A bigger concern was the woman who sat next to me reeking of perfume. Fortunately as chairs filled up and then her group arrived she moved to another table. Only to be replaced by a guy who must have bathed in aftershave! The surprise was that he actually knew something about Italian wine, but apparently not a lot about wine tasting etiquette.

The wines were poured about two hours before we arrived and were tasted blind, individual favorites voted for, and then the identities were revealed. The wines are listed in the order of tasting.

Casanuova della Cerbaie Brunello di Montalcino 1999 ($51.99US)
Cherry red with a pink edge. Dusty oak, cedar and sweet caramel flavors. Well balanced with good mouthfeel. Clean acid and nice unobtrusive tannins. Flavors carry through on retronasal.

Caprili Brunello di Montalcino 1999 ($44.99)
Cherry red with pink edge. Oak and a slight barnyard which developed into motor oil and dried tea leaves. This wine was very astringent but with good mouthfeel and a clean acid finish. A little bit out of balance. Flavors carried through on retronasal. (My pick of the Brunellos, ahead of the Banfi.)

Ciacci Piccolomini Brunello di Montalcino 1999 ($54.99US)
Cherry red with a pink edge and just a suggestion of browning. Wet newspaper (corked) and licorice. The wine was thin and acidic with a sharp finish. Among the group sitting near me there was a consensus that the wine was corked. I presented my glass to the person running the tasting but he wasnÂ’t sure. So we all sampled a glass from an unoccupied seat at our table and the wine smelled fine, actually very nice! It was all supposed to have been from the same bottle. One person voted for this wine as their favorite, hopefully they got good wine!

Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino 1999 ($56.99US)
Dark cherry with a red edge. Darkest color of the Brunellos. Blackberry and licorice. Developed jammy, port-like flavors. Big mouth drying tannins with nice clean acid finish that turned a little bitter at the end.

Elio Grasso Barolo Ginestra Vigna Casa Mate 1999 ($49.99US)
Cherry red with a pinkish to light brown edge. Dusty oak and dried meats. Developed ethyl acetate. Soft entry with big tannins and clean acid finish. Flavors carried through on retronasal.

Elio Altare Barolo La Morra 2000 ($64.99US)
Cherry red with a pink/brown edge. Prominent licorice but also quite vinous. Developed ethyl acetate. Lighter, softer entry than the other wines, then big drying tannins followed by a clean acid finish.

Seghesio Barolo 2000 ($39.99US)
Cherry red with a light brown edge. Some oak but otherwise quite closed. Slight hint of pure ethanol. This wine had well balanced acid and tannin and the flavors carried through on retronasal. This wine was the group favorite and others could smell quite a lot of fruit.

Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric Del Fiasc 1999 ($89.99US)
Cherry red with a light brown edge. Licorice and dried tea leaves. This wine had very good mouth feel and was very well balanced with good retronasal. Nice wine, and my favorite among all the wines.


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4:30 PM


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