The 1997 vintage in Piedmont was a watershed. It was hot, and the wines were big and rich. This appealed to the US market. A major publication gave this vintage 100 points - the first time this happened anywhere in the world. And Robert Voerzio was the poster child.
The 1997 Robert Voerzio Brunate Barolo was also rated at 100 points. I happened to be in the region when this wine was released, and I managed to acquire a couple of bottles of this legendary wine.
Robert Voerzio is classified as a 'modernist', because he uses relatively short maceration periods (10 to 15 days) and French barriques for maturation. Equally important, his yields are ultra low, 750 grams of fruit per vine, half of other leading producers.
On opening the wine, intense aromas of blackberry fruit, like high quality jam, rise from the bottle. On the palate, it is immediately clear this is an unusual wine, for Barolo, and in general. The wine is full-bodied, ripe and quite dense. Blackberry and raspberry fruit fill the mouth. On day two, more earthy and mushroom characteristics start to be prominent.
This wine is complex, but not typical of the La Morra subregion (known for its floral flavours), or even any Barolo. It is powerful, and the tannins of the oak seem to battle with the fruit tannins, giving the wine a firm and long, but not very distinctive finish. There is a little heat from the alcohol as well.
So in summary, this is a meticulously made wine, in a ripe, international style. The colour in the glass identifies it as a wine from the Nebbiolo grape, but the taste almost negates it.