Thursday, June 2, 2011

Roberto Voerzio Barolo Cerequio

For me, the Nebbiolo grape is the king of grapes. Good Barolo made from it combines the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon with the flavours of Pinot Noir - very exciting. The problem is, it is also the most thick skinned grape and this, combined with long maceration periods applied in Piedmont lead to very tannic wines, impossible to drink when young and a bit dull when matured.

Then along came the 1997 vintage. It was very warm in Piedmont and it produced generous wines with great fruit concentration. Young winemakers such as Roberto Voerzio reduced the maceration time and the result were wines which were internationally appealing while still maintaining their local specificity. This changed the world in Piedmont and great vintages which followed put Barolo firmly on the international map.

I happened to travel in Piedmont when the 1997 vintage was released and still have some bottles I brought back at home. The 1997 Roberto Voerzio Barolo Cerequio - a single vineyard wine, as most of them are - was one of the stars of the vintage. It is still a glorious wine.

The bouquet of a flower garden jumps out of the glass. It is followed by still fresh cherry and complex floral flavours. The wine has a big mouthfeel with a lot of depth and length. The great structure of this wine will allow it to last at least another ten years. The flavours lead to a piercing finish with dry, but not course tannins. The wine displays perfect balance, while perhaps not quite as elegant as yesterday's Cullen.

Score: 96/+++

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