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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
5 Nov 2013
 

Last Sunday night 120 of us convened for the sell-out Barolo Night we offered in early September at Caravan Kings Cross, where we enjoyed a truly exceptional collection of 48 Baroli (see full list below). Indeed, Federico Scarzello (pictured below with post-harvest beard), the head of the Enoteca Regionale del Barolo that kindly shipped over the wines (donated to me as part of being their principal guest at the launch of the 2009 vintage), pointed out that it was so unusual to have the chance to taste all of these wines together that even he was taking full advantage of the opportunity.

Barolo_Night_011_Web


We were fortunate in having our Italian specialist Walter Speller, with Federico's help, handpick the crus and producers he felt were most representative of the communes on show, arranged from lighter to heavier (left to right above) in terms of weight of the wines and intensity of tannins. We are deeplyBarolo_Night_131_Web indebted to the producers who so kindly donated the wines.

Our aim with this evening was not to make money (we charged only £75 a head, to cover room hire, glass and equipment hire, copious food, going-home bags and tasting catalogue). Our principal aim was to give Purple Pagers a chance to meet each other and to explore the truly great wines of this beautiful part of the world, wines that have long been under-appreciated in the UK - particularly in comparison with how they are appreciated in the US, and how well-known the fine wines of France are in the UK.

Barolo_Night_088_WebRichard Hemming, pictured left and on the left with Walter, took charge of the details of the organisation and delivered a magnificently hitch-free evening. I am told there was many a hitch behind the scenes, especially when it came to getting all the bottles safely from each individual property to the Enoteca in the village of Barolo (a great place to sample up to 40 different wines available each day) to Kings Cross via UK customs and Sensible Wine Services' warehouse in Kent. But, mercifully, he and Walter spared me the detail.

We had impeccable tasting sheets for our 36 Barolo 2009s, and 12Barolo_Night_026_Web additional older vintages back to 1989 to demonstrate what happens when Barolo ages. We had Federico's rigorously made sparkling pink Erpacrife Spumante Nebbiolo 2008 (seen here with ex-sommelier Walter) while waiting for everyone to arrive. We had masses of delicious San Daniele prosciutto, cheese, wood-fired pizze, zucchini fritti with aioli and lamb cutlets with lemon and garlic to keep the wolf from the door. But perhaps best of all, in addition to wines that demonstrated the variety, intricacy and delicacy of Barolo so eloquently, Walter insisted on Riedel red burgundy glasses, which demonstrated the haunting aromas of fine Barolo quite beautifully.

Barolo_Night_084_WebIn my prosaic way I had been worried that the attrition rate of these large, delicate glasses would be fiendish but, to my amazement, we found at the end of the evening that not a single one had been broken.

Our guests, all of whom seemed to arrive in very good time and leave politely according to our timetable of 6.30-9 pm, were extremely well-behaved and many of them were clearly already extremely knowledgeable. That said, I know we also made many converts to the beauty of Barolo.

There were calls for 'Next time, Barbaresco' and 'Next time, Chianti Classico'. No one suggested 'Next time, Bordeaux', funnily enough. Though one seasoned wine educator shook his head in amazement. 'This is definitely the way to go', he said. 'So much better than the tutored tasting.'

At least I think that's what he said. Below right are members of the JancisRobinson.com team, top to bottom, Julia, Rachel, Tam and me. Alex somehow managed to evade Richard's camera, so ably mastered by professional photographer Lee 'Mr Rachel' Shaughnessy. Below us are assorted scenes of people taking maximum advantage of all these glorious wines on one long table.

Walter's notes on virtually all of the 2009s are already in our tasting notes database (see Barolo 2009 overview and 200+ reviews). I'll try to add my notes on the older vintages when I have time to unscramble my scribbles. There were too many people for my usual laptop-and-sixpack ploy - I'm delighted to say.

WINES AVAILABLE

Theses are listed by commune below. There were, probably inevitably, one or two late changes but these were the wines that arrived. Nothing ran out.

APERITIVOBarolo_Night_090_Web

Erpacrife, Spumate Nebbiolo 2008 Italy

VERDUNO

Fratelli Alessandria, Monvigliero 2009 Barolo

BAROLO

Sandrone, Cannubi 2009 Barolo

Serio e Battista Borgogno 2009 Barolo

Damilano, Cannubi 2009 Barolo

Chiara Boschis, Via Nuova 2009 BaroloBarolo_Night_065_Web

Giorgio Scarzello e Figli, Sarmassa 2009 Barolo

Brezza, Sarmassa 2009 Barolo

G D Vajra, Bricco dell Viole 2009 Barolo

Barale, Castellero 2009 Barolo

NOVELLO

Elvio Cogno, Ravera 2009 Barolo

LA MORRA

Aurelio Settimo, Rocche dell'Annunziata 2009 Barolo

Mauro Veglio, Rocche dell'Annunziata 2009 Barolo

Elio Altare, Arborina 2009 BaroloBarolo_Night_020_Web

Michele Chiarlo, Cerequio 2009 Barolo

Marcarini, Brunate 2009 Barolo

Francesco Rinaldi e Figli, Brunate 2009 Barolo

MONFORTE D'ALBA

Aldo Conterno, Bussia 2009 Barolo

Colla, Bussia 2009 Barolo

Giacomo Fenocchio, Bussia 2009 BaroloBarolo_Night_045_Web

Conterno Fantino, Ginestra 2009 Barolo

Paolo Conterno, Ginestra 2009 Barolo

Domenico Clerico, Cianot Mentin 2009 Barolo

Elio Grasso, Ginestra 2009 Barolo

Parusso, Bussia 2009 Barolo

Giovanni Manzone, Catelletto 2009 Barolo

Josetta Saffirio, Castelletto 2009 Barolo

CASTIGLIONE FALLETTO

Oddero, Villera 2009 Barolo

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Brovia, Villero 209 Barolo

Vietti, Rocche 2009 Barolo

Paolo Scavino, Bric del Fiasc 2009 Barolo

Cavallotto, Bricco Boschis 2009 Barolo

SERRALUNGA D'ALBA

Guido Porro, Vigna Lazzairasco 2009 Barolo

Ettore Germano, Cerretta 2009 Barolo

Giovanni Rosso, Ceretta 2009 BaroloBarolo_Night_049_Web

Mauro Sebaste, Prapò 2009 Barolo

Ceretto, Prapò 2009 Barolo

OLDER VINTAGES

Paolo Scavino, Bric del Fiasc 2005 Barolo

Cordero di Montezemolo, Bricco Gattera 2005 Barolo

Damilano, Cannubi 2003 Barolo

Luigi Einaudi, Cannubi 2004 BaroloBarolo_Night_046_Web

Gianni Gagliardo, Serre 2004 Barolo

Michele Chiarlo, Cerequio 2004 Barolo

Vietti, Lazzarito 2004 Barolo

Pio Cesare 2004 Barolo

Franco M Martinetti, Marasco 2003 Barolo

Luciano Sandrone, Cannubi Boschis 2003 Barolo

Azelia, Bricco Fiasco 2001 Barolo

Prunotto 1989 Barolo

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To the next time!