2004 Aldo Conterno "Romirasco" Barolo (Pre-Arrival, Elsewhere $130)

SKU #1043055 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 There is no need to taste the 2004 Barolo Romirasco, the nose alone is enough to understand that this is magnificent wine. Aromas of tar, roses, menthol, scorched earth and smoke lead to a core of dark red fruit than unfolds onto the palate with uncommon grace and elegance. As it sits in the glass the wine gradually puts on weight, filling out its considerably structured frame with notable class. The last Romirasco was made in 1993. This bottling has typically only been made in vintages where quality is not sufficient for the family to make their top of the line Riserva Granbussia, as was the case in 2004, when the Cicala vineyard was damaged by hail. Conterno told me is so happy with this wine he will probably bottle a small quantity going forward to see how it develops. It will be fascinating to taste future Romirascos next to the Granbussias of the same vintage to evaluate how a single-vineyard wine from what many consider to be one of Bussia’s greatest vineyards compares to the Granbussia blend. Conterno expects to price the Romirasco at the same level or slightly more than the Colonnello. If that turns out to be the case, this will be a superb relative value as well. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2024.  (12/ 2007)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright ruby-tinged red, a bit deeper than the Colonnello. Wilder, brooding, youthfully medicinal aromas of dark fruits, basil, licorice and spices. Tight on entry, then focused and firm in the middle, with less obvious sweetness to its berry flavors than the Colonnello. This boasts a very firm tannic spine and will need extending bottle aging. Incidentally, there was no Cicala or Gran Bussia in 04, due to hail.  (12/ 2007)

94 points Wine Enthusiast

 There’s more thickness and extraction here thanks to a sophisticated use of oak. You can taste the wood tones in the form of vanilla, tobacco and spice. Overall, this wine exhibits a bold, immediate style that is immensely seductive and tasty. Drink the wine after 2015 and pair it with important meat dishes.  (4/ 2009)

93 points Wine Spectator

 Plum, ripe berries and hints of chocolate. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and lots of ripe fruit, with spices and hints of raisin. The Conternos decided to make this single-vineyard wine because the crop of the Cicala vineyard was destroyed by hail in 2004. So you won't see Cicala or Granbussia Riserva in 2004. Just this and Colonnello. Best after 2011.  (6/ 2008)

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Price: $64.99

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Varietal:

Nebbiolo

- Tar and roses are the two descriptors most associated with this red grape grown, almost solely, in Italy's Piedmont, where it has achieved fame under the guises of the incredibly and age-worthy wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. Characterized by chewy tannins, high acidity, high-tone cherry and raspberry fruit and truffle aromas and flavors, Nebbiolo has rightfully earned its reputation. Sadly the late-ripening varietal is quite delicate and is prone to disease as well as damage by hail that frequently pelts the region. Outside of Barolo and Barbaresco, Nebbiolo is grown in the DOCs of Gattinara, Spanna and Ghemme. The Nebbiolos of the Nebbiolo d'Alba DOC in the southeastern part of Piedmont are generally lighter and more immediately approachable versions of the grape, aged for less time than Barolo and Barbaresco, which also makes them less expensive. Langhe Nebbiolos are generally made from declassified fruit from the aforementioned regions of Barolo, Barbaresco and Nebbiolo d'Alba.
Country:

Italy

- Once named Enotria for its abundant vineyards, Italy (thanks to the ancient Greeks and Romans) has had an enormous impact on the wine world. From the shores of Italy, the Romans brought grapes and their winemaking techniques to North Africa, Spain and Portugal, Germany, France, the Danube Valley, the Middle East and even England. Modern Italy, which didn't actually exist as a country until the 1870s, once produced mainly simple, everyday wine. It wasn't until the 1970s that Italy began the change toward quality. The 1980s showed incredible efforts and a lot of experimentation. The 1990s marked the real jump in consistent quality, including excellence in many Region that had been indistinct for ages. The entire Italian peninsula is seeing a winemaking revolution and is now one of the most exciting wine Region in the world. For our entire Italian wine selection, click here. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of Italy.
Sub-Region:

Piedmont

- Piedmont is in the Northwestern region of Italy, bordering France and Switzerland. Piedmont is predominantly a plain where the water flows from the Swiss and French Alps to form the headwaters of the Po river. The major wine producing areas are in the southern portion of the region in the hills known as the "Langhe". Here the people speak a dialect that is 1/3 French and 2/3 Italian that portrays their historical roots. Their cuisine is one of the most creative and interesting in Italy. Nebbiolo is the King grape here, producing Barolo and Barbaresco. In addition, the Barbera and Dolcetto are the workhorse grapes that produce the largest quantity of wine. Piedmont is predominantly a red wine producing area. There are a few whites made in Piedmont, and the Moscato grape produces a large volume of sweet, semi-sweet and sparkling wines as well.
Specific Appellation:

Barolo

- Made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes, these wines take their name from the village of Barolo. A maximum of 205,000 cases per year can be made from 3081 acres of land divided between 11 communes and more than 1200 growers. La Morra, Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Monforte and Serralunga are the most important communes and produce most of the exported wine. Barolo is a powerhouse wine in some communes but also more delicate in others (La Morra is the most delicate and Serralunga the most powerful). Recent technological and viticultural advances are remaking Barolo into a wine that is more consistent balanced. Producers here do not want to change the flavor or feel of their wines, only improve and eliminate poor winemaking technique. A wine of great perfume, body and size the classic nose of "tar and roses". Barolo is best served with roast meats the Piemontese classic would be "Stracotto del Barolo or pot roast cooked with a Barolo, game birds or powerful cheese.