Barolo 2008

Not the eas­i­est of vin­tages, 2008 pro­duced wines that were gen­er­ally un­giv­ing early on. But time and pa­tience were the key, as Stephen Brook re­ports

Decanter - - CONTENTS -

63 wines tasted With five Out­stand­ing bot­tles in the line-up, this vin­tage is now show­ing its great po­ten­tial

If the puB­lIc per­cep­tion of the 2008 vin­tage in Barolo is some­what blurred, that is prob­a­bly be­cause the pro­duc­ers’ own ex­pe­ri­ence of the vin­tage is in­con­sis­tent. lo­cal mi­cro­cli­mates and the range of ex­po­sures and el­e­va­tions mean that grow­ers can en­counter con­sid­er­able vari­a­tions. In a cli­mat­i­cally uni­form and ac­claimed vin­tage, or con­versely in a rainy, rot-in­fused vin­tage, all grow­ers will have lived through much the same con­di­tions, but that is the ex­cep­tion rather than the rule.

In 2008 the spring was cool and wet, and out­breaks of mildew and oid­ium, al­though treat­able, did re­sult in crop re­duc­tions. Au­gust was char­ac­terised by both wind and hail (again lo­calised), but con­di­tions im­proved in Septem­ber. Nonethe­less some in­di­vid­ual vine­yards had been dam­aged by ad­verse weather and needed to be har­vested with care. One char­ac­ter­is­tic shared by most wines was that the tan­nins were firm and the wines would need time to ma­ture. there were un­doubt­edly prob­lems with other va­ri­eties such as Bar­bera in 2008, but Neb­bi­olo coped bet­ter.

slow starters

Over­all, 2008 was a cooler year, so over­ripeness and high al­co­hol were not ma­jor is­sues. how­ever, the pro­nounced tan­nins made the wines dif­fi­cult to ap­pre­ci­ate and as­sess when young: an oc­ca­sional herba­ceous­ness and rigid­ity, while char­ac­ter­is­tic of Barolo in such a year, could give the im­pres­sion of aus­ter­ity. the wines are now re­veal­ing their full po­ten­tial, and many of them will of­fer good value com­pared to more ac­claimed vin­tages such as 2009 and 2010.

en­rico Rivetto in Ser­ralunga was not that happy with the vin­tage, but other grow­ers such as lu­ciano San­drone and pio Boffa were more en­thu­si­as­tic, de­scrib­ing it as clas­sic and pure. Some find a re­sem­blance to 1998, oth­ers to 1978. Some con­sider it rel­a­tively ac­ces­si­ble, oth­ers, such as pietro Ratti, as more acidic but also more pro­found. As for com­munes, la Morra seemed to have fared best, fol­lowed by Barolo it­self.

Such as­sess­ments were made when the wines were young, and one would ex­pect a decade to have smoothed out any rough edges. Diverg­ing as­sess­ments may also re­flect the suc­cess of each es­tate. A hand­ful de­cided not to pro­duce any sin­gle-vine­yard (cru) wines, though these were in the mi­nor­ity. One con­sis­tent thread in ap­pre­ci­a­tions of the vin­tage is that tan­nin lev­els were high, and the man­age­ment of those tan­nins proved cru­cial in the abil­ity of each wine to evolve. this is the right mo­ment to see how they are de­vel­op­ing, al­though the best will surely have a long life ahead of them. Stephen Brook is the DWWA Re­gional Chair for Pied­mont, and a De­can­ter con­tribut­ing editor

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.