We had 6 Italian wines at Christmas at my brother's crib in CT, and 6 non Italians I will TN on the regular page. There were appetizers, cheeses, turkey and prime rib.
In the order in which we cracked them:
1. 1971 Cavalotto, Barolo Riserva Speciale, "Vigna Bricco Boschis". 13.8 % alcohol. A map of the Boschis vineyard appears on the back label. Held in his cellar since about 1984 or so (my guess). Decanted. The color is a healthy and intriguing orange, with little to no red left in it, but no browning either. Translucent. The nose seems off to me, I get no fruit, but others liked it. On the palate however, it is still very much alive, with orange/tangerine fruit, some spice, no tannins but good acidity. Had this with some cheeses, and the wine was quickly drained by both Barolo lovers and others.
At 45, past it's peak but like John Wayne at 65, still has it going on, at least on the palate. Grade: B+ for now, at peak was probably an A. A testament to Cavalotto, the great 1971 vintage, and the Boschis vineyard.
2. 1978 Prunotto, Barolo Riserva, "Bussia di Monforte d'Alba". 13.5% alcohol. Astonishingly, this was a wine I purchased for my brother back in either late 1984 or early 1985, after graduating from Wharton and getting my first paychecks from Dupont.
I went up to Forest Hills, Queens, to the Gold Star Liquor Store, which was THE enoteca in it's day for Italian wine in the US, and bought several cases of mixed 78 Barolo and Barbaresco from the best producers, including this wine and their "Cannubi" and Barbaresco "Montestefano". I split it up with my brother, and amazingly, he still had this bottle in the cellar.
The color is still a dark red, much darker than the Cavalotto. A very fragrant nose of tobacco and spice, faded cherry fruit, and some red licorice. Still fruity on the palate, with slight tannin, good acidity, and nice finish. The wine at 38 years old is no doubt past peak at this point, like the 71, but again, is still holding up impressively. This too was drained. I remember the other bottles of these Prunotto 78's being fabulous when consumed many years ago, including the Prunotto dinner I had at my sister's when Chris James came to visit back about 2004 or so. Hats off to the old Prunotto wines and Mr. Colla, the winemaker during their glory days. Grade: B+ now, easy A back in the day.
3. 1998 Giuseppe Quintarelli, Amarone Classico, 16.5 % alcohol. What can I say? This was perfect Amarone from the King of Amarone in my opinion. Focused like a laser, with that amazing amarena cherry, spice and earth combination, very full but perfectly balanced with acidity (little if any tannin), intense flavor, very long finish, the wine is beautiful now but there is no rush to drink it now. At age 18, it has many good years ahead of it. Astonishing wine. Grade: A+.
4. 1990 Zenato, Amarone Classico, "Sergio Zenato" Signature series. 14.5% alcohol. This one came from my nephew. I had given him and his wife a 6 pack of mixed vintages of this wine from Zenato, considered their top of the line. There were two bottles of 1988, two of 1990, and two of 1993. The 1988's and 1990's are now consumed, and they always waited for Uncle Dave to be there when opening them.
This was the best bottle so far, just gorgeous, in perfect condition, dark red color, huge nose of bitter cherries, spice, blackberry like fruit, very full, well balanced, no tannin, good acidity, long finish, perhaps a bit lusher and broader than the Quintarelli. Wow, a great job by Zenato. Grade: easy A.
5. 2012 Tedeschi, Amarone Classico. This and the Allegrini were Xmas gifts to my brother and his wife. I liked this one, but have to admit at this point don't remember much about it other than it seemed to have good potential. Too much Q and Z. I have always liked Tedeschi, and consider their cru "Monte Olmi" to be a favorite of mine. Grade: B+ for now (?).
6. 2012 Allegrini Amarone Classico. Never got to taste it, but my brother in law John says it was good.
There were six other wines which I will post on the regular page. 2013 Ramey Chard "Platt Vineyard", Bollinger RD (13 years in the bottle), 2014 Clos Erasmus Priorat "Laurel", 2001 Ch. DY'Quem Sauternes, 2012 Guigal Condrieu "La Doriane" and the most astonishing wine of all (of the non Italians), a 1976 Zeltinger Himmelreich TbA from the Zentralkellerei, Mosel Saar Ruwer, 375 ml.
Happy New Year to all.