Sig. Marchetti was showing 5 of his wines, each in two vintages. These represented his 3 red wine grape varieties: the Dolcetto and Barbera d'Alba and three Nebbiolo wines: the Nebbiolo Langhe and two single-vineyard Barolos from la Serra and Brunate. There was also a sneak preview of the 1996 Barolo Brunate which is bottled, but not yet released. After the tasting we had lunch and enjoyed 3 ravishing wines: the wonderfully creamy Moscato d'Asti (Marcarini's only white wine), the enthralling Dolcetto d'Alba "Boschi de Berri" which is made entirely from pre-phylloxera vines, and finally the truly magificent 1978 Barolo Brunate which Sig. Marchetti brought from his own cellars.
|Manuel is a colourful and urbane character. Born in Guatemala where his father - an executive with Cinzano - had been despatched from his native Italy to set up a winery, he travelled through his childhood and young adult life, living in Mexico, Texas and Spain amongst other areas. He returned to his native Piedmont in his mid-twenties and is justifiably proud of the technical innovations he has brought to the Marcarini estate. All of these are aimed at treating his grapes and making his wine as gently and naturally as possible. He is something of a traditionalist however: his Barolos are not aged in the controversial 225 litre oak barriques favoured by some producers, but in large (2 - 4,000 litre) oak casks. He has nothing against the vanillin flavours of new oak - which he uses to mature 70% of his Barbera - but feels it is not appropriate for his Nebbiolo wines. The results of his marriage of old and new techniques are medium-bodied wines of considerable finesse.|
Flight 1, DolcettoDolcetto d'Alba Fontanazza 1997
Flight 2, BarberaBarbera d'Alba Ciabot Camerano 1996
Flight 3, NebbioloNebbiolo Langhi Lasarin 1996
|Barolo Brunate 1996 - not yet released|
Extraordinarily ripe, creamy, fine black fruits on the nose. Serious, heady and powerful, it is aromatic with nuances of bitter dark chocolate and violets. The palate is dominated by drying tannins but there's such richness and ripeness of fruit that this already shows lovely balance. Needs several years, but very good indeed.
Barolo Brunate 1995|
Absolutely minty intensity of fruit on the nose. A real toffee richness, aromas of milky capuccino and caramel. On the palate the tannins shock the mouth drying and coating the palate, but again the balance of fruit and acidity is evident. Another lovely wine in the making. Barolo Brunate 1994
Much earthier, more animal nose with almost Burgundian undergrowth and truffle notes, then little glimpses of exotic spice and chocolate - even bacon-fat. The palate is again firmly gripped by tannins, and though there isn't quite the quality of fruit shown in the '95, it is beginning to provide savoury, balanced drinking.
Wines with lunch afterwardsMoscato d'Asti 1996
All Italian Astis tend to be tarred with the cheap and sweet image of much bulk wine, but fine examples do exist and this is perhaps the best I've tasted. It has a very pale golden colour and a beautiful nose of sherbet and peaches, a definite little almond note too. In the mouth it is beautifully sweet and dense, really creamy and mouth-filling with just a light sparkle on the tongue. There is plenty of lush, peachy fruit and fine apple acidity that freshens and lengthens the clean, pure finish. Terrific.
Dolcetto d'Alba "Boschi de Berri" 1995 - not available, but 1998 now being shipped|
Nose is ethereal and multi-faceted with nuances of woodsmoke, damp leaves, bark and cherries. Strikingly different from the regular Dolcetto. The palate is nicely concentrated with a silkiness about the texture and lovely raspberry fruit. Delicious and a real experience.
Barolo Brunate 1978 - not available for sale|
Still a very youthful ruby colour, paling to tawny at the rim. Lovely aged fragrance on the nose of old roses, minerals and herbs. Still good creamy red berry fruit in evidence. On the palate wonderfully resolved with a sweetness at its core, gently wrapped in fine tannins and still good acidity. The wine has a gloriously long finish, and is drinking perfectly. Excellent.