2006 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli, Barolo Riserva DOCG, Piedmont, Italy.
This wine is entering its prime and this Piedmonte vintage, which largely is overlooked at the moment with 2010 and current releases taking up most of the talk, is really an awesome year to be drinking, with top Barolo certainly leading the way with wines from Giacosa, La Spinetta, Vietti, Oddero and Borgogno, to name a few, all being excellent choices. This Borgogno Riserva really made an impression on me when I first tried it back in 2014 will its raw and rustic charm and serious structural power, it excited my palate with layers of chiseled density, showing macerated cherry, damson plum, strawberry and mulberry fruits that were admirably joined by leather, cedar, anise, mineral tones and a light truffle note. Even then it had a sense of secondary evolution and a beautiful maturity with touches of balsamic, fig and a sensation of autumn in the glass, though there was still plenty of acidity and dusty/grippy tannins, and like a classic Grand Cru Burgundy it benefits from food, time in the glass and is every changing, engaging the senses every moment. With the weather getting colder and cuisine getting more hearty, it is really a great time of year to explore Nebbiolo based wines and with the hope of a new year bringing something to cheer about, it is in particular a fabulous time for the magic of Barolo and Barbaresco. The Bogogno reds need to be (or should be) decanted to soften and these older 100% Nebbiolo based wines do have some sediment, so be careful when serving them not to cloudy up the wine.

The Borgogno Riserva Barolo comes from elite parcels of vines in top crus, including Borgogno’s best in Cannubi, Liste, San Pietro delle Viole and Fossati, set on classic calcareous (limestone) and clay/marl soils with perfect exposures, mostly to the South and Southeast to soak in the long days of Summer sunshine and deliver ripe and powerful grapes. The Borgogno Riserva was hand crafted with traditional methods, made from the best grapes from the mentioned, their most important Crus, Cannubi, Liste and Fossati and fermented with native yeasts. This spontaneous natural fermentation takes place in cement tanks at low temperatures that is followed by a long submerged cap maceration, which the winery says, can in some vintages like this one, reach 50 days before being raked off to oak casks. The aging for the Barolo Riserva happens exclusively in big Slavonian oak barrels for a massive six years, then this wine, like all Borgogno’s Riservas, was rested almost a year in bottle before being released from the cellar. This 2006, which will be tough to find at this point, gains finer details as it opens and its orange/brick edges and dried rose petal and subtle gamey bouquet remind you exactly what it is and it never hides from its terroir and old school winemaking, it performs as well as promised. In the past, I had been slightly put off by Borgono’s stiff and austere personality, but now I am thrilled by these wines and can’t wait to try the upcoming 2016 releases, especially their regular (basic) Barolo, which wonderfully over delivered in the 2014 and 2015 vintages! The 2006 came out to be a very refined 13.5% natural alcohol, versus the more usual 14 to 14.5% you will see normally in the region these days, making it a bit less overt and fitting it perfectly within the house style.
($100 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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