About two months ago, I visited an event where most of the range from the Swedish importer group Vingruppen (yes, it simply means “The wine group”) was available for tasting. A few producers were also represented, including wine maker Andrea Farinetti from Borgogno, a Piemonte producer mostly known for their Barolo wines. Andrea showed large parts of their range, including a few older vintages of Barolo.
Borgogno is a producer with a history going back to 1761. The wines Borgogno are commonly seen in tastings of older Baroli and are some of the more common older Piemontese wines in auctions. This is partly because the producer has been around for quite a while and has produced wines in a style adapted to extended cellaring, but also because they have a habit to save away rather large amounts of each vintage in their cellar.
If I should make an attempt at characterising their current wine style, I’d say “modernised traditional” or something similar. The wines have apparently become more polished and elegant – and also better – in recent years. So we are talking about a producer that never jumped on to the “modernist” bandwaggon (typically new oak, small oak barrels, a lot of extraction, darker colour, and accessibility when young), but one that has improved in the current era when many modernists and traditionalists have started to come closer. In recent vintages, they have also introduced some new wines into their range, so they are also somewhat experimental within the range of the “tradtional style”.
These were some of the very last wines I tasted in the afternoon. So not just do the regular reservations about tasting notes from “exhbition/fair-style tastings” apply, but my poor palate had been put to significant work before being exposed to these wines. The exact scores could therefore have a larger error margin than usual, but the scores do still reflect my relative ranking of these wines. Also, I feel more confident about the stylistic judgments than I do about the individual scores.
2010 Langhe Rosso 2010
Grape varieties: Barbera, Merlot, Freisa, and Dolcetto.
Nose with red berries, slightly flowery. Palate with sweet berries, rather good acidity. Accessible and easy-drinking for a young Piemontese wine, pleasant and uncomplicated. 86 p. A new addition to their range, by the way.
2012 Langhe Nebbiolo
Nose with ripe red berries, some animal notes, slightly flowery. Palate with good concentration, ripe red currants, and tough tannins. Young, 88(+) p
2011 Barbera d’Alba Superiore
Nose with light cherries and spice notes. Palate with sweet red berries, good acidity, and some tannins. 87 p
2010 Borgogno No Name
Light red colour. Aromatic and elegant nose with some resin and pine-tree needles, slightly flowery and with mild spices. Elegant palate with red berries, rather good concentration, good acidity and rather noticeable tannins. Rather accessible, could develop, 89(+) p.
“No Name” is a Barolo that has been cellared shorter than usual and is sold de-classified. Other than that with the same grape material and the same treatment as their regular Barolo, as I understand it. The origin of this wine was apparently the 2005 vintage of their regular Barolo, that for some reason was refused the Barolo DOCG designation. Instead, it was sold as a Langhe Nebbiolo with the text “No Name” and the addition “Etichetta di protesta” in the corner. Borgogno has continued to sell part of its Barolo in a younger form under this designation (and therefore not as a Barolo) as a protest against the Italian wine bureacracy.
A blend of three different Barolo crus: Cannubi, Liste, and Fossati.
Perfumed and elegant nose with ripe red berries, some roses, rose petals, and violets. Palate with good concentration, ripe red berries with rather firm tannins and good acidity. Young, but with some accessibility now as well, 90(+) p.
More flowery and more perfumed than the 2010 “No Name”.
2008 Barolo Liste
Flowery and elegant nose with ripe red berries, some dried berries, and some violets. Palate with powerful concentration, sweet red berries, good acidity, and well-integrated tannins. 90-91(+) p
More powerful nose than the regular 2008 Barolo, but actually less tannic palate.
2008 Barolo Cannubi
Nose with ripe red berries and some dark berries, some violets and some liquorice notes. Powerful palate, stony minerality, dark cherries, and rather noticeable tannins. Young and tough, 91+ p.
More powerful nose than the 2008 Barolo Liste, and considerably more tannin-dominated. Without doubt the toughest of these three 2008s.
2006 Barolo Riserva
Nose with ripe cherries, some candied berries, slightly developed notes, some rose petals, slightly flowery. Palate with good concentration, dried berries, cranberries, hints of dried berries, good concentration, rather tough tannins that still are somewhat embedded in the fruit. Young, but should preferably be allowed to develop more, 91 p.
1998 Barolo Riserva
I’m not entirely sure that this bottle was 100% correct, but my note was like this:
Nose with ripe red berries, a hint of solvent notes, slightly stony, some dried berries, and slighlt flowery. Palate with red berries, spice notes, and rather tough tannins. Doesn’t “sing” quite like the rest, 89 p?
1996 Barolo Riserva
Nose with dried red berries, some roses and perfume. Palate with red berries, dried red berries, gravelly mineral notes, and rather noticeable tannins. Developed, but from a vintage with a structure for long cellaring, so there’s no hurry, 91 p.
Below a video with a visual presentation of the producer – that for some reason is accompanied by “spaghetti western music” by Ennio Morricone… to be more specific The Ecstasy of Gold from the soundtack of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Choosing from these three, “the Good” definitelt fits Borgogno the best!
Swedish version here.