Marcarini: Barolo Brunate 1996-2001

Marcarini’s Barolo Brunate is one the most representative wines in the region year in year out.  I recently had a chance to taste the six most recent vintages, which was a great learning experience.  The wines are all very young and will require patience.  It would be great to do this tasting again in ten years, and see how the wines have developed.  While all the wines are excellent, the 1999 and the 2001 are truly special and the 1998 is not too far behind…

In terms of his wines Marchetti says “I tend to look at 1996, 1999, and 2001 as being similar in style.  The 1996 has the hardest tannins and is still very young.  The 1999 is more complex and potent, and the 2001, while also potent, is easily the most elegant of the three.  I expect the 1996, 1999, and 2001 to be the most long-lived of the wines. The 1998 and 2000 are similar, they are both fatter, more feminine and easier to drink right now, they will easily last 15 or more years.  The 1997 I place in a category by itself because of the very ripe, high-alcohol style wine we made in that vintage.  1997 is also drinking well right now, but probably won’t last as long as my other wines.”

2001 Marcarini Barolo Brunate—A classic. Very subdued on the nose although a distinct note of cocoa slowly emerges.  Excellent, dense palate of rich dark red fruits, with notes of menthol and minerals closing with a gorgeous fresh finish and lots of youthful tannins.  Satisfying and delicious, this is what traditional Barolo is all about.  93 points/drink after 2001, 12/04

2000 Marcarini Barolo Brunate—Very intense aromas of minerals, tar, licorice and rich mature fruit.  Excellent length and structure.  Shows a lot of tannins for a 2000 and will need several years of bottle age to show well.  90 points/drink after 2010, 12/04

1999 Marcarini Barolo Brunate—The very expressive, classic nose offers notes of flowers, spices, and minerals.  This is a wine of notable intensity and structure with great length and freshness on the finish.  Everything is in proportion here. This 1999 is terrific, gradually opening to show layers and layers of flavor as only the best wines can.  93 points/drink after 2011, 12/04

1998 Marcarini Barolo Brunate—Huge evolved nose of wet earth and tar, opening to show notes of leather, and eucalyptus.  This is powerful, dense wine with flavors of dark fruit and licorice and tremendous length, finishing with chewy tannins.  A very beautiful and complete wine.  92 points/drink after 2008, 12/04

1997 Marcarini Barolo Brunate—A very pretty wine, with delicate aromas of spices, flowers and very ripe fruit.    Comes across as simple compared to the other wines.  Remains very backward and austere for the vintage.  89 points/drink after 2007, 12/04 

1996 Marcarini Barolo Brunate—The nose recalls Pinot Noir, with sensations of sweet ripe fruit and wet earth on the complex nose.  A bit simpler than the 2001, with a soft and round palate and flavors of rich, ripe red fruit.  Good length and follow through, although with a shorter finish and less persistence than some of the other wines in this tasting.  Still appears to be very young. 89 points/drink after 2011, 12/04

-- Antonio Galloni