On my last trio to South Africa I took a break from vintage and headed to the Swartland to catch up with buddies Ryan Mostert and Sam Suddons, who make the Smiley and Terracura wines. The occasion was an incredible tasting of old Piedmont wines, gathered together by Michael Roets. This was a special tasting, and it attracted quite a crowd including Swartland winemaking royalty.
These are my notes on the wines, most of which had aged beautifully. It’s hard to overstate how thrilling a tasting this was. With old wines, sometimes you need to give them the benefit of the doubt and be kind to them. There was no need to do that here.
Cantina Produttori Carema Nebbiolo di Carema 1970 Piedmont, Italy
Complex and intense with some malty notes on the nose. Really refined on the palate with freshness and some bright red cherry notes. This is so refined and complex. Fine and fresh with nice detail. 94/100
Prunotto Barbaresco 1961 Piedmont, Italy
Elegant, fine and expressive with some richness on the palate. Such a silky texture, with a detailed, fine palate. Some subtle malty hints. So elegant and fine with prettiness and a smooth personality. 95/100
Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco 1967 Piedmont, Italy
This is the ‘normale’: it was the first year that single-vineyard wines were made and so this is the Barbaresco without the single vineyard components in it. There’s a hint of mint here and fresh, slightly sappy raspberry and cherry fruit. So ethereal with a sappiness and lovely raspberry and herb notes. Fresh and textural with definition. Supple and expressive. 96/100
Produttori del Barbaresco Martinenga Barbaresco 1967 Piedmont, Italy
So silky and fine with pure, fresh, sweet cherry and raspberry fruit, as well as some subtle dried herbs. Lively and focused with real elegance. Supple and delicious with a nervous sort of character. 96/100
Produttori del Barbaresco Moccagatta Barbaresco 1967 Piedmont, Italy
This is alas a tiny bit musty, but under the taint you can get some supple red cherry fruit with some plums and a hint of mint. Such a shame.
Produttori del Barbaresco Rabaya Barbaresco 1967 Piedmont, Italy
Spicy with lovely grip: cherries, herbs and spice. Nicely structured. Fine-grained and grippy with lovely weight and a fresh finish. Another thrilling wine. 96/100
Cavalotto Barolo 1970 Piedmont, Italy
Very fresh on the nose with some dried herbs, red cherries and notes of tar and spice. Lovely purity here with a bit of pith and damson character. Silky and fine with red cherry fruit still there in the mix. Still has real focus and purity. 97/100
Brezza Barolo 1958 Piedmont, Italy
Spicy, dense and tannic with nice focus to the cherry and plum notes. So refined with lovely spiciness under the sweet cherry and plum fruit. Great structure and acidity with nice cherry and plum notes. 97/100
Burlotto Verduno Barolo 1967 Piedmont, Italy
Still deep coloured. So refined with lovely perfume on the nose: black cherries, fine herbs and subtle tar notes. Lovely elegance to this wine with some density and nice fine cherries, herbs and plums. Remarkable stuff. 98/100