The Barolo 1970 vintage came at a period of transition. Chemical treatments in the vineyards were still a novelty. The Nebbiolo wines had traditionally been built for a long future, with months of maceration and years of patient ageing in the botti (large oak barrels). At the same time, new ideas began to emerge in the late 1960s, shorter maceration times and wines from individual vineyards. But we would still have to wait about ten years before small French oak barrels were introduced in the area.
I had the opportunity to try eight barolos from 1970 when Munskänkarna arranged a tasting run by Torsten Rundqvist. He had found these wines, ranging in price from 50 euro to 100 euro, in a German online store.
We tried three wines from the municipality of La Morra:
- Renato Ratti Barolo Annunziata,
- Cordero di Montezemolo Barolo and
- Tenuta Cerequio Barolo.
Four came from the municipality of Barolo:
- Marchesi di Barolo Barolo,
- Francesco Rinaldi Barolo,
- Terre del Barolo and
- Giacomo Borgogno Barolo Riserva.
And one came from the municipality of Serralunga d’Alba:
- Franco Fiorina Barolo Riserva.
Renato Ratto Annunziata Barolo 1970 was brilliantly clear with a hint of ammonia and a palate with medium tannins flavours of red, slightly sour cherries. Modest impression.
Cordero di Montezemolo Barolo 1970 had a clear brick colour with a characteristic barnyard nose and a palate with young red berries, low tannins and high acidity. A wine keeping good vigour. It was the group’s favourite.
Tenuta Cerequio Barolo 1970 had a slightly cloudy appearance with a scent of forest and berries and medium tannins, with delicious notes of plum and cherry and a long austere aftertaste. My own favourite, a well-balanced and still very drinkable wine.
Marchesi di Barolo 1970 was the darkest one with a hint of moss and a taste of sour berries and some cocoa with a fair amount of astringency.
Francesco Rinaldi Barolo 1970 was very clear and had a strong nose with ripe plums and a little sweetness in the taste, virtually without tannins, tending towards a sherry style.
Terre di Barolo, Barolo 1970 (a wine cooperative) was cloudy, with a scent of red berries and a taste of sour plums and a good level of tannins. The groups thought this was the least interesting wine.
Giacomo Borgogno Barolo Riserva 1970 was not quite clear, with a strong hint of ammonia and tasted quite astringent and with a lot of overripe cherries and plums.
Franco Fiorina Barolo 1970 was cloudy, going towards brown and an almost a bit bitter taste of rose hip with a good level of tannins.
Several of the wines were quite brick-coloured; most were clear and brilliant, but there were also some that were a little cloudy and with a deposit. That is of course not so strange after 48 years. Because there were a lot of bottles there were also a few with cork issues.
If one would eat something with these wines, then I could imagine a dish of veal and potatoes gratin so as not to overpower the wines’ characters too much.
Overall, I would not buy these wines myself, but I’m glad I participated in the tasting which was very interesting and gave me an insight into the pros and cons of old, well-matured Barolo wines.
Henrik Stadler writes för BKWine Magazine on wine tastings and wine events in Sweden.
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