Wine Review: Paolo Scavino Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata Riserva 2000

paolo scavinoI rolled the dice and opened this gem—a gift from my family—this past weekend. A double six, in perfect condition! You never know with 20 yr. old Barolo. I’ve had a few that were shredded but today my stars were properly aligned.

Rocche dell’Annunziata is one of the more renowned vineyards in La Morra. Many of Barolo’s top producers own parcels here.

I actually visited this vineyard 3 years ago when visiting Aurelio Settimo so I had high expectations. But they were tempered by the usual Barolo intrigue. 2000 was a controversial vintage in Piemonte. Record high temperatures in August produced very ripe fruit. The wine press hailed it as the vintage of the century but many other observers were skeptical of its ageing potential. In addition, Paolo Scavino is a so-called modern producer of Barolo, meaning they employ shorter macerations (4 days for this wine) and age in French barrique to make the wine accessible when young. Again, many are skeptical that these wines will age well.

Obviously, this is only one data point but based on this bottle, the skeptics are wrong.

I opened it at 10:00 in the morning and was relieved to discover no hint of TCA or VA.The color is still a rich ruby with only a slight bricking on the edges.  But it was tight and tannic, flashing truffle and leather but very little fruit. My guess was it would need about 4 hours to come alive. After 3 hours of decanting it was a different wine on the palate. Gorgeous round cherry fruit,  sumptuous but weightless at midpalate where the tannins become discernible, with a long, elegant evolution, helped along by great fruit persistence. I never describe Barolo tannins as silky—more like very fine emery—but they are by now gentle, moving with the stately grace of a Miles Davis ballad.

Finally, about 1 hour later, right on time, the fruit shows up on the nose with a burst of cherry, spice, and dried roses that sends the leather into hiding. A woodsy note attests to the presence of oak.

You can tell this was a ripe vintage. The fruit is sweet and the acid balanced but not assertive. The 14.5% alcohol was well hidden. It all paired wonderfully with a lamb shoulder ragù and pasta.

Score: 95

Alc: 14.5%

Price: $200

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