Eric Asimov and a tasting panel in the New York Times reviews the 2004 vintage of Barolo and finds them to be excellent and far more approachable than other vintages. An excerpt is below:
To see for ourselves, the wine panel recently sampled 25 Barolos from the 2004 vintage. We decided to limit ourselves to bottles under $100, which means we omitted many of the pantheon producers, like Bartolo Mascarello, Bruno Giacosa, Giacomo Conterno, Paolo Scavino, Luciano Sandrone and quite a few others.
Still, even at Barolo’s lower tier, it was clear to us that 2004 is indeed a fine year. For the tasting, Florence Fabricant and I were joined by Chris Cannon, an owner of Alto in midtown Manhattan and Convivio in Tudor City, and Fred Dexheimer, the wine director of the BLT restaurant group.
What makes 2004 distinctive? To me, it is the fact that many of the wines are approachable right now — much earlier than is typical for tannic, high-acid Barolos — without sacrificing elegance or structure. In a classic, austere vintage like 1996 or 2001, Barolos can take years to come around. Many ’96s are still not ready to drink. Riper years like 1997 and 2000 are accessible earlier but sacrifice some of the precision and focus of the more austere years. In this sense, the ’04 vintage performs a rare balancing act.
The link to the story in the New York Times is here; a multimedia discussion of some of the most distinctive wines by the tasting panel is here.
We have recently obtained an offer for a number of these wines from the importer, A. Bommarito Wines. Quantities are limited, and more details can be found here.
More links here:
1. Ed McCarthy gives a report on the 2004 vintage specifically, and a quick report on other vintages here.
2. Gary Vaynerchuk thinks 2004 Barolo brings the thunder, here.
3. A good history of Barolo here.