"In terms of quality, 2001 is very good, one point higher than 2000," says Enrico Scavino. "In 2001 we had the advantage of a bit of rain in August, which really helped the nebbiolo and gave the wines a better balance than the 2000s. "Scavino's winemaking technique continues to evolve. Beginning with the 1999 vintage, he has moved his Barolos out of barriques and into large Taransaud casks after their first year of aging because he decided that two years in small barrels was too much. Scavino also noted that beginning with the '96 vintage he increased the duration of his fermentations (to seven or eight days) because he felt that his earlier vintages were too soft and did not have enough tannic support. Scavino was in the process of redoing his winery at the time of my visit, with the objectives of making more extensive use of gravity to avoid tiring the wines, gaining better control of temperature through all phases of vinification and elevage, and creating the proper environment to keep a large wine library. (Marc de Grazia; numerous importers, including Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, NY; Vin Divino, Chicago, IL; and Estate Wines Ltd. , San Rafael, CA)
($33; 45% sauvignon blanc, 45% chardonnay and 10% viognier; only the chardonnay is done in barriques Perfumed, ripe aromas of pit fruits, lemon, flowers and nuts. Fat, sweet and exotic, with strong fruit, an impression of residual sugar and plenty of alcoholic weight. Ind eed, the fermentation stopped with about six grams of sugar, notes Scavino.
($17; bottled in April; from fruit harvested in late August) Good bright dark ruby. Black cherry and flowers on the nose. Juicy, sappy and dry, with rather subdued flavors. Like so many 2003 red wines from Italy and France, this is not especially fruity. Finishes with fairly substantial tannins.
($37; bottled three days before my visit; aged in a combination of barriques and large barrels) Bright medium ruby. Oaky aromas of black fruits, licorice and violet. Juicy, intense and penetrating; supple and shapely, with solid backbone. Not especially fleshy or sweet but very fresh and serious barbera. This represents a selection of Scavino's best lots of barbera (this special cuvee was not made in 2002).
($53; nebbiolo, barbera and cabernet sauvignon) Medium-deep red-ruby. Musky, oaky aromas of chocolate, espresso and smoke; less pristine than the 2001 barbera. Then sweet, round and fat, boasting the fleshy tex ture and sheer size of the 2000 vintage. Finishes with substantial but very fine tannins and a hint of nut skin.
($30; this is essentially declassified Barolo from the lower part of Scavino's vineyard in Roddi) Very good ruby-red color. Fresh aromas of blackberry, licorice, tobacco and smoke. Juicy, primary and tightly wound, with a flavor of licorice and rather bracing acidity. Not at all a sweet style of nebbiolo, and rather tannic on the aftertaste. Still a bit youthfully disjointed, despite possessing strong extract to support its high acidity. "I would have done less skin contact if I had known this was going to be bottled as nebbiolo," Scavino admitted.
(this got about 40% new barriques during its first year of aging) Good deep red. Deep aromas of cassis, smoke, licorice, chocolate and spicy oak. Sweet, supple and suave, with enticing inner-mouth aromatic quality and good stuffing for the vintage. Plenty of spicy oak showing. Finishes with substantial but fairly round tannins that reach the front teeth.
(the 2001s were bottled a few weeks before my visit) Good medium red. Black plum, tobacco, licorice, flowers and sexy oak on the rather subtle nose. Sweet, silky and fresh, with high-pitched flavors of cassis, blackberry and violet. This offers lovely fruit and excellent palate coverage. Finishes with broad, fine tannins and noteworthy persistence.
(from Cannubi, Rocche di Castiglione and Bric del Fiasc, blended after their period of aging in wood) Good full red. Very spicy, Burgundian aromas of red and black fruits, Havana tobacco and meat. Fat and full on the palate, if less refined and perfumed than the Cannubi. A chunky, chewy style of Barolo that finishes with big, building tannins and very good length.
Good full red. Complex, lively nose melds cassis, blackberry, violet, minerals and spicy oak. Silky and suave on entry, then strong and dense in the middle, with flavors of cassis, dark chocolate and menthol. Very primary Barolo with excellent lift. Finishes very long, with chewy tannins and a light touch. This may well need seven or eight years to fully express itself.
($60; a blend of numerous parcels) Good medium red. Aromatic nose dominated by cassis and blackberry. High-toned and a bit warm in the mouth, with modest complexity and flavor intensity. Can't match Scavino's other 2000s for mid-palate sweetness and finishes with a slight dry edge.
($105) Medium red. Reduced on the nose. Then supple and inviting on the palate, with a silkier texture and more flesh and sweetness than the normale Notes of tar and nuts. Not nearly as vibrant as the 2001 but finishes with sweet, lush tannins and very good length.
($90) Good full medium red. More floral aromas of strawberry, roasted coffee and meat. Less silky and more backward than the Cannubi, with notes of redcurrant, cola and earth. Not quite as sweet on the back end. I'd wait three or four years on this bottling.
($105) Good full red. Dee p aromas of redcurrant, smoke and earth. Also rather backward, but shows a lighter touch than the Carobric, with sweeter fruit. Intensely flavored but not weighty, with more classic Barolo energy and notes of flowers and tar. Subtle and flavorful Barolo, finishing with serious tannic backbone for aging.
(still in barrel) Good full red-ruby. Knockout nose reminded me of Musigny: cassis, blackberry, minerals and spices. Dense and thick but racy, thanks to superb acidity. Penetrating and superconcentrated, with sappy, vibrant black fruit and mineral flavors. Finishes with broad, extremely fine tannins and terrific length. High class!
Full, deep red. Aromas of plum syrup, strawberry, mocha and mint; more decadent than the 2001 but still fresh. Thick and sweet on entry, then a bit less chewy and dense in the middle than the 2001, without that wine's mineral lift or black fruit character. Strong, plump wine if a bit unrefined. Finishes with more noticeable tannins than the 2001.
Excellent red-ruby. Superripe aromas of black fruits, licorice, cocoa powder, tar and graphite. Dense on entry, then wonderfully full and concentrated in the middle, with the wine's huge ripeness supported by sound, penetrating acidity. Has the juiciness and energy of the best Barolos. Finishes with big, building, chewy tannins and superb ripeness. Seamless and compelling. This may eventually challenge the superb '96 example.