($17) Good red-ruby. Inky aromas of black cherry and licorice. Sweet, fat and rich but on the heavy side for this bottling. Finishes firmly tannic, chewy and a bit dry. "A great vintage, but not for wines to drink every day," notes director Manuel Marchetti.
($27) Deep red-ruby color. More complex, exuberant aromas of kirsch, licorice and violet. Dense but juicy, with a liveliness in the mouth that transcends this very hot vintage. Finishes very fresh, juicy and long. A strong argument for the superiority of old vines and deep roots. These vines are at least 100 years old, notes Marchetti, and may be as old as 150. As vines die, they are replaced by running branches under the soil from adjacent (ungrafted) vines.
($61) Good medium red. Aromas of mocha, licorice, tar, minerals and brown spices. On the lean side and a bit tight today, but with very good flavor intensity. Not currently displaying the fleshy side of the vintage. Finishes with slightly tough tannins. Marchetti prefers the 1998 La Serra, as do I.
($61) Deeper aromas of mocha, camphor and minerals, with a whiff of dried flowers. Considerably richer and deeper than La Serra, with a more layered texture. Finishes long and rich, with chewy, complex, very suave tannins.
(these two 2001s were bottled at the beginning of September) Good full red. Expressive aromas of brown spices, mocha, truffle and porcini. Suave, deep and flavorful, with lovely sweetness leavened by firm minerality. Here the fruit seems distinctly fresher than that of the 2000. Finishes suave and quite long, with late-arriving tannins that coat the gums. A perfect example of a case where the tannins of 2001 are simply more complex than those of the hotter, drier 2000 growing season.
Good full red. Cherry, rose petal, menthol, brown spices, licorice and a note of beeswax on the nose ("always balsamic, like entering a church," says Marchetti). Then much tighter on the palate and dominated by its structure today, with hints of dark fruits, mint and licorice. Not nearly as lush or sweet today as La Serra. The very firm tannins reach the front teeth. This young 2001 is already closing down in the bottle. (Empson U.S.A. Alexandria VA