2004 Ettore Germano Barolo Cerretta
When Barolo is good, it's one of the world's most aromatically complex, intellectual wines. When it's great, it's like a combination of Raymond Chandler and Dostoyevsky -- unbelievably rich and engaging with a brooding aromatic sophistication. We don't taste this greatness often, but when we do, we jump. That's what happened here.
When we first tasted the 2004s out of barrel, we were wowed by the concentration, the remarkable density and sweetness of the wines in the top cellars. At Sergio Germano's, we tasted two 2004s: his single vineyard Prapo and the older vine Cerretta. Both wines are grown on the steep limestone hillsides of Serralunga. Both were superb. But the Cerretta just had it all; the lushness and fine silken mouthfeel that is common to only the very best wines of a vintage that has the sweetness and warmth of 2000 with the fine, classical refinement of 2001.
We chuckled when the Gambero Rosso awards came out last year. Sergio sent the #2 wine, the Barolo Prapo 2004 to the panel of tasters, and not surprisingly, Sergio's second best won the most influential prize in Italian wine journalism, Tre Bicchieri, in 2008.
How to describe the monumental 2004 Cerretta? It's wonderfully ripe, sweet and lush. But that's just the beginning. Don't be satisfied with Chandler when Dostoyevsky is lurking in the background. Make sure the Riedel glass is large, slightly tapered at the top. Take your time as the fine limestone aromatic layers unfold into something that you'd be very happy to only smell -- if it wasn't so simply delicious.
Ettore Germano vineyards
"($65) What a joy it is to taste these wines from Sergio Germano, a young producer, who like many growers, made the finest Barolos of his career in 2004. The 2004 Barolo Cerretta possesses an extra dimension of fruit and sheer volume than the Prapo. This weighty, backward Barolo bursts from the glass with ripe dark fruit, menthol, French oak and licorice in an expansive, generous style. The wine finishes with superb elegance and lingering notes of sweetness. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024."
92 points--Antonio Galloni, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate