13 September 2014

Cascina Ballarin - Annunziata, La Morra

Our first stop on our second day of visits was Cascina Ballarin where we were met by Giorgio Viberti, the owner and wine maker.  The cascina is also an agriturismo.

All wines presented were in half bottles, our first experience with this mode of tasting.  We could go into a fairly lengthy discussion of our opinion of half bottles but we will save that for another day but if you want, send us a comment and we will discuss it with you.  Economically, it is a very good idea.  We will leave it at that.

First wine was the 2011 Nebbiolo.  14% alcohol from the Bussia vineyard.  A light Nebbiolo, good fruit and acid after having spent six months in used barrique.  It is ready to drink.  Euro 10 a bottle.

First Barolo was the 2010 Tre Ciabot.  Grapes are from Bussia, La Morra and Monforte d'Alba.  Done completely in used botte, it has great fruit, light acid and little, if any, tannins.  14% alcohol, we think it needs one to two years to come around.  Euro 22 a bottle.

Second Barolo was the 2010 Bussia, a single vineyard bottling.  Nice nose, light acid and no tannins were noted.  14.5% alcohol, it was produced in 50% new barrique and 50% used.  Needs two to three years in the cellar.  Euro 31 a bottle, purchased for our cellar.

Third Barolo was the 2010 Bricco Rocca, another single vineyard bottling.  A soft Barolo with 14.5% alcohol, great mouth with good fruit, light acids and light tannins.  Produced in 50% new and 50% used barrique.  Euro 31 a bottle, purchased for our cellar.

Giorgio also gave us a bottle of his Punte dei Tre Ciabot Vino Spumante Brut di Qualita` (Metodo Classico) to try.  We will serve it with Kung Pao Chicken for lunch on Sunday and report back to him.

10 September 2016  We saw Giorgio at the La Morra tasting and confirmed our visit for the following afternoon.  There was a group of guests from his camping/Agriturismo who shared his wines with us.

He served a glass of his new Extra Dry Metodo Classico to open the tasting.  100% Chardonnay.  Very good, is now in our cellar.

First was the 2013 Langhe Nebbiolo, 13.5% alcohol.  A good light Nebbiolo, ready to drink.

Next were two of his Barberas which we will not comment on but were quite good.

Then, we had the 2012 Bussia Barolo,  14% alcohol.  It is a wine that just begs to be put in the back of the cellar and left for several years to come into its glory.  All the piece are there.  They just need time to come together.  Give it a minimum of seven years before opening the first bottle.  Euro 32 a bottle, purchased for our cellar.

The last Barolo was the 2012 Bricco Rocca, 14% alcohol.  We could just tell you to read the commentary on the Bussia because we  think that they need the same amount of rest.  They are two different Barolos from two different areas but they were vinified with great care giving them the ability to last for seven to ten years.  Euro 32 a bottle, purchased for our cellar.

4 September 2017  As usual after the La Morra tasting, on Monday afternoon we traveled to Cascina Ballarin to see what Giorgio had been up to over the past year.  We normally see him at other tastings so we have tasted some of his offerings but today was the first time to taste his 2013 efforts.

We did have a glass of his Nas-Cetta before starting on the Barolos.  It it quite good and highly recommended if you can find it.

Then he poured a glass of the 2013 Tre Ciabot Barolo.  Half bottle opened for us.  Light fruit and tannin in the mouth. Euro 24 a bottle.

Second was the 2013 Bricco Rocca.  Also poured from a half bottle opened for us.  Big fruit and tannins in the mouth.  Needs five to six years in the cellar.  Euro 35 a bottle, purchased for our cellar.

Last was the 2013 Bussia.  Again, poured from a half bottle, opened for us.  We are big fans of the wine produced from this cru.  Giorgio's is not the only Barolo we own from that area.  The wine has big tannins but the fruit is there to balance it out.  The nose shows the fruit very nicely.  Needs at least ten years in the cellar.  Euro 35 a bottle, purchased for our cellar.

7 April 2019   We opened a bottle of the 2010 Bussia from this producer to serve with some arancini and formaggio di buffala.  The wine is ready to drink but can use a short time open before serving.

05 May 2019  We opened a bottle of the 2010 Bricco Rocca after our experience with the 2010 Bussia.  Our lunch of large shells stuffed with Basmati rice and porcini mushrooms and baked in a tomato sugo went quite well with the wine. our lunch of large shells stuffed with Basmati rice and porcini mushrooms and baked in a tomato sugo.  We believe the wine can use another six months to a year before it starts on the down hill.

24 June 2019  We opened our last bottle of the 2010 Bussia to serve with our lunch of Kung Pao chicken.  It went quite well with the Chinese dish but we do recommend that you open it at least ten minutes prior to serving it.  We believe it is ready to drink.

26 September 2019  We opened a bottle of the 2010 Bricco Rocca Barolo today for lunch.  If you read our blog a lot, you will notice that we usually eat quite different things.  Today was an exception.  We had grilled cheese sandwiches with a salad of cucumbers from our garden.  As to the wine, it is ready to drink.  We have one more bottle of it and will drink it before the end of the year.  It is very good and went well even with the sandwiches.  Highly recommended to drink now.

22 November 2020  One of the biggest problems when you have a Barolo collection is having a bottle when you want it.  In our case, most of our collection starts being ready toward the end of 2021 through 2031.  It was this problem that forced us to take a bottle from the collection that probably was not ready but we wanted Barolo for lunch.  The lunch was stuffed cabbage rolls, chicken breast pieces and carrot salad.  Even though the wine, a 2013 Bricco Rocca was a long way (we estimate another 3-5 years), it made a light lunch better than it should have been.  Have patience!!

15 March 2021 We opened a bottle of the 2012 Bricco Rocca Barolo from this producer.  We have a lot of faith in the wine so even if we had it read some months down the road, we decided to try it.  Natalya made her famous Borsch along with Dim Sum stuffed with biological chicken and onion.  I made my grandmother's insalata di Nonna.  Great wine, great food.  Not really ready to drink.  We put it out another year.

18 April 2021  I again say how difficult it is to find a bottle to go with our diet which to say the least is eclectic.  We opened a bottle of the Bussia 2012 Barolo for a lunch that included Natalya's Thai soup, straciatella cheese, branzino fish and pan fried potatoes.  I have to say that the wine held up to this lunch.  It is ready to drink but in our opinion, has a few years before it starts to go downhill.  Try it! 

25 March 2022 This day we opened a bottle of the Ballarin 2012 Bricco Rocca Barolo.  It was served with a mushroom salad with some chopped fine onion.  Then we had Chinese noodles with sauteed shrimp marinated in zenzero, garlic and butter with a few lemon leaves.  We also had a spinach salad to top off the meal.  Wine is spectacular, ready to drink.

25 July 2022  Something different...Natalya and I had gone to Barcelona to see a woman that I worked with in California and her husband. We took two bottles of excellent Italian wine to show them what can be done over here.  This night, we opened a bottle of the Cascina Ballarin 2012 Bussia, the last in the cellar.  I had marked it to be drank now some years ago and we were not disappointed.  It was enjoyed as a "conversation wine", not accompanied with any sort of food.  We were all very glad to have such a good tasting Barolo.  It was a really good bottle of wine and ready to drink.

29 December 2023 We opened a bottle of the Bussia Barolo 2013 from the producer for lunch of a chicken soup and chicken cake from the oven.  The wine did not standup to the lunch.  If you have any of these bottles, we suggest that you, when you open it, taste it after about a quarter hour.  Natalya and I believe that it should be a wine for conversation.  It is a very good and  light wine.

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