Bibemus & the Mountain of Monforte

23 Apr
Bibemus Climbed the Mountain of Monforte

Bibemus climbing every mountain. Yodel ay ee ooooo.

On Wednesday 20th March, the Bibemus gang and their fellow Italophiles gathered together to taste a mountain of Barolo from Monforte d’Alba. Fourteen of them, to be precise. Special international guests included Massimo Benevelli of Piero Benevelli wines and Robert Bava and his daughter Francesca from Cocchi Americano.

Venue: Ombra Salumi Bar, 76 Bourke Street, Melbourne. This is Guy Grossi’s latest venue next door to Grossi Florentino. I had his son, Carlo Grossi, help me organise the event and assist on the night, with Guy making an appearance later in the evening.


Cicchetti: roast bone marrow, salsa verde, braised chicken livers and crostini

Salumi: Tagliere of three house salumi matched house preserves

Pizza: Margherita, Bianca and Potato, fior di latte, chilli and rosemary

Carne e Insalata: Slow roasted Flinders Island lamb shoulder served with cabbage horseradish salad, pumpkin salad and freekah salad.

Formaggio: Pecorino


BRACKET I – Barbera d’Alba from Monforte d’Alba

  • Domenico Clerico Barbera d’Alba Tre Vigne 2009: Sour plum, wheaty nose, more savoury palate with light-weight, well-integrated tannins. Ranked 3/3
  • Piero Benevelli Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2010: Sour cherry aromas with hints of charcuterie, feminine and soft, palate of flowers with dense mid-palate flavour. Fresh. Ranked 2/3.
  • Conterno Fantino Vignota Barbera d’Alba 2011: Plums, violets and spice, liquorice, black fruits on the palate, very long flavour, fine-grained soft tannins. Ranked 1/3.

BRACKET II – Piero Benevelli Barolo line-up

Made with a cold maceration on the skins for two days. Natural fermentation proceeds in stainless steel and rests on skins for 1 month afterwards. It ages for 1 year in barrel with 30% new barriques. The grapes are from two vineyards in Monforte called Ravera and Le Coste.

  • Piero Benevelli Barolo Monforte d’Alba 2005: Spicy oak, small red berry fruit, fine sandpaper effect with cool tannins, overall quite youthful. Refined finish, pure fruited, a long lived wine but for me a bit wheaty on the nose like the DC Barbera. Ranked 3/4.
  • Piero Benevelli Barolo Monforte d’Alba 2006: Warm red and black fruits, liquorice, spice, dark Middle-Eastern spices from the oak, thick, black silty tannins. Wouldn’t have to wait 20 years to drink. Ranked 1/4.
  • Piero Benevelli Barolo Monforte d’Alba 2007: Sour red berries, vanilla, meatier frame, well-suited to bone marrow course, new oak taste but balanced (not smoky). Ranked 4/4.
  • Piero Benevelli Barolo Monforte d’Alba 2008: Violets and spice, vanilla, herbal aniseed notes, fresh youthful tannins, sour red cherry fruit, coffee bean, lighter on palate flavour intensity, tannins dominating. Ranked 2/4.

BRACKET III – Mixed producers from Monforte d’Alba Barolo

  • Domenico Clerico ‘Ciabot Mentin Ginestra’ Barolo 2004: Blue and red fruits, aniseed liqueur, cloves and cinnamon. Meaty mid-palate, long flavour, a classic wine. Deep tannins, herbal finish and persistent oak. Noticably high acid. Ranked 2/3.
  • Paolo Conterno Barolo ‘Ginestra’ Riserva 2005: Ripe red fruit and vanilla, creamy, thick, tightly-wound tannins and a hint of orange rind. Red berry fruit, herbs and meat flavours on the palate. Appearing too young right now. Monforte in a glass. Ranked 1/3.
  • Roagna Barolo ‘Le Coste’ 2007: Pork and vegetable nose, floral, open, deep imposing tannins, high acidity, needs much more time. Weedy and hints of burnt rubber within. Ranked 3/3.

BRACKET IV – 2001 Barolo Monforte d’Alba

  • Poderi Colla Barolo ‘Bussia Dardi Le Rose’ 2001: Sweet and sour red fruit blend, spice and cedar wood on the nose. Savoury palate, smokey, funghi porcini richness and length. Pure, rounded tannins, delicious with buffalo mozzarella pizza, clean acidity.
  • Aldo Conterno Nebbiolo ‘Il Favot’ 2001: From Bussia vines less than 20 years old. Rich, spice, coffee tannins, a little rough in texture, dried red fruit flavour, liquorice, warm, liqueur-like, tuna oil element (?), tart acidity. High drinkability.

BRACKET V – 2004 vs 2006 Barolo Monforte d’Alba

  • Poderi Colla Barolo ‘Bussia Dardi le Rose’ 2004: Sourced from a fraction within the 6ha Bussia vineyard. Aromas of iron, herbs, pastry dough and bark with a dried fruit finish. Ranked 3/4.
  • Aldo Conterno Barolo ‘Bussia’ 2004: From the general Bussia vineyard. Dried red fruits, papaya notes, structured wine with dense blue and red fruits on the palate. Tingly fresh at the finish and mouthwatering. Ranked 1/4.
  • Poderi Colla ‘Dardi le Rose’ 2006: Aged in Slavonian oak. Slick tannins, high octane red fruits, woodsy, tickling acidity. Ranked 4/4.
  • Aldo Conterno Barolo ‘Romirasco’ 2006: located next to Dardi, a section within Bussia owned exclusively by the late Aldo Conterno. Michael Trembath commented the fermentation’s that year for Conterno were too hot. Thus amongst the ripe red fruit and vanillin aromas, there’s also a lot of high-toned action going on. This wine had fresh oak, was rounded in structure, had plum and cherry flavours on the palate in a thick line finished with silky tannins. Ranked 2/4.

BRACKET VI – 30-year old Barolo Monforte d’Alba

  • Piero Benevelli Barolo 1982: The first year Barolo DOCG status came into play. Bloody, iron, herbal and sweet tomato nose with a peppery finish. Fine, inky flavour with a smooth, tannin profile. This wine is full, long and alive.

BRACKET VII – Moscato d’Asti

  • Paolo Saracco Moscato d’Asti 2012: Best two words for Moscato d’Asti are grapey and delicious. At this point in the night you can’t bother thinking about much else.

Photos from the event:

Bibemus 20.04.201313 Bibemus 20.04.201311 Bibemus 20.04.20137 Bibemus 20.04.20132 Bibemus 20.04.20131 Bibemus 20.04.20134 Bibemus 20.04.201315 Bibemus 20.04.20136 Bibemus 20.04.20135

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