2005 Rocche dei Manzoni Vigna dla'Roul 94RP

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The 2005 Barolo Vigna d-La Roul is one of the darker and firmer Barolos in this line-up. Today the wine remains incredibly primary, with little aromatic complexity. Over time, subtle notes of tar, dark fruit, spices and licorice emerge, but the wine stands out for its generous, harmonious core of fruit that works as a wonderful counterpoint to the firm tannins. This is a beautiful and very complete Barolo. Like all of the estate's wines, it only needs time. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030.

This is an impressive set of new releases from Rocche dei Manzoni. The 2005 Barolos are especially of note. As I mentioned in my reviews of the estate's 2004s last year, toast levels have come down in a meaningful way, which has resulted in Barolos that feel much more classic than was the case just a few years ago. The heavy toast, sweetness and volume of past vintages is gone, and what has begun to emerge are superb, sculpted Barolos that combine the best elements of modern and traditional schools. For the 2005 Barolos fermentation/maceration lasted about 21 days. The wines then went into 100% new French oak barrels, where they completed malolactic fermentations. The wines spent three years in French oak prior to being moved into large neutral oak, where they spent an additional eight months. The wines underwent a light fining with egg whites but were not filtered prior to being bottled. In 2005 proprietor Rodolfo Migliorini used the grapes he picked before the rains for his single-vineyard Barolos, while parcels that were picked after the rains went into the Barolo Rocche. Unfortunately in 2005 there is no Riserva Madonna Assunta La Villa or Pianpolvere Soprano, but otherwise readers can look forward to the full range of Barolos, a vintage Migliorini is excited about. These wines are all highly recommended.  -AG