1996 Gaja~Langhe~Sperss (RT 97) The second bottle I’ve checked in on in the past few years. Popped and poured – a mistake no one opening a bottle of Gaja, especially one of his big guns, should ever make – it was begging for air and was initially wound up tight as a drum. But with time in the glass it began to show its inner beauty with classic Barolo notes of dried rose petal, balsam, truffle and hints of tar. With more time in the glass a stunning aromatic cornucopia emerges displaying its Serralunga roots and deeply engrained minerality. The mouthfeel is even more impressive, showing a decided weightlessness that captures the imagination, gorgeous in its complete package and equally as impressive in its enduring finish. An incredible showing for the 1996 Sperss, this should continue to drink well for another two or more decades. Highly recommended with ample air! Drink now – 2039+

1999 Conterno~Barolo~Cascina Francia (RT 97) On release I bought a case, this was the fourth bottle opened. Revealing a more translucent ruby garnet hue than the Sperss, it’s aromatics were initially compact, but it opened up quickly in the glass, revealing sweet, ripe character I commonly associate with the 1999 vintage. It reveals a classic ruby garnet hue, as wisps of ripe black cherry, sweet licorice, eucalyptus and crowned with hints of fresh rose and a resinous, mentholated quality soar from the glass. Over time a green tea note emerges, something I commonly associate with Cascina Francia. On the palate it displays impeccable balance and finesse, with perfect acidity and ripe tannin to create a masterpiece. This is one of the most exceptional Barolos you can open today, and it will continue to show well for another two-plus decades. Outstanding stuff and highly recommended for the connoisseur! Drink now – 2039+