2005 Cappellano, Barolo, Piè Rupestris (Not Rated, as requested by the Cappellano Family) Bought on release and stored in my cellar since, I’ve also got magnums of this wine. Showing pale translucent ruby with hints of garnet on the rim, from the first pour this reveals a soft, approachable side of the 2005 vintage. Mentholated cherry leads to soft red berries, balsam and bright minerality, all framed in the transparent, traditional style that is the hallmark of this producer. Yet the mouthfeel comes up short, lacking the energy and spunk I typically associate with an outstanding bottling from a better than average vintage. As I work through the glass it becomes a bit disjointed. The overall persona is pure as the driven snow, but it begs for more energy and fervor. I have doubts this will improve with more cellaring. Drink now-2030+

1996 Gaja, Langhe, Conteisa (RT97) Tonight the 1996 Conteisa is utterly stunning as cellaring has proven a dear friend. Nearly opaque deep ruby, the dollop of Barbera blended in has its affects, but there is an overall garnet cast to it. This profound vintage shows up in spades on the bouquet as powerful brooding red cherry, mineral driven raspberry compote, dried rose petal and hints of herbs reveal a power-driven persona. As this wine approaches 25 years since vintage, it shows a far younger and fresher than the 2005 Cappellano I tasted side-by-side with it. The palate texture evolves in the glass, showing depth and dimension with perfect balance, a magnificent vintage and wine for the team at the Gaja winery. Simply splendid! Drink now-2036+