Saturday, 8 September 2012

Marco Marengo and Renato Corino @ Vini Itailini

Last wednesday I went along to to attend a tasting of Marco Marengo and Renato Corino's wines with the focus being on 2008 Barolo's. It is the first time I have been to the 100% Italian Wine Shop, they have a good location and a good set up with many of the great names from what I could see during a brief browse.
A quick overview of what I learned about the producers, neither of whom I knew well. Both are based in La Morra on the western and slightly northern side of the Barolo region.
Marco Marengo The winery was started in 1899, Marco is the 3rd generation, they make Dolcetto, Barbera, a Nebbiolo d'Alba, one generic Barolo and 3 Barolo Crus. About 36,000 bottles in total.
Renato Corino Renato is the second generation, Corino as a larger producer first started experimenting with "newer" techniques in 1987. Renato and his brother then split the estates holdings in 2005, he makes about 40,000 bottles split across Dolcetto, Barbera, a Nebbiolo d'Alba, one generic Barolo and 2 Barolo Crus and 1 Riserva.
We started with the too non-nebbiolo wines:
Dolcetto d'Alba 2011, Marco Marengo (15) Which is kept in stainless steel to preserve the fruit and only has 4-5 days skin contact. It had a nice nose of Christmas cake and herbs, some grip with a little dryness but good overall.
Barbera d'Alba 2011, Renato Corino (15) which was bottled in July having had 3 months in barrel. Silky texture, this lacks guts and structure but then it is not supposed to be serious, nice luscious wine if simple.
The Marengo wines
It was now time to start on the Nebbiolos.
Nebbiolo d'Alba Valmaggiore 2010, Marco Marengo (16) Classical Nebbiolo nose this wine sees 25% new wood and 75% older wood for 12-13 months, it has an elegant femininity and another year would be nice. From the Roero region.
Nebbiolo d'Alba 2010, Renato Corino (16) Also from Roero, this sees 1 year in wood which are older barrels from the Barolo, has a lush liquorice feel, a little less refined that the above but a lovely drinker.
I have had a lot of joy from the 2008 Barolo's that I have tasted you only have to look back a few posts to see that, the following wines further confirmed it is a fine vintage which really expressses the grapes character and strengths.
Barolo 2008, Marengo (17+) From three vineyards in La Morra, it sees 24 months in wood of which 25% is new and then 1 year in bottle before being released as is the law, the maceration is 8-9 days long. I found this to be fresh with a briny, cherry and cough lozenge nose, good ripe tannins that left a pleasant edge of dryness almost strawberry fruit on the finish a good wine well worth buying.
Barolo 2008, Corino (16.5) This sees the same treatment as the Marengo Barolo except that I think there is more new wood, the structure is less apparent and there is more lushness to the wine, good fruit though and will be flattering from the off.
The Corino ramge
Barolo Bricco delle Viole 2008, Marengo (17.5-18) This is a very high site at 480metres above sea-level, Marco has 1 hectare here and this wine was very impressive, a fresh and almost floral nose with a touch of orange rind, again that slightly briney texture, impressive. Marco also said that with time it is the floral and feminine sides that show in this wine.
Barolo Arborina 2008, Corino (17) A classy, more modern, nose which comes from the 40-50% new wood that this wine sees. A slight iodine and savoury character on the palate, certainly more modern but good. There are 6 producers of Arborina and it became famous when E.Altare started to make it as a single Cru from around 1985.
Barolo Brunate 2008, Marengo (17.5-18.5) Marco announced that Brunate is the greatest expression of La Morra and Renato only mildy disagreed! I am a fan of this vineyard. Marco shows this wine 10 days of skin contact and then 30% of new oak. I think often in Barolo it is the type of tannins that the terroir really gives the wines. There is a powdery, bricky texture that I love in Brunate and it shows here. Very impressive.
It was sad to have reached the last wine of the night. 
Barolo Rocche dell'Annunziata 2008, Corino (17) This had a pronounced coffee and mocha nose, there is some real density here, it is a good wine and if you like the modern style of Barolo then this is well worth seeking out.
It was a fascinating tasting and very well organised (but crucially not over-organised). It is always great to have the producers there to talk through the wines. I think you can probably tell from the notes that I found these to be good but especially so with the Marco Marengo wines, there is a nod to both new and old school and I think it has worked well. Corino was good too but I just feel the oak is a dash heavy-handed, as with everything in wine this is a personal point of view.

Nice set up with attention to detail

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