This elegant Malbec opens with subtle rosemary and cigar box aromas. Then blackberry, black cherry and plum notes show in the glass. This is a well-balanced red with intense fruit and earthy flavors. It features fine-grained tannins and medium acidity on the palate, leading to a flavorful finish. -J.V.
From Paraje Altamira in Uco Valley comes this aromatic Malbec that offers star anise, dried herbs and green bell pepper with plenty of ripe black-fruit notes on the nose. Velvety tannins provide good structure while rich plum and fennel flavors invade the palate. The finish is pleasant and medium in length. -J.V.
The 2019 Wild Carignan Reserve was aged for 12 months in 35% new French oak and comes in at 13.6% alcohol. Like many of the offerings in this report, this is not in the marketplace yet, but this is one of the furthest out, set for release in December of this year. For the moment, it is indeed undeveloped, but that doesn't mean the tannins are hard. Rather, it is the fruit that is a bit muted. Right at the moment, this might be a vintage where I prefer the Marselan to the Carignan, usually not the case. This, however, still has some potential, perhaps improvement to come. Or, at least, so I suspect. They both need to show their stuff with a little more time in bottle. Overall, this combines elegance, flavor and focus. It will surely be better this time next year, but right now the Marselan might be the safer bet. -M.S.
The 2019 Special Reserve red is a blend of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Syrah, 12% Petit Sirah, 10% Carignan and the rest Marselan, all aged for 18 months in 50% new French oak. It comes in at 13.9% alcohol. Of the to-be-released wines in this report, this is the farthest out, not likely to hit the marketplace until February 2023. It has been bottled since May 2021, though, so it should certainly be showing some of its stuff. As expected, it is a bit tight. As it airs out, the tannins increase in power, but they are never too ferocious. You could drink this sooner if it were available, but if it were available, then I'd probably still recommend waiting until next year anyway for better results. So, it's a plus that the winery is aging it for you. The rest is lovely. The texture leans to silk more than velvet. There are red fruits in abundance and a juicy, fresh finish. The freshness here is a big plus. This becomes enlivening rather than ponderous. Overall, this seems right on its normal marks. What it can develop into remains to be seen. It certainly has upside potential. At some point, it will be time for a vertical here, but this won't be ready for such an exercise for a couple of years, at least. This bottling has gone through some style changes in terms of blends, but the newest style, which includes Carignan and Marselan, certainly has several vintages under its belt now. It's a nice success. -M.S.
The 2019 Marselan Reserve was aged for 12 months in 25% new French oak and comes in at 13.3% alcohol. Suave, flavorful and bright, this is a very elegant Marselan, but it doesn't sacrifice much flavor. It does dance across the tongue, and it still seems to have respectable concentration with some strawberries mingled with herbs. It is relatively expressive in its youth. Overall, this is once again beautifully done this year. It will be interesting to see how it develops, but I predict that it will over the next few years. You can drink this now, but it will likely be better this time next year. This will be released in July. -M.S.
Batasiolo produces wines from various regions in Piedmont, including a number of Barolos, with an annual total production of 2.5 million bottles. Briccolina is among their best, coming from a small west-facing site in Serralunga. The cherry-scented nose is robust and rather subdued at present, while the palate is fleshy and concentrated in style, ripe and creamy with good depth of fruit and impressive tannic grip. The fruit comes through on the finish, suggesting this should evolve well. Drinking Window 2021 - 2040
Rose, red berry and underbrush aromas mingle with a whiff of pine forest. On the full-bodied palate, firm, fine-grained tannins support dried red cherry, star anise and a hint of mocha before a drying finish. Drink 2023–2028. Kerin O’Keefe
Earthy aromas of scorched earth, leather and dark berries emerge from the glass. The savory palate delivers blackberry jam, clove and star anise alongside brooding tannins. Drink 2022–2030. Kerin O’Keefe
Aromas of red berry, forest floor, rose petal and leather lead the nose. The structured, balanced palate offers red cherry, white pepper, clove and a hint of truffle alongside fine-grained tannins and bright acidity. Drink 2022–2030. Kerin O’Keefe
Lovely aromas of tea and strawberries, as well as some cedar and spice that follow through to a medium to full body, chewy tannins and a flavorful finish. I like the balance and finesse. Drink now. -J.S.