Vancouver International Wine Festival – Round 2

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Things have been hectic around here so I’ve been a bit delayed posting this continuation of the Wine Fest series. However, today we are in for a treat as I highlight the wines of Piemonte.


Damilano Barbera D’alba

Mushroomy nose with a very earth palate. Closed and tannic right now. A heavy Barbera that probably needs age.

Good+ – $35

Damilano Barolo 2001

Very veggie, with wood spliters and smoke and moderate tannins. This was quite a unique wine that woke my brain up. After you taste enough wines you get used to certain flavours and even bored when the same old thing comes your way. However, this wine, the first Barolo I tasted at the festival, woke me up to the delights that wine is capable of. It was still a bit closed, but showed a lot of promise.

Very Good+ to Excellent (with Age) – $50

Damilano Barolo 2003

Another vegetal wine that is what I like to call “atom-dense”. Drinking this is like pulling teeth and getting pummelled by a heavy-weight boxer. If you’re a masochist wine drinker, this is great. Otherwise, needs time – but should be pretty good with enough coaxing.

Very Good – $50

Damilano “Cannubi” Barolo 2003

Wow. Very fruity and alive with a great flavour profile. The structure is there for this to last quite a while, even for a 2003. The finish is a bit short right now but I suspect this will develop with age.

Excellent – $85

Damilano “Liste” Barolo 2003

The best of the bunch. Amazing concentration and purity with loads of complex earth aromas and flavours. Yet, it is actually ‘spritely’ for a Barolo with a perfectly constructed acid and tannin balance – I love this sense of wit.

Excellent+ – $85

Prunotto Costamiloe Barbera d’Asti DOC 2001

Barnyard and heavily fragrant. An amazing Barbera to pair with a fancy pasta or Osso Buco. This one has aging potential.

Very Good+ – $56

Prunotto Nebbiolo d’Alba Occhetti 2005

Big bodied Nebbliolo with ripe tannins, but enough depth to make this a kind of “mini” Barolo. The rough-edged younger brother of the Barbaresco’s to come who has not developed quite as much class.

Very Good+ – $35

Prunotto Barbaresco 2004

Wow. Crazy intensity here coupled with outstanding character. The fruit is big and powerful and very in your face. Yet, this is no new world wine – it’s got a rustic temperament. This could sit in the cellar for quite some time and it will probably mellow into something quite special. Right now it’s just a lot of fun.

Excellent – $55

Prunotto Barbaresco Bric Turot 2001

Very Rich, but also very soft. The tannins are well balanced. This is a reflective wine – something to drink on a cold sombre day in front of the fire place. It’s the classy relative to the 2004 Barbaresco, and equally good. A wine for each mood.

Excellent – $80

Prunotto “Bussia” Barolo 2000

This will be a favourite amongst traditional Barolo lovers. It’s tight right now, but not so closed as to be inexpressive. This has intensity, real intensity: the kind of intensity you rarely find in wine. It’s broody too and I think it needs patience and cellaring to bring out its full character. This is another ‘atom-dense’ wine, but it has tremendous depth to boot.

Excellent – ~$100

Prunotto “Bussia” Barolo 2003

Chewy prune fruit with currently a lot more fruit concentration than the 2000. The tannins may be a bit much for some, but they will mellow with time. For me, this is drinking great now and in the next few years. It’s the kind of wine that’ll make you pause, take a breath, and reconsider, with each sip. Definitely one of the highlights of the show.

Excellent+ – ~$100

In the next installment I will be going international to explore the remaining wineries from across the world that I managed to taste.


  1. Sean
    March 14, 2008

    Great write-up… and great wines. I’m really looking forward to visiting these folks in a couple of weeks. 🙂

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