2005 Eugenio Bocchino, Barolo “Lu”
Eugenio Bocchino is a true “garagiste,” working his 5.5 hectares of vineyards with just his wife Cinzia and their three dachshunds. He makes only about 1,500 cases of wine in total, and just 100 cases of this top-flight Barolo. The 2005 “Lu” is just the third vintage from a vineyard planted in 1999 to produce ageable Barolo, and we have put all three of them in this club. Eugenio’s goal for this wine is to produce a “precise lushness,” and we think he succeeds completely. The wine is relatively soft and fruity for Barolo, with velvety tannins, the usual Nebbiolo notes of tar and wet tobacco leaf, interesting balsamic aromas and a wonderful spiciness and complexity. While you could let the wine develop for 20-30 years, our judgment is that it will begin to reach its peak in two to five years. Compared with other Barolos, the strawberry and cherry flavored fruit is very upfront; it’s a great match for all kinds of succulent meat dishes. It costs $70, and we have a decent supply, and still a good supply of his 2004 “Lu” as well.
2007 Weingut Wwe. Dr. H. Thanisch Erben Thanisch, Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett
To answer your first question, you do need all of the verbiage in the name to identify this wine. The name translates as the “wine estate of the widow of Dr. H. Thanisch belonging to the Thanisch heirs,” not to be confused with the Mueller-Burgraef heirs. The original estate was founded in 1785 by the Prussian parliamentarian Dr. Hugo Thanisch, and it was one of the most renowned wine producers in Germany from the mid-nineteenth century through the 1920’s. The holdings were split in two in 1988, and the tiny “Erben Thanisch” portion of just seven hectares is now tended by Dr. Thanisch’s great-granddaughter Sofia Thanisch-Spier and her husband Urich Spier. Sofia continues a three generation tradition of female wine-makers at Thanisch, which grows Riesling exclusively at four elite vineyard sites. Not surprisingly, this Bernkasteler Badstube is best described as a delicate, yes, feminine wine, with hints of green apple and subtle floral notes balanced against a characteristic Mosel minerality. Although 2007 is a terrific vintage for Mosel Kabinetts, which are showing great concentration but are still ready to drink, we think this wine is simply the star of the vintage. It’s just $25.50 and we have a good supply available.