Localization: Barolo DOCG, Piedmont, Italy
Tasting Notes: Domenico Clerico's 1998 Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra is one of the most full-throttle wines of the vintage. Still deeply colored, this authoritative wine possesses tons of mineral-infused dark fruit intermingled with French oak and menthol. This remains one of the most tannic and firm wines of the vintage. My impression is that the fruit will fade before the tannins melt away.
98 points Wine Spectator: A brick house of a wine, with so much structure. Strawberry and raspberry tart on the nose. Full-bodied, with big chewy tannins and a fresh fruit finish. This is incredibly youthful and needs much more bottle time.
The Domain: Clerico is one of the most respected names in all Barolo, and his wines are renowned for both winemaking of the highest quality and for exceptional character, deriving from outstanding vineyard holdings in four of the greatest crus of Monforte: Ginestra, Bussia, Pajana and Mosconi. The Barbera d'Alba and Dolcetto d'Alba from this estate are an easy and affordable way to enjoy the genius of this winemaker and represent two of the greatest wines made from those varietals. Clerico's single-cru Barbera d'Alba "Trevigne" is matured briefly in barriques, 40% of which are new. His Dolcetto "Visadi" regularly receives 90 points from the major international publications. Barrique-aged Nebbiolo/Barbera blend "Arte" was the original "super-Piedmont" wine; Marc de Grazia and Clerico devised this blend together in 1983.
Farming Practices: No systemic plant protection products (products that act by systemic transport – through the sap of the plant) are used. Sulfur- and copper-based products are the most prevalent. No herbicides are used (the soil is tilled). When needed, only organic fertilizer (manure) is used. There is little use of fertilizers in order to keep the grape production per vine low. Very careful use of SO2 in the wines.