Antonio Galloni, The Noble Wines of Southern Italy. Mastroberardino 1928-2006

2/9/2010 3 MILA LETTURE
Antonio Galloni


Antonio Galloni posted the following article on “The Noble Wines of Southern Italy” with reviews from vertical tastings of:
Mastroberardino 1928 to 2006

August 2010

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici 2006 – 93 points
“The 2006 Taurasi Radici offers up red berries, flowers and spices in a pretty, open expression of Taurasi. There is a lovely roundness that develops in the glass, leading to a long, caressing finish. Despite the challenging vintage, this is a very classy, pure and vibrant Taurasi that should develop nicely along the lines of the estate’s other mid-weight vintages…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici 2005 – 93+ points
“The 2005 Taurasi Radici has developed beautifully since I last tasted it a few months ago. There is more fruit, power and sheer structure than I had previously found. The fruit remains youthful and primary, while the tannins and overall balance suggest the 2005 will be a long-lived vintage. Hints of red berries, dried flowers and spices linger on the sublime finish…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva 2004 – 95+ points
“The 2004 Taurasi Radici Riserva bursts from the glass in an explosive display of sheer class that is utterly captivating. Everything here is simply glorious, from the vivid, textured fruit, expressive bouquet and expansive, yet beautifully ripe tannins. This is a broad-shouldered Taurasi blessed with tons of fruit and rich inner perfume that covers every inch of the palate. A heady melange of minerals, smoke, tobacco and ash inform the exceptional finish. The 2004 Riserva will be released in the fall of 2010. Needless to say, it is highly recommended…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva 2003 – 94 points
“The 2003 Taurasi Radici Riserva is a fascinating wine. Initially rather firm, the 2003 softens up beautifully with some time in the glass. To be sure, the incisive 2003 tannins never completely melt away, but there is more than enough fruit to provide balance. This is a fairly dark, brooding Radici Riserva endowed with tons of depth and an imposing personality. Still vibrant and youthful, the 2003 should find its balance and elegance with further bottle age…”
Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva 2001 – 95 points
“The 2001 Taurasi Radici Riserva has begun to show the faintest signs of aromatic complexity in its cocoa, baking spices, leather and black pepper. The 2001 is a deep, powerful Radici Riserva that completely saturates the palate with ripe, dense fruit. The tannins aren’t shy either, but they are beautifully balanced in this large-scaled Riserva. The intensity of the fruit carries through to the long, satisfying finish. The warm, dry summer has given the 2001 wonderful richness without abandoning what is a very classic style of Taurasi similar to the 2004…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva 2000 – 94 points
“The estate’s 2000 Taurasi Radici Riserva is another wine that melds together elements of ripeness and classicism, although here, unlike the 2001, the balance tilts towards opulence. The 2000 Riserva is a big, rich Taurasi endowed with generous fruit, round tannins and phenomenal length. Stylistically, the 2000 is more elegant than the 2003. Red berries, minerals, flowers and licorice come together beautifully in the glass as the 2000 reveals its expressive personality. This should be a fairly accessible Taurasi in another few years. Today it is strikingly beautiful. The 2000 is the first vintage in which Mastroberardino lengthened maceration times back to 20 days or so, which clearly shows in its superior structure and pure pedigree…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva 1999 – 92 points
“The 1999 Taurasi Radici Riserva comes across as surprisingly simple. In 1999 the maceration time was only 15 days and the wine seems to lack the depth and concentration of the best years. Ash, game, spices and dark fruit come together nicely in this accessible, understated Taurasi Radici Riserva…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva 1998 – 91 points
“Like the 1999, the estate’s 1998 Taurasi Radici Riserva is a straightforward offering. The French oak seems to come through a touch more than in other surrounding vintages, suggesting 1998 yielded fruit with less structure and depth to play off the oak. Despite the wine’s freshness, early signs of oxidation have begun to creep in. The supple, forward 1998 is an excellent choice for near-term drinking…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva 1997 – 93 points
“Tobacco, smoke and ash are some of the notes that appear to round out the rich fruit in the 1997 Taurasi Radici Riserva. The vintage produced a fat, full-bodied Taurasi loaded with fruit. The tannins retain elements of roughness, which is just about the only thing that keeps the score from going higher here. This is an impressive showing from a wine that could merit a higher score down the road…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici 1996 – 94 points
“I am floored by the 1996 Taurasi Radici. It is simply breathtaking. Fine, silky tannins buttress dried roses, spices and red berries, all of which meld together in a wine of understated elegance. Taurasi is often referred to as the ‘Barolo of the South’ and this is a wine that captures the essence of that comparison to the fullest. Gorgeous inner perfume develops in the glass over time, inviting a second and then a third taste. This is a thrilling yet delicate wine of the highest level…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici 1994 – 93 points
“There is quite a bit of depth and darkness to the 1994 Taurasi Radici. Tar, leather, tobacco, black pepper and plums flow from this earthy, baritone Taurasi. The round, harmonious finish balances things out nicely on the close…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici 1993 – 92 points
“Readers seeking a mostly mature Taurasi will delight in the 1993 Taurasi Radici. This is a wonderfully nuanced Taurasi laced with notes of anise, herbs, chocolate, leather and licorice that add complexity to the fruit. Soft and supple throughout, the 1993 should offer fine drinking now and over the next 15 or so years, give or take…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici 1992 – 92 points
“The 1992 Taurasi Radici is impressive mostly because it remains so intact, despite conditions that were far less than ideal that year. This small-scaled, soft Taurasi reveals a gorgeous sense of proportion in an accessible style. The wine continues to grow in the glass as it acquires better and better balance over time. To say the 1992 is a revelation is a huge understatement.”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici 1991 – 90 points
“The 1991 Taurasi Radici comes across as a touch rustic, with less fruit than the 1992 and a lithe, somewhat stern personality. Scents of earthiness, game and licorice convey an impression of classicism…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici 1990 – 92 points
“The 1990 Taurasi Radici is a soft, mid-weight offering graced with wild cherries, plums, tobacco and leather, all of which come together on a refined, supple frame. This shows lovely overall balance…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici (Magnum) 1988 – 95 points
“The 1988 Taurasi Radici, tasted from magnum, is simply fantastic. It is everything one could hope for in a Taurasi and so much more, to tell the truth. Still remarkably vibrant, the 1988 offers up roses, mint and dark red cherries, showing incredible vibrancy, power and depth. There is a level of clarity and delineation that elevates the 1988 to its exalted position as one of the finest wines to emerge from these cellars. Simply put, this is a breathtaking Taurasi from Mastroberardino…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici 1987 – 94 points
“The 1987 Taurasi Radici is another impressive wine from the decade of the 1980s. It, too, remains remarkably fresh with layers of red berries, leather, licorice, flowers and spices that meld together beautifully in a harmonious expression of Aglianico. The finish is long and impeccable…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi 1985 – 90 points
“The 1985 Taurasi, along with the 1983, is one of the more forward wines in this tasting. Stylistically, it also seems to favor the more rustic side of Aglianico, as tertiary notes run through the dark fruit, plum, leather, tobacco, incense and soy. The 1985 is an excellent choice for near-term drinking, as further upside potential seems exhausted at this point…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi 1983 – 90 points
“The estate’s 1983 Taurasi is soft and fully evolved. Truffles, leather, licorice, earthiness and dark fruit are some of the scents that emerge from this fully mature, tertiary Taurasi. The 1983 retains surprising richness, but ultimately the wilder side of Aglianico dominates the balance…”
Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva 1982 – 97 points
“The 1982 Taurasi Riserva is another of the utterly magical wines in this lineup. A totally transcendental, hypnotizing wine, the 1982 possesses incredible vibrancy, power and length, with endless layers of mint, dried roses, red fruits and licorice that come together on an impeccably refined frame. The wine’s inner perfume and mineral-driven personality vie for my attention all the way through to the sublime finish. This immortal, towering masterpiece is one of the greatest wines made in Italy over the last 50 years…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva 1980 – 94 points
“The 1980 Taurasi Riserva bears the challenge of following the profound 1982, but it proves more than capable of the task. The 1980 is built on a core of rich, dense fruit that impresses for its depth and staying power. The firm Aglianico tannins are present, but they are totally buried by the sheer lushness of the fruit. This is one of the most famous wines in the estate’s history as a devastating earthquake struck the region in November of that year, while macerations were still under way, damaging many cellars, including those of Mastroberardino. Now, thirty years later, I think it is pretty safe to say the wine has turned out better than anyone might have reasonably expected…”
Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva 1977 – 92 points
“The 1977 Taurasi Riserva has aged spectacularly well. Bright red fruits, flowers and licorice flow effortlessly from this mid-weight Riserva. The earliest signs of tertiary development begin to show with some time in the glass. The 1977 comes across as a smaller-scaled version of the 1968, with a round, harmonious finish that leaves a lasting impression. Once again I am floored by the integrity and purity of the estate’s finest vintages…”
Mastroberardino Taurasi 1973 – 92 points
“The 1973 Taurasi is a touch more advanced than the 1977 Riserva, but also offers a measure of additional textural depth. Mint, spices, dried fruits and all sorts of balsamic nuances meld together in this fairly round, soft Taurasi. The 1973 is in a beautiful place today. Seemingly timeless, it combines elements of maturity while retaining significant freshness and fabulous overall balance. Hints of cocoa, leather and licorice linger on the finish. The 1973 isn’t one of the most complex wines in this line-up, but it is one of the most pleasurable…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva 1968 – 97 points
“The 1968 Taurasi Riserva is simply magnificent. Marvelously dense and ethereal, this classy, breathtaking Taurasi offers up a melange of plums, prunes, licorice, herbs, spices and minerals, showing incredible detail and tons of inner perfume. Amazingly, the 1968 comes across is incredibly youthful and vigorous. Today, it looks to be developing along the lines of the 1958, another fabulous vintage here. The finish retains very attractive elements of classicism and sheer tannic clout. The 1968 Riserva can be enjoyed today, but ideally it is best opened several hours prior to being served. In 1968 the Riserva was made from a blend of vineyards in Montemarano, Piano d’Angelo and Castelfranci, three of the most renowned spots for Aglianico…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva 1961 – 94 points
“The 1961 Taurasi Riserva is another of the wines in this lineup with incredible density for its age. This is a rounder style of Taurasi with more fruit and less bouquet than the 1968. The powerful, virile style of Aglianico is on full display as suggestions of dark fruit, leather, licorice, tobacco and a host of balsamic nuances take shape in the glass. There is a touch of volatile acidity that might disturb some palates, but in the end, the 1961’s virtues far outweigh its flaws…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi 1958 – 97 points
“The 1958 Taurasi is a blockbuster. Utterly mind-blowing in its depth and purity, the 1958 stakes its claim as one of the greatest wines ever made in Italy. Dark fruit, licorice, leather and menthol dance on the palate, leading to an intense, powerful wine. At this stage it appears quite likely that the 1958 will reach its 100th birthday. Today it is nothing short of breathtaking. Hints of dark fruits, menthol, leather and licorice add complexity to the finish…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi 1934 – 92 points
“The 1934 Taurasi is a deeply pitched, intense wine that boasts incredible richness considering its 76 years of age. Dried prunes, leather, tobacco, licorice and spices are woven together in this fully resolved Taurasi. Even though the 1934 is full of tertiary aromas and flavors it also retains just enough freshness to keep things interesting. Sweet scents of pipe tobacco linger on the harmonious finish. This is an unbelievable bottle…”

Mastroberardino Taurasi 1928 – 95 points
“It’s difficult to find words to describe the 1928 Taurasi. Where should I start? The color, a translucent red, is wonderfully intact. But that is just the beginning. The wine flows onto the palate with an extraordinary range of dried roses, berries, licorice and leather, all of which come together in stunning style. There is incredible brightness and purity throughout, while the finish shows remarkable grip. The 1928 Taurasi will live to see its 100th birthday, making it a nearly immortal wine of monumental standing. Readers lucky enough to have tasted this gem know exactly what I mean…”

Ranking delle annate degustate:

97 points:
1968 Riserva
1982 Riserva
95+ points:
2004 Radici Riserva
95 points:
1988 Radici
2001 Radici Riserva
94 points:
1961 Riserva
1980 Riserva
1987 Radici
1996 Radici Riserva
2000 Radici Riserva
2003 Radici Riserva
93+ points:
2005 Radici
93 points:
1994 Radici
1997 Radici Riserva
2006 Radici
92 points:
1973 Riserva
1977 Riserva
1990 Radici
1992 Radici
1993 Radici
1999 Radici Riserva
91 points:
1998 Radici Riserva

90 points:
1983 Riserva
1985 Riserva
1991 Radici