Domenico Clerico’s small estate is situated in Monforte d’Alba, right in the heart of Barolo. Domenico commenced production in 1979, following a brief engagement in the olive oil business. He possesses holdings in some of Monforte d’Alba’s most esteemed crus, including Ginestra, Pajanà, and Mosconi, concentrating his efforts on single-vineyard expressions. Interestingly, like many of the modernist persuasion, Clerico began in traditional mode, utilizing the hallmark vessels of the traditionalists—Slavonian oak casks—as they were readily available to him. The debut vintage of Barolo Pajanà (1990) represented Clerico’s first expression of a 100-percent barrique-aged Barolo. At the time of Pajanà’s release, he was aging Ciabot Mentin Ginestra—the house flagship—wholly in 700-liter tonneaux, a medium he had begun to use for a portion of Ginestra’s aging in the 1985 vintage. While he did transition to 100% barrique aging for his Barolos in vintages subsequent to 1990, he was motivated to do so for pragmatic rather than stylistic reasons. In essence, one of the middle grounds between cask and barrique—tonneaux —proved to be too high-maintenance. While his initial barrique regimen for Barolos featured equal proportions of new and used French barrels, for a brief period of time, Clerico employed new barrique exclusively for all of his Barolos. He soon moderated these absolute tendencies, with new barrels constituting between 35 and 40 percent of his cooperage. At present, Arte—Piemonte’s second Nebbiolo-Barbera blend— is the only wine in Clerico’s portfolio that is aged exclusively in new barrique. But Clerico hasn’t just been working out his involvement with barrique. In fact, his work with maceration periods has been far more dramatic than his experimentation with barrique. In 1993, Clerico’s maceration periods ranged from five to eight days.
Actual bottle from our inventory is pictured. These bottles are in excellent condition for their age. To see other wines currently available from this producer, please click the link with the name of this producer underlined above, just to the right of "Producer."
February 201095 The 1990 Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra has developed a bit since I last tasted it about two years ago. Here the fruit is decidedly richer and more opulent than the 1990, but the early signs of maturity have also set in with slightly more advanced notes of coffee beans, mint and violets. The finish is long, powerful and utterly convincing.
April 199494 The most tannic and closed of the three Clerico 1990 Barolos is the 1990 Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra. Although the wine obviously has great depth and huge reserves of fruit, it is closed aromatically. Most of its richness and power are noticeable at the back of the mouth - always a good sign. Give it 3-4 years of cellaring; it is a candidate for two decades of drinkability. Clerico's performance in 1990 further establishes him as one of Piedmont's superstars. Unfortunately, only microscopic quantities of these wines are available.