94 Points, James Suckling
92-95 Points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
92-95 points Antonio Galloni:
The 2011 Barolo Gavarini Vigna Chiniera is a drop-dead gorgeous beauty. Sweet floral and spice notes meld into bright red stone fruits and mint, all supported by fine, chalky tannins that give the wine its sense of energy and tension. Rose petal, mint and perfumed red berries wrap around the textured finish. The 2011 is vivid, alive and crystalline in its beauty. There is plenty of potential here. (9/2014)
Gianluca Grasso's 2011 Barolos are more than worthy follow-ups to the stellar 2010s. Grasso gave his 2011 Barolos 23 days on the skins. I tasted the 2011s from tank just prior to bottling. In 2011, Grasso did not bottle the Riserva Rüncot, instead that fruit went into the Langhe Nebbiolo. -- Antonio Galloni, September 2014
94 points James Suckling:
A wine with lots of berry and chocolate character plus hints of walnuts. Full body, soft and velvety tannins and a flavorful finish. Juicy finish. As good as the 2010. Better to drink in 2018 (4/2015)
We just received our allocation from the West Coast importer agent. I'm always excited to alert the Italian Faithful about Elio Grasso offerings especially the Baroli Crus based on their stupendous track record and their ability to age in the cellar. I never miss an opportunity to taste their wines when poured in our area. Once again their offerings showed brilliantly at 2015 Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri Road Show in San Francisco this past Spring.
It never fails that this "Ginestra Casa Mate" and "Gavarini Chiniera" are standouts and always the most traditional offerings from a producer that I would ultimately put in the "modernist camp". Elio Grasso passed the winemaking duties over to his son Gianluca a few years ago and he's not missed a beat since the transition. This is evident with the 2010s and now 2011s that are hitting retail shelves.
The 2010s Crus were some of the highest rated by Suckling and Galloni and I concur with Suckling that the 2011 "Ginestra" pulls up a great follow-up and is a tad more expressive out of the gate than the legendary 2010. Galloni rated this effort 92-95 out of barrel and re-calibrated his review with a solid 94-point rating back in March. Galloni summed it up best: "Gorgeous brightness, tension and energy throughout" which usually equates to a wine that can set up well for long cellaring.
95+ point Baroli for under $100 is getting harder and harder to find, but this offerings is priced quite well considering a handful of retailers are listing the wine in the $85 to $120 range. Factor in our affordable flat rate shipping and free storage options and this is a compelling offer for serous Italian collectors.
Elio Grasso wines are always on my short list for clients wanting to seek the best from the Langhe hills. The Baroli Crus time and time again capture the true essence of the Langhe. Their home base of Monforte d'Alba offers the Grassos amazing vineyards to work with. They have a sizable chunk of the "Ginestra" cru which they have been making since 1978. Even with an aggressive re-planting program, the vines are now 40 years of age. The popping minerality in the wine is a direct correlation to the clay and limestone soil found in this vineyard.
Time to keep the Elio Grasso vertical going or if you're a newbie, then it's time to add a blue-chip performer to the collection. Our allocation for this highly touted wine is extremely limited so act fact to secure yours. Molte Grazie!
Currently, the Elio Grasso estate has a productive vineyard holding of 14 hectares. The cellar uses only estate-grown grapes from varieties traditionally grown, with excellent results, in the Langhe hill country near Alba.
Reflecting the imprint of the vineyard where the fruit was grown in order to give our wines their unique personality is the goal that we - myself, my wife Marina and our son, Gianluca - strive to achieve, with the invaluable assistance of our consultant wine technician, Piero Ballario.
We believe that to be acknowledged first as grape farmers, and then as wine producers, is the best way to honour, and continue the labours of, those who have faced before us the challenges that working with nature and her products, like wine, entails. This, and a desire to be true to ourselves, prompts us propose, without presumption, the convictions and conduct shared by all Langhe farming families, characteristics worth preserving and which we believe make the difference.