2006 Barolo Pajana Domenico Clerico

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Average critic rating : 96.0 points



The 2006 Barolo Pajana reveals incredible aromatic complexity and intensity, something this particular site isn’t always capable of. There is lovely definition to be found as this classic feeling, mid-weight Pajana opens up in the glass. Layers of ripe dark fruit, spices, flowers, licorice and minerals develop seamlessly through to the close. I am floored by the wine’s volume, depth and length. Quite simply, this is a magnificent effort from Clerico. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2031. ||It’s great to see Domenico Clerico doing better after what has been a very difficult struggle with illness. My recent tasting with Clerico was amazing, as I had a chance to survey all of his Barolos in verticals covering vintages 2004 through 2008, which provided quite a bit of perspective on the relative qualities of this series of important vintages. I have done similar tastings here once – sometimes twice – a year for many years, and have always needed a bit of a break afterwards, as Clerico’s wines are massively tannic and structured when young, which, when coupled with Monforte’s trademark acidity, can tire the palate. Not this time. What has changed? For starters, the move toward longer fermentations/macerations and the reduction in the use of French oak have begun to yield wines of incomparable finesse and elegance. Tasting the vintages side by side, it is apparent that 2004 – as great as those wines are – represents the end of an era at Clerico. The 2005s signal a move towards a more elegant style (much of that is due to the vintage itself, rather than to changes in winemaking) but it is the 2006s that show the first true results of the new approach, and the wines are simply breathtaking. Clerico’s 2007s, however, may be even better as they are shaping up to be profound, utterly mind-bending Barolos. And as for the 2008s, they are still young, but are so promising I can hardly wait to taste them again. For readers who are curious, the 2004s here are superb but are shutting down rapidly in bottle. The 2005s continue to put on weight, yet they lack the sheer stuffing and depth of the 2006s. The 2007s are rich, sensual, perfumed and utterly thrilling, while the 2008 are a touch more transparent and classic. Watching these wines evolve over the coming years will be fascinating. Sadly, long-time cellarmaster Massimo Conterno recently left the winery after spending nearly his entire career at Clerico’s side. Conterno is like a son to Clerico and his departure remains a painful loss. Still, change is often invigorating, and I can only hope that will be the case here as well.||A Marc de Grazia Selection, various American importers, including: de Grazia Imports; tel. (417) 732-4200; Michael Skurnik, Syosset, NY; (516) 677-9300, Estate Wines Ltd., San Rafael CA; (415) 492-9411, Giuliana Imports, Boulder CO; (303) 547-6343, Robert Houde Wines, Bensenville IL; (630) 422-1119 Wine Advocate.February, 2010

A Monforte estate founded in the late 1970s, the wines of Domenico Clerico have been famous almost from the start. This is Barrique Barolo’ and exceptionally well-executed to boot.

“I find a spirituality and character in these wines that puts them in a class with few peers.” Antonio Galloni

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