The 2008 Barolo Ciabot Mentin is a little more interesting than the Pajana, but not much. It shows good energy and length, but never seems to truly blossom in the way the best vintages typically do. Flowers, mint, licorice and red berries are woven into the long, saline finish. Today the Ciabot Mentin comes across as compact, austere and lacking fruit. It shows good up-front energy, but then tails off abruptly on the mid-palate. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2022. It was served after the 1982 Conterno Monfortino and 1982 Giacosa Collina Rionda. A wine very few of us had ever seen, much less tasted. I thought I might have tasted this vintage once before, but it wasn’t a great bottle. This one was. No, it was monumental. The wine? Domenico Clerico’s 1982 Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra. Talk about stunning. Clerico’s 1982 had no problem hanging out with the big guns. It is amazing to think how the 1982 was made. The 1982 Ciabot was fermented in an outdoor shack. For the malos, Clerico used three used 14-hectoliter casks he bought from Aldo Conterno. The wine was subsequently aged in used 30-hectoliter barrels that were reconditioned from their first life, when they had been used to make beer. Fast forward to today. It was a bit of a shock this year to see Domenico Clerico in his huge new winery, which is still under construction. I have so many fond memories of tasting in the old cellar. No one is as passionate or generous as Clerico in showing his wines. And that’s the way it has always been. Even when I was just a young consumer visiting Piemonte on the weekends, the door was always open. Any day, any time. Back to the present. The massive steel and concrete building not only seems out of place in the landscape, it is also far removed from traditional Piedmontese values. The scale alone is just bizarre, making it difficult to find someone, much less communicate. As for the wines, 2008 was clearly a difficult vintage here. Some of that is probably because of Clerico’s health struggles over the last few years, but the new cellar has also been a massive undertaking made all the more difficult by the poor timing of the project. The 2008s are underwhelming wines that fall short of the standard Clerico has established over the last three decades. The day to day is clearly much more difficult for Clerico now, so it is up to his team to step up and prove they are up to the challenge.