About this Blog

The blog focuses on the essence of wine and food, not how many points or stars it receives. The opinions are mine and should be taken only as that, an opinion not gospel.

Like many collectors, initially I was very much influenced by wine ratings. I purchased wines based on points, even if I had never tasted the wine. And it was much worse than that. I would drink a wine with a high rating, not like it, yet since it was highly rated I’d rationalize that I did not yet appreciate the wine, or that my palate was not sophisticated enough to understand the wine. How’s that for lunacy? As a result my cellar grew in all directions while my palate narrowed. By the time I realized the style of wine that I enjoyed, my cellar abounded with wines whose styles I did not enjoy. All of these wines were very highly rated, just not my cup of tea, or glass of wine to be more accurate. Fortunately I was able to sell many of these wines to those who either enjoyed them or wanted highly rated wines. Don’t misunderstand, I am not against wines with high ratings, in fact I own many. It is just that I now purchase wines based on the producer, the style and my palate, not the rating. Nor do I shun reading reviews. I very much respect Antonio Galloni, Alan Meadows, Eric Asimov and John Gilman and read their reviews routinely. I pay attention to what they write, not the points they award.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

2008 Barolo

A couple of weeks ago my friend Emil and I joined 30+ Vinous premium subscribers for the Terroirs of Barolo - Masterclass Tasting & Dinner held at Bar Boulud in NYC. Antonio Galloni and his Vinous team put on the event.  As with previous events, it was a first class, high quality tasting that focused on 12 Baroli from the 2008 vintage.  A late harvest in 2008 produced a number of gracious, medium-bodied wines that are gorgeous examples of the feminine elegance the Nebbiolo grape embodies.  While many of the wines are approachable today, they have excellent acidity that will allow them to age gracefully for a couple of decades.

Before getting to the Baroli we began with 2012 Pattes Loup Chablis at the pre-dinner cocktail reception.  This as been one of my favorite Chablis' since I first tasted it last year.  The wine was pristinely pure with impeccable balance and acidity on the palate.  This is a great Chablis at a remarkable price ($40).  The only problem is that it is a highly allocated wine, and therefore not easy to come by.  Grapes The Wine Company.

Flight One

Squash Soup, Burnt Rosemary Cream, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

G.D. Vajra Barolo Bricco delle Viole
G.B. Burlotto Barolo Cannubi
Scavino Barolo Riserva Rocche dell’Annunziata
Roberto Voerzio Barolo Cerequio

For my palate, the Vajra and Burlotto were where it was at.  Both were superb examples of traditional Barolo at its finest.  Both displayed great focus and finesse and the longer they sat in the glass, the more they continued to evolve. The finish for both was long and elegant.  While these can be enjoyed now,  I plan on letting mine sleep for 3 or 4 more years in the cellar.

Scavino and Voerzio have never been favorites of mine.  I found both to be too oaky and too modern on the palate.

Flight Two

Roasted Duck Breast Braised Leg, House Made Gnocchi, Root Vegetables

G. Mascarello Barolo Monprivato
Vietti Barolo Rocche
Aldo Conterno Barolo Cicala
Elio Grasso Barolo Ginestra Casa Mate

With the exception of the Cicala each of these wines drank with elegance, finesse and focus. The Vietti & the Grasso were, IMO, more open for business than the others in this flight.  The Cicala was closed and stayed that way throughout the evening.  The Monprivato had nice fruit, but it never fully blossomed.

Flight Three

Roasted Lamb Leg, Stuffed Lamb Belly, Confit Potato, Baby Leek, Hen of the Wood

Brovia Barolo Ca’Mia
Bartolo Mascarello Barolo
Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia
Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate-Le Coste

For me this was clearly the flight of the night.  Each of these wines drank with that old world elegance that places Barolo amongst the great wines of the world.  It is enough to say that these were simply round and delicious wines with tons of soul that will provide enjoyable drinking for a few decades.

I thought that the Bartolo Mascarello and Giuseppe Rinaldi were the absolute stars of the evening.   The interesting thing is that both of these wines were the only two that are made from the blending of fruit from different vineyards, while the others were single vineyard wines.

In addition to the wines it was great to meet fellow Barolo enthusiasts and Vinous subscribers. They, along with Antonio, are a great resource, especially if you like Barolo and Barbaresco.  Do yourself a favor and check out the Vinous site and add some 2008 Baroli to your cellar.  You will be happy you did!


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