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.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2005 Barolo

This past Monday 6 Nebbiolo-loving Vinous members met at Via Emilia Ristorante in NYC where owner/chef William Matiello has been preparing and serving the traditional dishes from his hometown of Modena in the Emilia-Romangna region Italy for the past 15 years.  I have been here on multiple occasions and have thoroughly enjoyed it each time.   On this evening we put ourselves in his hands and he did not let us down.



Gnocco Fritto: puffy fritters with prosciutto di parma, sopressata, coppa & mortadella
Tigelle:  little tile-bake mountain bread  served with soft cheese, cold cuts and pancetta spread
Borlengo:  Thin broad-pan bread with pancetta spread, rosemary & Parmigianno Reggiano


Modena style Lasagna
Homemade Tortellini in a country meat sauce
Caramelle di Castelvetro.  Candy-shaped pasta stuffed with spinach, ricotta & prosciutto, served with butter and arugula sauce.


Scallopini of veal with asparagus and shaved pargmigiano.

I neglected to take any photos but if you click here it will take you to my previous post with plenty of pictures and descriptions of most of the food we had tonight.


We decided on the 2005 Barolo vintage for our tasting.  As is our custom we each bring one or two bottles to share.  Iggy graciously orchestrated the wines into 3 flights for the evening.  All wines were open a few hours prior to drinking.

According to Vinous founder Antonio Galloni, “…this (2005) is a medium-bodied style of Barolo, with about 1% less alcohol than has become common over recent years.”  He goes on to state that " ...wines should peak at around 15 years of age and possibly continue to hold for sometime considering their slightly higher than normal acidity levels.”

Before imbibing on the Barolo, we began the evening with NV Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru (disgorged July 2014) that Tony brought along.  I have only had this Egly bubbly a couple of times and I have enjoyed it immensely each time.  I love its yeasty and rustic palate.  A great start to any evening.  $50.  Wine-Searcher.

First Flight

2005 Giovani Canonica Barolo Paiagallo (Barolo).  The Paiagallo vineyard is a fairly small hillside vineyard about 300-400 meters up the slope above the town of Barolo.  I believe that the only other producer to bottle a Paiagallo is Fontanafredda.  Canonica did not begin to export his Barolo until 2004.  I have enjoyed the soft tannins, balance and complexity of this old world-style Barolo on may occasions over the past 4 years. Tonight's wine unfortunately did not fare as well as it appeared to be a bit off with a musty palate that distracted from the fruit and the finish. From previous experience I would think (hope) that this is a problem for this particular bottle.   2011 available.  Wine-Searcher. $81

2005 Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo Monprivato (Castiglione).  Outstanding bottle.  Tannins have begun to soften.  Medium-bodied at the moment, this should take on some weight and additional finesse in the coming years.  Marc, took the remainder of the bottle home and reported that the next night the wine showed even better. on day two.  Not surprising as my recent experiences with younger Nebbiolo are leading me to the conclusion that they really benefit from extended airing time.  $228 (Magnum).   NY Wine Warehouse.

Second Flight

2005 Domenico Clerico Barolo Percristina (Monforte).  The only modern wine of the group and it showed, at least for me.  While the wine is not difficult to drink with its soft tannins and balance, for me it lacked the depth, elegance and finesse of tonight's counterparts.  $127. Wine-Searcher.

2005 Vietti Barolo Lazzarito (Serralunga).  Terrific old world Barolo. Round and delicious wine with terrific balance, complexity, focus and a lengthy and elegant finish.   This will age beautifully over the next couple of decades.   $148.  Wine-Searcher.

Third Flight

2005 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia (Serralunga).  Very young and still very tight.  Pedigree is eminently evident here, but patience of another few years at least is needed. $153  Wine-Searcher.

2005 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletto (Serralunga)  OMG was this good even at this very early age. Round and delicious wine that soared from the glass with the complexity, balance and focus in perfect harmony and finished with elegance and length.  Easily the wine of the night in my opinion and the consensus of the group.   $210.  Wine-Searcher.

2005 Massolino Barolo Riserva Vigna Rionda (Serralunga).  Like the Casino Francia, still a bit tight, but the fruit began to open as it sat in the glass.  Medium-bodied at the moment, it may take on some additional weight with time.  Very enjoyable Barolo.  $118.  Wine-Searcher.

We finished the evening with 1985 Moulin Touchais Coteaux du Layon (Loire).  Made from 100% Chenin Blanc, the wine had a beautiful golden straw hue and a pleasant viscous-honeyed palate medium body.  Finish was considerably shorter than my previous bottle of a year ago.  $50.  Wine-Searcher.

I really enjoy drinking wine with Vinous board members.  No pretense here, just camaraderie, good wine and lots of fun.


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