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.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Aged Nebbiolo Lunch at I Trulli

For the past 20 years I have been on an incredible wine journey.  Not only have I learned a great deal about wine, but I have also experienced first hand the passion and generosity of producers and fellow wine enthusiasts alike.  Recently I had the pleasure of participating in an old Nebbiolo lunch at I Trulli Ristorante, NYC.  The lunch was organized by Ken Vastola, who’s passion and knowledge of Nebbiolo may well have no peer. (If you want to learn about Nebbiolo you must visit his blog The Fine Wine Geek).  I met Ken through Antonio Galloni’s website, Vinous Media.  Ken invited me along with fellow Vinous members, Iggy, Ben and Carl to join him and Jeremy Parzen for this incredible tasting.  Each of us brought along a bottle or two of Nebbiolo based wine.  Jeremy is a food and wine historian, Italian translator and former rock musician who created a blog, Do Bianchi (Two White Wines) a number of years ago.  As he says on his website, “Do Bianchi’s mission is to offer non-Italian speakers otherwise inaccessible insights into Italian gastronomic culture. For Italophiles and Italians, Do Bianchi provides cogent historical perspective into wines and foods whose cultural value is often taken for granted”.  

As a daily reader, I find it to be incredibly insightful and a fantastic source for many amazing Italian wines.  Jeremy was in town representing the Franciacorta Wine Consortium. Franciacorta is a small wine-producing area in Lombardy, northern Italy. It is famous for its high-quality sparkling wines, which are made very much in the image of Champagne. I have enjoyed many wines, especially Bellavista, from the region.

I always find the food at I Trulli to be really good, as it was today.

Beef Meatballs in tomato sauce

Grilled baby octopus with potatoes, pickled beans and black olives

Buffalo mozzarella, roasted peppers, arugula

Malloreddus, saffron dumplings of Sardinia with pork sausage and tomato

Homemade Lasagna

Malloreddus                                     Homemade Lasagna

We began with 2012 SoloUva Franciacorta.  From Franciacorta, this was a lively sparkler made with 100% Chardonnay that displayed nice balance and acidity.  What is different here is that SoloUva (which I believe translates to only grape) does not add sugar to the secondary fermentation of the wine. Instead they freeze the grape must after the pressing.  The frozen must is added to the wine prior to the second fermentation.  I believe it will sell for around $25 a bottle when it reaches the U.S. market.

Pic courtesy of Jeremy Parzen
2010 Borgo Del Tiglio Studio Di Bianco.  This was the only non Nebbiolo wine.  I brought it along. I first learned of the wine in one of Jeremy's blogs.  It has become one of my favorite white wines and I thought Jeremy would enjoy having it again. The wine is a blend of 50% Friulano, 25% Sauvignon and 25% Riesling.  It is a stunning.  Upon pouring into the glass the gorgeous crystalline yellow hue and stony bouquet set high expectations, which are fulfilled with each sip. On the palate it showed great complexity with lush, pure fruit and soft minerality. The wine evolved with each sip. This has the acidity to last at least another decade. It finished with great length.  A wine with soul!

1967 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco.  Reddish brown, this wine was past its prime, but nevertheless it was fun to drink as a bit of fruit was still evident.  I can only imagine what this wine was like at its peak.

1978 Oddero Barolo.  Brownish-red hue and an enticing, earthy aroma.  This was very much alive and kept opening in the glass.  The palate displayed great depth, complexity and focus and finished with considerable length.  A great old bottle of wine.

1979 Giacosa Barolo Le Rocche di Castiglione Falletto.  This was simply stunning.  Slight bricking but for the most part a beautiful clear and transparent red hue that emitted the essence of the Piedmontese terroir on the nose.  A round and delicious wine that showed no signs of decline.

      '67 Bruno Giacosa                                      '78 Oddero                            '79 Bruno Giacosa

1990 Produttori del Barbaresco Riserva Pora Barbaresco.  Another stunning wine that is drinking at or near its peak, with no signs of letting up any time soon.  Lots of earth and vibrant fruit on a balanced and focused palate.  I am always amazed at the incredibly high quality of wines that comes from this co-operative.

1998 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia.   This was just as glorious as the bottle I had at a Vinous group tasting a short while ago.  As I said then and repeat now this is a round and delicious wine with fantastic purity, balance, finesse and focus.  The finish was lengthy and elegant.  A wine with soul!

1999 Giuseppe Mascarello Monprivato.  I have found many Monprivato to be hit and miss lately.  My last bottle of this was in 2010 and it was pretty much shut down.  Today however was a different story.  The wine was back on track.  Earthy bouquet and nicely balanced palate with a long and elegant finish.

 '90 Produttori Poro                                      '98 Cascina Francia                      '99 Monprivato

It was a great pleasure for me to get to meet Jeremy and share these great wines with fellow Vinous members.   Jeremy's post on this remarkable lunch can be found here.