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.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A memorable old wine & a terrific young one

Teobaldo Cappellano was a gentle giant (He passed away in 2010 at much to early an age). I had the pleasure of meeting him when my wife and I visited his estate in 2008. A friend and terrific wine writer, Alice Feiring, first told me about “Baldo” and suggested that I visit him. She said I would love his wines as they are traditional and amongst the best Baroli you can find in Italy. She was right. I tasted his 2004 & 2005 from the barrel and they were wonderful expressions of old world wine making. The wines displayed incredible purity, balance and earthiness on the palate. They had soul. While I was very impressed with the wines, I was even more impressed by Baldo, a striking figure, well over 6 feet tall with a very mild, gentile and as I perceived sagacious manner. He spoke of the importance of quality ingredients prepared with simplicity, i.e. don’t mess with what Mother Nature has given us, rather help her to express it. His wines certainly underscored his comments. So I began to buy his wines and enjoy them. A few months ago I had an opportunity to purchase a few bottles of his 1964 Barolo from Chambers Street Wines. As providence would have it the day the wine arrived, my good friend Gino (who is in the wine business and is very knowledgeable regarding wine, especially old vintages) stopped by. The 1964 Cappellano Barolo was all I needed to convince him to join my wife and I at dinner that evening. Older bottles of wine are often a crapshoot. Well if this were craps, we kept rolling sevens and elevens. Upon opening, the wine had a rust brown hue as one expects from older wines. The nose and first sip enticed our senses. Within an hour, the rust brown was now a strawberry red that deepened as time passed, something neither of us have ever experienced before. In the second hour the wine became more translucent in color and on the palate it just soared. We were swooped up and transported to Piedmonte. Here was Mother Nature preserved for 47 years. The wine was simply delicious and awesome. It was easily the best old Barolo either of us has ever drunk. The wine continued to evolve with each sip bringing a new delight. This was truly a magnificent wine experience. I only wish I had purchased more than 3 bottles as there appear to me no more around. Fortunately his current wines are available and if you like the wines of Bartolo Mascarello, Giuseppe Rinaldi, Aldo Conterno, Giacomo Contero and Bruno Giacosa you would do well to add Cappellano to your cellar as his wines are of the same caliber.

Louis Dressner an importer of traditionally made wines is the importer of Cappellano wines. He also is the importer of the wines of Alice and Olivier de Moor from the Chablis region of Burgundy in France. Their wines are terrific and a great value. Prior to dinner we drank a 2007 De Moor Chablis Bel Air et Clardy. The wine showed a wonderful balance and purity on the palate with a lengthy citrus finish. $22. Available at Chambers Street Wines.

BTW, if you have not read Alice’s book The Battle for Wine and Love: or How I Saved the World from Parkerization, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. It is a must read for any wine lover.

Until next time,

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