A month ago, I had sampled twenty 2009s from Castiglione Falletto at a pre-release tasting held at the Cantina Comunale. Based on that, 2009 seemed a big, ripe, round vintage. Despite being just released (or just about to be), many of them were already approachable, suggesting a vintage more suitable for early (five to eight years) drinking than for extended aging.
I was not really surprised: 2009 was an odd year. It began with an extremely cold and snowy winter that lingered into a cool spring with higher than usual rainfall. Bud-break was late and flowering was disrupted by persistent rain resulting in uneven ripening of grapes. Summer arrived suddenly in early May with intense heat that continued through August and with periodic interruptions of rain. Temperatures began to drop in September but still remained higher than usual with . . . Continue reading →
Each day after the journalists have tasted blind, the wines are put out and producers are welcome to come and taste.
Barbaresco 2010 was next on the line-up, more than 80 of them spread over two days, from the three municipalities that make up the zone: Barbaresco, Neive and Treiso. Regardless of their numerous stylistic differences, the wines fell into two basic groups: Some were dark, red-black, inky and opaque, with pronounced alcohol, an earthy aroma of dull, over-ripe fruit, and harsh tannins. The others were brick red with orange highlights and a nice shiny transparency, a subtle inviting aroma, and a mouthful of ripe cherry, strawberry and/or cranberry fruit framed by firm, supple, pleasantly astringent tannins. Wines that fell into the first group seemed heavy and prematurely old, those in the second young and promising.
Same grape variety, same appellation, same year but two totally different styles; I was a bit perplexed so asked a . . . Continue reading →
In the Trenches of Barbaresco and Roero
The first day of Nebbiolo Prima: 20 Roeros and 57 Barbarescos, all from the 2010 vintage. So much for a soft opening.
The games begin in Roero, the black sheep of the three great nebbiolo appellations. While both Barbaresco and Barolo are in the Langhe, the Roero is on the other side of the Tanaro River. Both Barbaresco and Barolo must be made from 100% nebbiolo; Roero can have up to 5% of other grape varieties added to it. And while the Barolo and Barbaresco areas were formed in the late Miocene Epoch (about 16-11 million years ago), the Roero is the newer kid on the geologic block, dating back five million years (more or less) to the Pliocene. The Roero hills are lower and more spread out but pointier—cone-heads compared . . . Continue reading →
This weekend, the first ever “Marathon of Barolo and the Castles of the Langhe” took place: 42 kilometers divided between two days, up and down hills, through vineyards in 9 of the 11 towns which comprise the Barolo wine zone. Today’s race started at Barolo, circled the big castle of the village of Castiglione Falletto, down a narrow stairway right by the town’s Cantina Comunale (which I manage) before descending through the steep Scarrone vineyard to Serralunga d’Alba and the finish line at Monforte. After the race, runners replenished themselves with a plate of tajarin and, perhaps, a glass or two of wine. Unwilling to wait until the finish, some made a mid-race pit stop at the Cantina door to gulp a half-glass of Barolo instead of water. As one said, “Well, it’s the Barolo marathon, no?”. . . Continue reading →
Fresh from October Mountain…here’s my latest recipe for young ramps.
One slice People’s Bakery Four Seed Spelt Bread
Six young ramps, cleaned
1 tbsp Olive oil
Shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano
Chop ramps, keeping stems and leaves separate. Heat an iron skillet, add olive oil then add chopped ramp stems. Sauté for two minutes, then add chopped ramp leaves and continue to cook until tender (about two more minutes). Meanwhile, toast bread. Spread sautéed ramps and olive oil on toast, top with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.
Check it out with a tart West County Cider.