Tag Archives: Barolo

Barolo: The Italian Margaux!

7 Jul

Michele Chiarlo “Tortoniano” Barolo, DOCG, Italy 2007

Sample provided by Wine Chateau. $37/bottle (List at $65) 13.5% ABV

I’d been waiting for the perfect storm- a free evening and an Italian dinner- to crack open this Barolo and taste it. I’m a huge fan of the nebbiolo grape, and was nervous about giving the wine a good flavor set to complement. The good news is that I paired it several times, and each was an easy success.

With a fading ruby color and a perfumed nose of wild roses with menthol, this wine hits the palate hard with a full body of red and black fruit and a host of secondary flavors: vegetation, leather, earth, spice box, eucalyptus, and cedar. It leaves a delightfully long, lingering finish on the back and top palates.

photo-7

After the initial rush of red fruit, the acidity cleans the palate nicely and soft tannins invite you back for another sip, luxuriously -which shows obvious care in the winemaking to have such wonderful structure. The depths of flavor becomes obvious with air or being held in the mouth-which is when I realized how easy pairing this wine would be, and it shone nicely with pasta and meat sauce, turkey with stuffing and cranberries, and cheeses from savory to strong. Best pairings  will obviously be with stronger flavors.

What I learned is that I didn’t need to wait to pair this wine. It was seemingly made to complement food and is delicious both at room temperature and slightly chilled.  The bottle kept beautifully over a week with refrigeration and normal aeration, I enjoyed it thoroughly every time.

If you’re a French wine snob, you should know that this wine shares many attributes from the wines of the Margaux region: feminine (soft) in nature, with nice depth, similar flavor palate and structure. The Barolo, however, has better acidity to cleanse the palate and is much lower in price.

If the cost is still a concern, it might be useful to know that wines like this one- DOCG certified, 100% nebbiolo grapes from the Piedmont region and consistently rated in the ‘90’s- I’d normally expect prices in the mid $60 to $90 range for a bottle. Listing at $65, this one can be had under $40/bottle, which is a wonderful value in good Italian wine! If that seems pricey, then tuck away in your mind that this is an ideal bottle for a special meal/occasion or as a reasonably priced gift for someone who adores Italian wine, and you will be thrilled when you open and enjoy it.

Here is a link to the winemaker’s website:

You can also buy it direct from Wine Chateau.

à votre santé!

Win, Place, or Show

20 Mar

Cantine Povero Barolo DOCG 2008, sample from Wine Chateau, $20/bottle.

Cantine Barolo

From the Asti region of Piedmont: the color is deep ruby, evolving into garnet with clear edging. The nose on this wine should only be referred to as “aroma” as I find it intoxicating: rose petals, violet, and hibiscus. Made with 100% nebbiolo grapes, this wine has a surprising initial start. While I expected a more powerful set of flavors, I found this wine to feature gentle red currants and cherry as predominant flavors, medium to delicate in body that still retains enough acidity and tannins to hold its own against a heavy meat sauce or rich cheese. (I actually made spaghetti with a mushroom, onion & meat sauce to try this on my second day with this wine as I expected it would be an ideal pairing. It was!)  I had consistent tasting notes & response over three days and three tastings of this wine.

There is obviously good value in this nebbiolo, a well cared for and crafted wine with a hefty DOCG stamp.  While it works well as is, part of me wishes it had more flavors and some additional notes to allow for more complexity, but I enjoyed it with food in spite of the absence of notes of terroir or wood barrels. At $20 this is a wonderful deal on Barolo and perfect to balance heavier dishes and rich sauces, and worth your consideration.

This wine is like a two year-old racehorse, spirited and agile, needing the next step in guidance to achieve greatness, assuming the owner or vineyard is interested in further development. With some calculation and work, this wine could go from a local track winner to a household name.

You can check out Cantine Povero’s website here, and the direct link to the Barolo here. You can also order this wine direct from Wine Chateau on their page linked here.

à votre santé!

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