Aged Barolo and Barbaresco live up to their international reputation but lesser known local varieties such as Arneis, Dolcetto and Barbera can be fantastic value in the hands of great wine makers.
Thirty-two guests attended this tasting, which was held at Giovanni Rana’s swish and airy new restaurant, in the Regents Place development on Euston Road. The tasting was designed to give an overview of the various wines of Piedmont. Most people have heard of Barolo (made from 100% Nebbiolo), arguably the region’s most famous wine and one that inspires wine buffs to launch into rapturous praise of its unique character, complexity and aging potential. But the region is also host to a range of other grape varieties that produce great value delicious drinking wines and the evening set out to show some of these too.
Rebecca Nightingale of Montforte Wines and Roger Barlow of Gerard Seel kindly introduced the region and presented the wines on the evening. The restaurant provided a superb selection of antipasti and some memorable pasta dishes that complimented the wines perfectly, proving just what food friendly wines these are.
The first wine sampled was a white Arneis from Roero by the fabulously named Gigi Rosso. This wine was fresh with a persistent lingering and unique flavour. Aromas of flowers and unripe pear, really very well balanced with a long finish. Lovely and very popular amongst the guests.
Round 1: Dolcetto (introduced by Rebecca)
- Dolcetto d’Alba ‘Duset’ 2010 by Le Vigne di Ca Nova. Fresh, with morello cherries and savoury notes. A wine to drink in his youth as a light and refreshing lunchtime drink.
- Dolcetto d’Alba Rutuin 2007 by Caibot Berton. Slightly older, this wine was less fruity but slightly more complex on the palate with a note of golden Virginia tobacco. At five years old, it’s probably reaching its peak. A lovely, tasty, moreish drop. These wines have fairly low tannin but are nevertheless fresh and good with food.
Round 2: Barbera (introduced by Rebecca, contrasting oaked and unoaked)
- Barbera d’Alba 2010 by La Licenziana. Fresh with lots of acidity, a wine that really reacted well to the prosciutto and salami on the table. On the nose, fresh, light strawberry and red fruits. Again, a wine for drinking in its youth.
- Barbera superiore ‘Bric de Maschi’ 2007 by Le Vigne di Ca Nova. Delivered a slightly smoky nose with vanilla, perhaps chocolate and still plenty of cherry fruit. Absolutely delicious on the palate with sticky crust of cherry tart and savoury notes. Fantastic value for money and a delicious drop of wine from 2007.
Round 3: Barolo (introduced by Roger)
- Barolo Roggeri 2007 by Caibot Berton. In Piedmont, where Barolo has a reputation for huge tannins that need many years in the bottle to tame, 2007 is thought to be a very approachable and friendly year with lovely soft integrated tannins. The Roggeri proves the rule with absolutely delicious complex notes of fruit, classic tar and floral aromas on the nose. In the mouth, again gorgeous, still plenty of tannin but smooth and tasty. This wine has structure and hints of how it may develop in complexity with age. No wonder Decanter gave this five stars and rated it top for value for money in recent review of Barolo 2007.
- Barolo Serralunga d’Alba 2007 by Fontanafredda. Also a 2007 and if it if anything even more approachable with notes of tobacco and mushrooms and a little liquorice on the nose. On the palate nice, fresh and fruity with a bit of spice and very soft integrated tannins. Perhaps a little brief but a really approachable and tasty Barolo. In fact a wine that many people found easier to enjoy than the slightly more structured Roggeri.
These lines were accompanied by a great range of pasta including pappardelle al ragù d’anatra (duck) and porcini ravioli, again proving how well these winds even in relative youth go with food.
Round 4: Style and Age – Barbaresco and Barolo
The final round of wines contrasted a Barbaresco with an older Barolo. Barbaresco wines are considered again to be more approachable more soft and feminine softer and less fiercely tannic. On the other hand Barolo is famed for the way it delivers a delicate cocktail of aromas and flavours once the tannin has reduced with age.
- Barbaresco Bric Balin 2005 by Moccagatta. This single vineyard Nebbiolo has lovely savoury notes then toffee, condensed milk some floral scents perhaps a little bit of the famous tar, complex. In the mouth, long, savoury, sweet and delicious. Really an outstanding wine. Still young, but with beautifully integrated tannins and that great long future ahead of it.
- Barolo Carobric, 1997 by Paulo Scavino. A big name in Barolo and a blend of three of their best vineyards. Stealing the show and providing a brilliant lesson in just what the Barolo can deliver, but even at 15 years of age it still needed time to open up in the glass. Notes of tar, earthiness, a bit of mushroom and a whiff of violets on top complex notes. In the mouth, still quite tannic but slowly opening up and providing more of those savoury sweet notes with a core of ripe fruit bellow. Changing flavours, complex and persistent still, with many years ahead of it. Fantastic.
We finished the evening with a glass of Moscato d’Asti 2010, Santa Vittoria. Another white, lightly fizzy and sweet, but also fresh to cleanse the palate and end a hedonistic evening.
Kiran’s wines of the evening
- Barolo Carobric, 1997 by Paulo Scavino (£86.00 – Fine & Rare)
- Barbaresco Bric Balin 2005 by Moccagatta. (£32.75 – Gerrard Seel)
Kiran’s best value wines
- Barbera superiore ‘Bric de Maschi’ 2007 by Le Vigne di Ca Nova (£12.25 Montforte Wines)
- Dolcetto d’Alba Rutuin 2007 by Caibot Berton (£9.95 – Gerrard Seel)
Must have for Kiran’s cellar
- Barolo Roggeri 2007 by Caibot Berton (£29.95– Gerrard Seel)