I received a request from a member (also a very close friend of mine) to taste one of our most precious holdings – Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano Riserva 1982. Wonderful!!! Wine is always the most enjoyable (and economical) when you share it with other like-minded folks. We put together a Piedmont Dinner, pairing simple Cantonese food with some of the best Piedmont wines. To make it a good “exercise” for our guests, we added three more bottles so that we can contrast the few major “concepts” of Piedmont wines.
1) Barolo vs. Barbaresco – when the Queen meets the King
We started the dinner with Pio Cesare Barbaresco 2001 and Pio Cesare Barolo 2001, one of the best vintage in the past decade. The Barbaresco presented “herself” very expressively, to an extent that some guests felt that it was almost like a new world wine. Her nose was fresh with great energy, and the tannin was still a bit chewy. The more gentlemen Barolo presented “himself” in a powerful but subtly way, well integrated and impressed us punch by punch. The guests had a preference for the Barolo from this KO. Both wines can surely give us different pleasure in few more years to come.
2) Best of the Best – “first growth” Barbaresco from the legendary 1982
Continuing our mission, the star of the night emerged – Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano Riserva 1982. Arguably the best vineyard in all of Barbaresco, this Santo Stefano Riserva was pure, delicate, with an overall balance and extraordinary length. Funny enough, there were many different adjectives used to describe the tertiary aroma – pu’er tea, truffle, licorice, Chinese medicine. We were expecting a bit more fruity flavors, (similar to the Barbaresco Asili Riserva 2007 previously mentioned on our blog), somehow this wasn’t showing as much as last night. Still an excellent and lovely wine…Bravo to Giacosa!
3) Barolo Boys vs. Traditionalists – the new wave in Piedmont
To complete the exercise, one must include the star of Barolo Boys and the wine we picked was Luciano Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne 2003. Aged for 24 months in French oak tonneaux (500 litre capacity), Sandrone’s Barolo is often more approachable at youth. The tannins are more refined and rounded; full-bodied yet soft-textured, with plenty of ripe fruit and spices. This was my second tasting of the wine within a week, often a favorite of the guests. The more wood influence in this wine does indeed make it more accessible and appealing.
The tricky part of dealing with Barolo and Barbaresco is when to open the bottle, and how long to decant it. We did not use any decanter. For the Giacosa, the bottle was opened at 9:30am, with a “mini-double-decanting” (50 ml of wine was poured into a glass), and recorked (with the wine in glass poured back) at 11:30am. The remaining three wines were opened at 11:30am, left in bottle in full and recorked at 3:30pm. 1 hour prior to dinner, all wines were opened again. The Sandrone would have probably benefited with 1 or 2 more hours in bottle (or even a decanter if consumed and opened immediately prior to dinner).
A great exercise last night, and thanks for the members who joined us. This was our first wine dinner event and we plan to organize more in future. If you have any wines that you would like to try, please let us know via email or leave us a message on facebook.