Patricia Wells, in Trattoria, says that osso bucco is a dish capable of bringing you to your knees. To accompany it, she recommends a winter wine such as Gattinara. I agree on both counts and might add that this well-aged Gattinara brought me to my knees again and again. The occasion was Donna's and my 36th wedding anniversary. Though I had no 1973 wine in the cellar, this 35-year-old Nebbiolo was clearly up to the task.
The color was very light, not brown but almost pink when poured as a taste while the meal was cooking. I remember when this Gattinara was almost black, but over the years those tannins have formed a thick crust on the side of the bottle. The bouquet is ethereal; I could just sit here and smell all night and be happy--roses, cherries, cassis and scents too complex to identify. A decade ago, the bouquet of this wine was powerful and somewhat rustic, with dark licorice notes; tonight, it is very finely toned and elegant. In the mouth, there is more of the same. The body is medium to light but not as fragile as the color suggests. There is a silky texture and a fierce concentration that tells you this wine is determined never to fall apart. The cherry flavors take over on the mid-palate and long finish with subtle hints of cassis and roses to give contrast, interest and structure. This is a truly great wine. If I were scoring, I would give it at least 96/100.