Friday, July 7, 2017

Marchesi di Montecristo Nerello del Bastardo, 1999

This "bastard" wine was purchased for about $6 at Trader Joe's many years ago. I immediately fell in love with it, considering it an extremely inexpensive way to enjoy the pleasures of Piedmont Nebbiolo. The label strongly hints at Nebbiolo, calling it a Super Piedmontese. "When winemakers in Piemonte wish to make Barolo or Barbaresco, the laws governing these wines only allow a certain be classified as Barolo or Barbaresco DOCG. I Superi (the excess) can only be sold as table wine even though the products are practically the same."

Now well aged, this inexpensive Vino de Tavola is still showing remarkable traits of Nebbiolo from a very good vintage in the Piedmont. The color has the characteristic orange/rust color that in a Cabernet or Syrah might be the sign of old age; not so with Nebbiolo. This wine still has plenty of life ahead of it. Smells tannic but also has the delicate scent of roses and dark cherries. I poured right after popping the cork, not really giving the wine proper time to aerate--essential for Nebbiolo. Although it's showing well now, I expect it to show even better tomorrow night. On the palate, it's characteristically dry and dark toned. Lots of power and lots of beauty. Yes, I am thinking Barolo...for $6 a bottle!

The label speaks of "adding just a touch of something secret." Others have speculated about a blend of Nebbiolo/Cabernet or Nebbiolo/Sangiovese. But since the wine is named "Nerello," why not Nerello Mascalese, a grape grown on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily and, in the hands of the right winemaker, producing wines of ethereal beauty. Nebbiolo from the North, Nerello from the South? A blend of beauty and power: isn't that what great wine is about.

No comments:

Post a Comment