Sunday, November 30, 2014

Pio Cesare Barolo, 1970

This well aged Barolo was by far the highlight of my weekend. It ranks as my Wine of the Year and among the top five of my 30-year wine-drinking career. Originally purchased for $4.99 (marked down from
$11.79), I considered it a cellar treasure from the day I bought it and stashed it away, along with a companion bottle, for all too many years--probably because I treasured it too much. But I have no regrets that I waited so long to pop the cork. ("Carefully ease the cork from the bottle" would be more accurate terminology.)

The back label states that this Barolo was aged in large oak casks for nine years! Now that is traditional winemaking at its best or worst, depending on your point of view. I can hear modern winemakers exclaiming: "Why that will dry out all the fruit!" But, tasted 35 years after bottling, the fruit is incredibly powerful, even fresh. This is a remarkable wine.

The color has faded to almost nothing--a murky reddish brown that, again, raises all sorts of red flags. But one sniff tells you that there is nothing faded about this wine. Lovely autumnal scents of dried currants, dried roses and dried licorice (if there is such a thing). These ethereal scents just keep coming at you, shifting and changing. The first taste is somewhat sharp but after about an hour of aeration, it is smooth as old silk. And the flavors are as complex as the bouquet. This is why I cellar wines.

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