Friday, February 13, 2015

Musso Barbaresco Pora, 1993

You can learn a lot about a wine from its color--age, grape, origin and how much it has been exposed to new oak or small barrels. Wine drinkers love to revel over the deep, purplish hues of a young Cabernet, but some of my favorite wines--those based on Grenache or Pinot Noir--are lighter in color or texture. Nebbiolo often has a brickish orange hue that might be taken as a sign of advancing age in other grapes. Brown, though, usually means that the wine is past it.

I've had this Barbaresco Pora twice, and each time I have noted the brown color. Some orangeish tints but mainly a muddy brown color that does not inspire confidence. My first sniff got only damp, muted smells--another bad sign. 1993 was not a strong vintage in the Piedmont, and this wine is 22 years old. I suspect it may also have had some storage mishaps along the way. Nevertheless, as the wine in the glass warms from cellar temperature and is exposed to air, it starts to show the true colors of a fine Cru Pora Barbaresco from a good traditional producer. The bouquet gets more and more exciting--roses, violets, cherries and dark, earthy scents. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied but very concentrated. Warm and savory with Nebbiolo nuances. Acidity is keeping this wine going as the fruit matures. Dances on the palate. I can only imagine what it would be like to drink a Musso Cru Pora from a strong vintage.

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