Saturday, June 23, 2018

Le Piane Boca, 2011

I'm embarrassed to admit that this is the first Boca I have had. I'm not embarrassed to report that it is one of the best wines I have ever tasted. Three days later, it is still in my taste history.

Boca is a mountainous region of Italy, northwest of the more famous Nebbiolo appellations of Barola and Barbaresco. Boca is actually the birthplace of Nebbiolo, and knowledgeable wine people are aware that the region is capable of producing great wines with exceptional ability to age. Piane is probably the top producer in this appellation, and this particular bottling contains Vespolina as well as Nebbiolo.

From the first sniff, I know I am in for a magical tasting experience. Powerful scents of rose petals, dark cherries, balsamic and iron. And on the palate, it's even better. Blackberries, cherries, minerals. Powerful fruit and enough acidic backbone to carry it for decades. But why wait? It's irresistible right now.

This was offered as a wine by the glass at Trattoria Stella in Traverse City. It is not a cheap wine, selling for $52 a bottle retail ($74 at the restaurant), but Stella was offering a three-ounce glass for $8.50. I followed it with three ounces of a Langhe Nebbiolo that was very good but could not even approach the complexity and depth of the Boca.

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