Sunday, May 23, 2010

Barolo Lessons

We celebrated a good friend's birthday last night with a Piemonte theme at a most Piemontese restaurant in San Francisco, Perbacco Ristorante.

To start, we uncorked a 2004 Spumante Extra Brut from Barolo legend Bruno Giacosa. The all Pinot Nero sparkler was magnificent, bone dry and full, it unfolded with a Chablis-like finesse. This was another side of Giacosa's greatness.

The evening's highlight, though, was a side-by-side treat of Giacomo Borgogno's Barolo Riserva 1958 and 1961. Both were great vintages and drank beautifully. We debated which was better. I initially preferred the '58, it was sweet, rustic, superbly elegant, and altogether just charming. At 52 years-old, one couldn't hope for more. But my fondness for the '61 grew, it was a completely different wine. More muscular, structured, upright, with the fruit showing a youthful brightness. Our sommelier pronounced it, "bello".

I flip-flopped between the two wines. In the end, I thought, no matter how great each wine is, it doesn't have what the other has. But together we had a complete experience! So the moral then is, don't drink just one great Barolo, drink two.


  1. Nice story, nice shot, catchy conclusion, sounds like fascinating wines. Would have loved to see the back-story on where these wines came from, and more info on these particular vintages and the producer...

  2. Hey IronC appreciate the compliments! The post is a vignette, not meant to be expository... But just a quick background, '58 and '61 are classic Barolo vintages, and '58 in particular one of the greatest. These were produced during Giacomo Borgogno's glory years


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