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.

2 comments:

  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...

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  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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