In an earlier blog on the Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour wine tasting, I had noted that at that tasting there had been an extraordinary opportunity to taste eight different wineries’ Barolos. Barolo is at home in Piedmont in northwestern Italy, and its sole or occasionally primary grape is considered by some to be Italy’s most impressive: Nebbiolo. The origins of Nebbiolo are unclear, but there are those who think it goes back as far as Roman antiquity. Whatever its past, what one either learned or re-learned from the WS tasting is that Nebbiolo, and Barolo in particular require considerable age before the wines are ready to drink. The tasting, for the most part, was a reminder of that fact owing to the relative youth of the wines offered … wines that promised great things but were yet too young to have yet met that promise. Still, one label in particular – a 2009 Damilano – was already a lovely quaff, despite its expected array of tannins.
What does that prove? When it comes to the aging of wines, you never really know. One more point, Barolo can be and usually is pretty expensive … and yet … there are Piemonte wines made from Nebbiolo that can be drunk younger than Barolo and thoroughly enjoyed. Next time you’re buying, try a Babaresco or a Gattinara or a Spanna.
I guess none of these was quite prestigious enough for the WS array, but don’t forget them; they’re delicious.