It is difficult to describe the power and aristocratic nature of a wine like Barolo, made solely from Nebbiolo, a grape which first appeared during the first century. Barolo wines have a very brooding, powerful and beautiful disposition. On March 11, we had the fortunate opportunity to taste Giacomo Borgogo Barolo in consecutive vintages 1998 through 2001. Outside of the planned tasting, several guests stayed to try the 1996 for good measure.
Opening the tasting was an invigorating, refreshing White Nebbiolo from the producer Nera. This wine was a big hit with its mineral structure, ample acid and salinity. It paired well with our marinated vegetable antipasti and was an interesting expression of Barolo’s varietal. Moving onto the Borgogno wines, we began with the 2001 vintage, which filled all the promise of a Nebbiolo from the commune of Barolo. I would characterize Borgogo’s wines, produced since the 1700’s, as being produced in the more traditional style. Opened at 11:00am for our 3:30pm tasting, this bottle was a testament to the fact that this style of Barolo take their sweet time to open up, demanding the consumers’ patience. Having said that, the 2000 was next and proved to be an outright stunner, ready-to-drink, complete, complex and likely to please those who enjoy mature wines.
The 1999 held the most promise for the future, having aromatic nuance and power seamlessly wrapped together. Yet it was unanimously agreed that this wine needed more time in the bottle as the finish was green and a bit tight. The 1998 proved to be the most evolved and demonstrated that with Nebbiolo, the question is “when?” rather than “if?” Later in the evening, we opened a 1996 for some lingering wine tasting guests. Although older, this wine was sowing a very vibrant acidity and youthful freshness. The 1996 was clearer and more subtle, but still had secrets to show.
Our guests expressed a sense of privilege and joy at being able to enjoy four amazing Barolos side by side in one sitting. Barolo is a wine that reveals the secretive power in the harmony between man and nature. These wines can truly transport you to another time and place.