Sunday, September 20, 2009

Barbaresco VS Stout

[Hands by Martha, Photos by John]

I’ve been out of vino practice for a while now. I tend to go through cycles. I’ll admit that I enjoy a nice Hefeweizen for summertime, Sam’s Summer, Hoegaarden, and the plethora of Brooklyn Brews. Craft Beer Week just ended and I celebrated with a coffee-hopped stout from Tröegs, the toast of Harrisburg, PA.

Fall is a great time to get back into red wines, especially ones with bigger bodies. I don’t mean Napa obnoxious, I lean toward south western France. Today however, I had a Barbaresco from a producer I’d never had before. I’ve had luck in the past picking out pleasant surprises from this usually cost-heavy northern Italian commune. Now, it’s true that I nabbed one for under twenty dollars so what should I expect, and on top of that it’s from 2005 which wasn’t a bad year (stellar for Bordeaux) but one year past Piemonte's phenomenal six-year streak. I noticed somebody from CORK’d offered 95 points for the 2001 Morando. It would be hard to find anything truculent on the palate for that vintage.

I’m not big on numerical ratings and more on talking points. For me, this wine was a bit warm in the mouth— frankly, it tasted of alcohol. I purchased it from a reputable shop so I don’t think it was the provenance of the bottle in question. And it wasn’t because of lack of food. Martha prepared a gorgeous meal, pasta with fresh tomatoes and herbs, chicken cutlets with melted mozzarella di bufala. The tannins seemed very tame almost non-existent and the sour cherry flavor dissipated even as I held it on my tongue. The texture was thin, watery.

I’ll admit, I’m spoiled, but I wasn’t expecting Angelo Gaja or even De Forville. I just wanted a trace of smoky bacon, a spoonful of viscosity. Even the nose was glib, short, nondescript. I returned to my Java Head to refresh my mouth. There will be plenty of bold reds on the horizon, maybe a Bruno Giacosa or better yet a Leoville Barton winding down the road.

And The Cold Mug Goes To

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