It’s always a sad time of the year when you can’t blame your wine drinking on the season, with Boxing Day upon us it’s my last official reason to drink fine Italian reds for, ooh, 5 more nights.
My range of Christmas wines this year has included some mighty fine Barbarescos, Brunellos and Primitivos but tonights choice is between two tempting heavyweights.
Do I go for the massive scoring WS (96 points) Ceretto Barolo Bricco Rocche 2000 or carry on with the Brunellos popping the mighty fine Antinori Pian della Vigne 2001? Both are too early officially and so on that dubious criteria, and because I’m obsessed with Barolo, I’ll go with the Ceretto. :op
Today Rome is shut. Carrefour, shut. Auchen, shut. Ikea, shut. I went round and round today looking for somewhere to burn some Christmas cash and no where was open except one solitary delicatessen called Lo Zio d’America (or Uncle America in the local lingo). So I stood looking at the peas thoroughly enjoying Boxing Day when I noticed they had a small selection of wines, always curious, I headed over.
Then I saw it, a staircase to a mysterious second level, coated with gold, with angels playing harps beckoning me to climb the stairs. It wasn’t liver poisoning, it was a secret Enoteca with hundreds of Italian, French and Californian wines that has been hiding from me for ONE SOLID YEAR just a few steps from my house. This is where I found the 96 Point Ceretto for €49 (someone high five me!), this is where I found world famous Chateauneuf du Papes, Robert Mondavi Riserva Pinot Noirs and the most expensive Riojas I’ve ever seen in my life.
“Wow-wee” I hear you mock, but you don’t understand. You don’t understand what its like to live in Italy and be spat upon when you ask for French wine, slapped for a Californian Cabernet and, well, I can’t even say what happens if you ask for Riesling. Image SJP finding she lived above a Fendi and you’re getting close to my current feelings of elation.
Wooooooohoooooo. Okay, I’m calm.
Here is a round up of the wines Ive cracked open this Christmas. Lastly for the gentleman asking for a map of the Barolo “crus” – CLICK HERE.
Travaglini Gattinara 2001 (Non Riserva) – PASS – €20
Very light in colour, looks exactly like Gamay, very light orangey brown. The nose is really sweet, a little caramelised with some strawberry action and a few candied cherries. A medium bodied wine that improves with decanting it was rather tannic and drying. This is a really interesting wine and is definitely worth trying because it is so different, it isn’t great QPR so I’m saying pass but if you like to try something different then it will appeal. – 89 Points
Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino La Casa 2001 – BUY – €40
Huge nose of blackberries, walnuts, plums and earthy notes, hints of cedar. Massively full bodied and strong tannins this wine has the makings of a classic. Super ripe and fruity the palate is simple elegance but there is an overly tannic characteristic straight from the bottle but after some decanting the wine becomes smoother. Long finish that let’s you appreciate the complexity of the wine. A sleeping giant leave this wine if possible 15 years+ 92 Points for today but I can see this being a 95+ wine over the next 5 years.
Villa Capodilista La Montecchia 2004 – PASS – €20
Dark ruby red, hugely deep wine. The nose was very subtle, even after several hours wasn’t giving up too much but what it did give was a pleasant nose of strawberries and vanilla. A mid weight wine on the palate and the finish was so short, in fact it was the shortest I can recall for years. However, it was a very easy and pleasant wine to drink, not worth €20 and probably needs some time. Merlot, Carmenère and Cabernet Sauvignon blend that has lost its way. 87 Points
Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili 1997 – BUY – €79
Shockingly underrated 1997 Barbaresco from Giacosa. Very dark ruby though much lighter hues, almost orange. Fantastic and expressive nose cherries, licorice and hints of tobacco. Full bodied, smooth tannins and a coating, luxurious mouth feel accompany a sterling 30 second finish. Barbaresco of ’97? Not quite. Most improved Barbaresco over the last 10 years? Could be, take one out of the cellar for NYE. 93 Points
Question of the Day
What wine accompanied your Christmas meal this year and can you recommend it to the rest of the group? Show N Tell time!