Tasted: March 14th, 2010

"The King of wines and the wine of Kings"

This session showcased five outstanding examples of Piedmont's great red - Barolo. The tasting was one that from a wine selection point-of-view, we had to approach with a degree of caution. In its youth, Barolo is a powerfully tannic wine; to open and pour a sample from say, 2006, would surely to turn one's taste-buds inside-out! The five carefully selected wines were a combination of purchases on behalf of the group and some very generous donations by club members themselves. While we do provide the history of each bottle and its producer, we do not discuss grading or vintage conditions specific to the wine samples prior to the tasting. With this philosophy, the group is unbiased in their opinions and better able to rank the wines in terms of personal preference. Only after the session do we discuss details relating the grades, cost, and vintage conditions of each wine.

The wines sampled are listed below in order of tasting:
2004 Fenocchio, Bussia 
2003 Cascina Cucco, Vigna Cucco
2000 Ascheri, Vigna dei Pola
1996 Fontanafredda, Lazzarito
2004 Paolo Conterno, Ginestra

This tasting session was indeed an opportunity for discovery. Barolo, as we confirmed today is a food-wine. In fact, as a group we unanimously agreed that the regional food served this afternoon was key to the enjoyment of this wine. With the exception o the 1996 Fontanafredda, very little sediment was present in the bottles though we did decant each selection for aeration purposes with the younger wine further invigorated using a 'bubble-pour' technique. 
Our group tasted and ranked the wines in order of personal preference. The top 3 labels were as follows:

1 - 2000 Ascheri, Vigna dei Pola
2 - 1996 Fontanafredda, Lazzarito
3 - 2003 Cascina Cucco, Vigna Cucco

Head and shoulders above the other selections in terms of membership preference was Stephen and Krista's Ascheri, Vigna dei Pola. From the 2000 vintage, the Ascheri was ready to drink and displayed red fruit and earthy notes both common to the Nebbiolo grape. The remaining wines were somewhat of a mixed-bag in terms of popularity; Gary and Joy's 2003 Casina Cucco was a pleasant surprise having received rather dismal reviews by the 'experts' as being heatstruck and the product of a poor vintage. In reality, the wine was lovely and the favourite of several club members. The '96 Fontanafredda, the oldest vintage served this afternoon displayed the characteristic truffle and earthy notes so typical of the varietal. 

Thank-you kindly for donating these fine bottles, without the generosity of our membership this group would not be possible.

In April we will sample the whites wines of Burgundy. See you then!