by Paige Donner
With the first swish around my tongue, then my palate, I knew the right word to describe this Barolo DOCG, Fossati Riserva, 10 Anni 2009 by Roberto Voerzio: Outstanding!
It was the last of the Barolos I tasted today at the Saint James & Albany Hotel in Paris where ViniFocus Wine Consulting and Natives. had put on this annual ‘Nebbiolo Vins & Terroirs” tasting salon. So my palate had some context, even if I’m still a novice when it comes to these superlative Barolos and this fabulous Italian wine region that for many is simply summed up as Piedmont’s Nebbiolo.
Italian Language crashcourse: DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita — Italy’s top wine classification)
One of the pluses of being a complete novice of an appellation at an organized tasting is that you can honestly just stumble upon gems. You aren’t necessarily on a mission to taste the ‘best’, the most ‘exalted’ or the most expensive.
So stumbling on this producer, a true cult of a winemaker, at the end of the tasting session, is memorable and a fond souvenir to walk away with.
When I asked him if his wines were like a cult wine, he didn’t at first understand my meaning of ‘cult.’ So I explained, you know, like Screaming Eagle? “Ahhh…”, he replied, “Well, not yet. Because Roberto only started making wines about 35 years ago. And in our region, that is nothing, in terms of time.’ I nodded, since as an expat I have thoroughly come to terms with the fact that 250 years for Europeans is just a tranche of their history and not their whole history. “But,” he continued “Last year we visited Screaming… and we tasted those wines with the winemaker…” his voice then just trailed off as you could see the fond memories flash before his eyes.
Another fun thing about these wines is the label. There is an artist, just one artist, a friend of Roberto’s, who has painted about 14 different paintings that transmit different stages of the winemaking process, the unglamorous parts. These paintings have been turned into labels and they rotate them through their vintage years.
I also tried their:
Barolo DOCG La Serra 2014 (elegant)
Barolo DOCG, Cerequio 2014
*Note: 2014 was a small yield, about 7K bottles total, as compared to the usual 23-25K bottles for the production. That may partially explain why you can expect from about €150 to €200 or so per bottle of each of these. Though I daresay that I highly doubt that these prices will go anywhere but up in the future.
Langhe Nebbiolo DOC
Nebbiolo is known for its ability to age long-term and for its pronounced tannins. So how thrilling was it to find this sub-appellation highlighted today, Langhe Nebbiolo which is often described as akin to whole cluster Pinot Noir with its softer tannins.
I found these to be delightful summer drinking. Slightly chilled to about 14C° and you have yourself a perfect accompaniment to backyard bbqs, fish, including salmon, and roasted vegetable salads. In other words, really easy drinking. (And you’d never guess that for the most part these have about 14°alcohol. ) Another tip is that the ’16s and ’15s (light and elegant year) are softer than the ’14s in terms of tannin-vintage profiles.
Borgogno.com Langhe Nebbiolo DOC No Name 2014
GiovanniRosso.com Langhe Nebbiolo DOC 2016
Scarzellobarolo.com Langhe Nebbiolo DOC 2017
BussoPiero.com Langhe Nebboiolo DOC 2016
MarchesidiGresy.com Langhe Nebbiolo DOC Martinenga 2018
SandroneLuciano.com Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC Valmaggiore Sidi et Paucis 2009
La-Spinetta.com Langhe Nebbiolo DOC 2016
ElvioCogno.com Langhe Nebbiolo DOC 2018
BONUS Barolo Tip:
BaraleFratelli.it Barolo DOCG Riserva Bussia 2011
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