Drinkin’ Solo: Nebbiolo! 04/20/11
Hello there, Internet. How’s it going? That’s great!
As for me, I’ve been busy with end-of-semester nonsense, and as a result, it’s been a whole week since my last review. I realize you all must be starving for my whimsical brand of wine wisdom by now, so I’ve decided to apologize by giving you all exactly what you want: a hot, throbbing dose of it.
Today I’m going to discuss a Nebbiolo, which some of you probably recognize by now as my favorite varietal of them all. Grown primarily in the Piedmont region of Italy – though gaining popularity elsewhere, most notably in California and Australia – Nebbiolo is used to make powerful red wines with a character whose finesse, in my correct opinion, just can’t be matched. Unfortunately, the price of Nebbiolo tends to reflect this, especially in its most prestigious expressions, Barolo and Barbaresco.
My choice ended up being made for me when I found this: the Paitin 2007 Serra Barbaresco, on sale for $25 at the state store – yet another of the Chairman’s Selections, but more significantly, the first Barbaresco I’d ever seen under $30. Barbaresco is like the little brother of Barolo: it doesn’t require quite as much aging, as the tannins tend to be a tad softer.
Even so, I couldn’t help berating myself as I expertly uncorked the bottle. 2007 was just too early to be drinking this – you may recall my conclusion about a certain Barbaresco from 2006 which hadn’t quite matured. Imagine my surprise when I found a Nebbiolo which was (to use the parlance of our times) most assuredly DTF.
Visually, the only way to describe this wine is impressive. It really looked as though someone had taken a ruby and melted it in my glass (don’t worry though, the glass was fine). At first I detected redcurrant along with definite floral aromas, which I’m going to call violet because, although I don’t know what violets smell like, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t rose. After breathing, the nose opened to a distinctive scent of strawberry jam.
The palate of the Serra Barbaresco was rather dry, true, but not as dry as I expected it to be at a mere four years old. Flavors of strawberry stem and orange zest tantalized my palate, hinting at greatness to come, with a fuller, more plummy taste on the second day that I drank it (I know, I’ve been slacking…).
Tannins were pretty aggressive, but the wine was otherwise well-balanced, except for a slight alcoholic twang on the nose the second day (this may have been the fault of my substandard storage methods). It also did seem kind of young as compared to other Nebbiolos I’ve had, lacking the more mature notes of tar and leather that I so adore.
I award the Paitin Serra 2007 Barbaresco thumbs up: very good now, indeed – but likely even greater later.