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Very often the most rare wine is not the most expensive wine. We love these producers for the quality of their older wines and for the fact that they still make some of the best wine in Italy (except for Sobrero, who retired a long time ago, and whose wines are what you might call super-rare); we include some recent vintages as well. We won't have an easy time finding replacements -- it's easier to find many very expensive wines than more of any of these older bottles. Carpe Diem! Jamie Wolff

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Brovia 2009 Barolo Rocche dei Brovia

Very aromatic with beautiful fruit – raspberry, wild strawberry, and herbs, and mineral/clay; all of those on the palate and gorgeous ripe tannin – there is plenty of structure, and this looks like benchmark Rocche – chalky, a little austere now, with great depth and promise — presently a little somber in character, but with beautiful balance, and very elegant and fine. A great wine. JW

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Brovia 2010 Barolo

The Brovia single-vineyard wines are vivid demonstrations of their terroirs, and it’s always a treat to taste them together to see the differences between the vineyards. ‘Classico’ is a preferred term for Barolos / Barbarescos that are not single-vineyard wines, as no producer is very keen on calling their wine ‘base Barolo’ or ‘basic Barolo’. Brovia’s Barolo (classico) is a blend of 4 vineyards, with the biggest share coming from 25 year-old vines in Brea, which gives the wine a very mineral, chalky backbone. Classico bottlings are always less expensive than the single-vineyards, and there’s a strong tendency to diminish the importance of the classico wines in favor of our obsession with the single vineyards, but the best blended Barolos express the complexity that comes from combining fruit from different terroirs – think B. Mascarello, G. Rinaldi. We miss out on some great wine if we ignore a classico wine that’s as good as Brovia’s, which is altogether a serious wine, and something very fine. I can’t pretend that I think it will be ready to drink soon – in May the wine showed orange and herbal notes, quite savory with ripe, slightly grainy tannin; it’s really an infant, but it will repay some time to age, and other forms of tender care. Jamie Wolff

 

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Cappellano 1973 Barolo (bottled by Troglia)

Troglia was a wine merchant in Torino. Until the 1970s most wine was sold in bulk to merchants or private consumers, and then bottled for re-sale or home consumption — it's still quite common for producers to sell some of their production in bulk. We've had Cappellano Barolo bottled by Troglia back to 1954, and they certainly did a good job of it, using the funky, misshapen bottle associated with Gattinara.

 

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