Castiglione Falletto

Newly Arrived Old Nebbiolo

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More fine wine from our most recently arrived shipment.

I think that at least another year has passed since I last mentioned decanting old Nebbiolo in these pages. Whenever that was, our experience since has 100% reinforced our practice of decanting these wines and giving them a long time to breathe – which can come as a shock to someone schooled to believe that old wine is delicate and that what you get when you open the bottle is the best, or close to the best, that you can expect. This may be true for fine Pinot Noir from France (I’m not taking a stand on that!), but not for Nebbiolo. In 14 years of devotion to the subject, I cannot recall a single instance where an old Barolo or Barbaresco did not improve significantly after decanting, but I do recall numerous bottles that completely transformed from reject to star in the course of several hours in the decanter.

The bottle needs to stand-up for a day, or longer, to let the sediment settle. It should then be decanted off of the sediment, and left to breathe for 4-8 hours before serving – this holds for even the oldest bottles. This may seem like a crazy long time, but I assure you: it works. It also means you will not get the best results from the wine if you grab and go (just last night at the last minute I wished I’d prepared something special for dinner), but the reward so far outweighs the effort that it’s worth planning ahead. We do guarantee the wine, but nothing strains our sympathies so much as inadequate preparation! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if we can assist with any aspect of handling and decanting. We’re also happy to double-decant any bottle in the store so that you can take it to dinner that day. Jamie Wolff

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Produttori del Barbaresco 1974 Barbaresco

1974 was a sleeper vintage for the Produttori, and it has definitely impressed on two separate occasions while tasting vertical flights of the cooperative's normale. Ripe red and black cherry fruit flavors mingle with secondary notes of balsamic, dark chocolate, and spaded earth. The medium body and robustness is supported by a quite lithe texture (1/17/17). Jonas Mendoza

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Oddero, Fratelli 1964 Barolo

Oddero is one of just a handful of producers who made excellent wine in the past and who continue to do so now. Admittedly our opinion of their current vintages is biased, since we admire Oddero's fidelity to Barolo made in the traditional manner. Anyway, the old wines are great, and we're happy to have old vintages whenever we can.

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Produttori del Barbaresco 1967 Barbaresco

Not the Riserva, but no slouch, this wine is still alive and drinking. It may even show a bit more fruit that the '67 Riservas. With proper handling (time to rest, and proper decanting) this is a real treat.

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Produttori del Barbaresco 1970 Barbaresco Riserva Moccagatta

The 1970 Barbaresco Riserva Moccagatta from one of the my favorite Piedmont producers is showing beautifully with a compelling blend of earthy old Nebbiolo aromas, resolved tannins, and still lively fruit. The tension between the sweet and savory on the nose is beguiling, while the palate has evolved to the point where the fruit and earthy flavors  are supported by the structure, rather than dominated by it. Given time to blossom (we strongly advocate double decanting after lunch for dinner service) this is the perfect partner for braised meat with polenta or risotto with truffles. This is a lovely wine and a truly special treat for lovers of aged Nebbiolo. (Tasted 2/25/16) John McIlwain

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Produttori del Barbaresco 1970 Barbareco Riserva Pora

Still doing very well at 40+ years, with intense mature Nebbiolo aromatics, dry and savory; the wine is not overly tannic, but no Piemontese would ever serve this except at table, with a main-course meat dish like ossobuco or something grilled; do so and you will have a memorable treat.

 

 

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