Vini Tipici Delle Langhe, 1961

New Old Piedmont Wine, 1945 - 1993, M - S

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I live a charmed life as far as Nebbiolo is concerned because I have been able to taste a lot of fine old Barolo, Barbaresco, Alto Piemonte, etc. Of course in any tasting there are a zillion variables, starting with the quality of each individual bottle, but one conclusion I draw from experience is that it’s an amazingly consistent grape, and the odds are much better that an old Nebbiolo will be something special than with most other types of wine.  At dinners and tastings it often happens that a very good wine (or two, or three) gets lost in the shuffle because of some other wines that are actually spectacular. Most likely, that spectacular wine is Giacosa, Bartolo Mascarello, or Cappellano, etc; in other words, wine from one of the most famous (and expensive) producers that confirms the exalted reputation of its maker. And so the assembled guests frequently remark to one another that a good, or very good, bottle would “make for a great dinner if it was on its own and didn’t have to compete with the Giacosa (etc).” To me it remains fascinating that an agricultural product, all made from the same ingredients, and in fundamentally the same way, can still be dramatically influenced by the producer. But the good, or very good, or even excellent bottles that get overshadowed are wines that we’re more likely to drink by virtue of supply and cost. Handled properly (decanted off the sediment and given several hours to rest and open), I know that Oddero, Prunotto, Marcarini (and many others who are not as well-known) are wines I can count on to make a meal something really memorable. Jamie Wolff

 

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