This was velvety, enormously approachable, easy on the palate, luxurious but not a complicated red which without any air was silky smooth but with air had an opportunity to blossom with some leathery, smoky notes and a smidgen of cassis. It’s so rare I have the opportunity for a fine Italian red that expectations ran a little higher than the delivery. Misgivings? None. Expectations? A little let down, if only because we were wowed the night before with a Washington State red of all things.
As an aside, I knew nothing of wine and didn’t think much about it until one day, I think I was 20 and living in London and working at an Italian restaurant and one of the waiters gave me a bottle of 1976 Barolo. Now I have no recollection of that wine except this: A) I couldn’t believe I was drinking something “that old” and B) It was over the top delicious like no wine I’d ever had (which, at that point, aside from champagne maybe the finest wine I’d ever had was a decent Corvo or a cru Beaujolais). Ever since I’ve had a soft spot for Italian reds. It’s just, unfortunately, hedge fund billionaires share the same predilection.
This was fine, at its peak, it really had nowhere to go further in the cellar, but somehow there was an element to it (spice, depth, nuance) where it fell short. Still, a case of this wouldn’t last two weeks if I could be so lucky. Think of it this way: Anthony Lane gave a plum review to The Master but quibbled that the score could have been toned down a notch. I feel the same way about this bottle; great, just not perfect, room for improvement.
We served it with pork shoulder braised in ginger beer and fresh pressed apple cider, Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts, roasted butternut squash on a salad of kale and mustard greens. Needless to say there wasn’t a drop left.
Price: $45 from a local wine club.
Market Liquidity: The finest clothes don’t have a logo on the breast.