Smells like teen Nebby
Revisiting Piedmontese wine is like popping in an old CD of some incredible musician you've forgotten about and saying to yourself: maaaan, this is a-freaking-mazing! Why do I even listen to all that other shite? Like, say you've been tripping on the Raconteurs for weeks now, then you get bored, dig up your Ella Fitzgerald and swoon with reverence. That's what it's like for me.
Listen to me people: put down the big, phat-ass Cab for just half a sec and put your nose in some Nebbiolo. This is the kind of wine that, when crafted by someone who knows the patience it takes to make it, is positively erotic. And that's even before you've had a sip. We're talking aromatics that will make your knees buckle.
My favorite not-yet-a-wine-bar, VinoVino of Austin, hosted an Italian wine tasting Friday that showcased a few of my faves: Inama (Soave Classico and that good, stinky Sauv Blanc), Boroli (well priced Dolcetto and Barolo) and most fabulously, the magnificent Marchesi di Gresy. So I'm there with my buddy Mark and we're shoveling blobs of garlicky white bean paste on crostata in our mouths, waiting for the di Gresy table to reopen. "God, I wish the guy would hurry up," I whined. "I can't wait to try those Barbarescos."
My ex-husband, Jerry (God love him) feigned bar wiping and whispered to me: "Just so you know, Alberto di Gresy is manning his own table, and he's right there behind you."
Damn. Needing a moment, I shoveled bean paste into my idiot hole. Mr. di Gresy smiled over his coffee and winked, said he'd be over there right away for me.
Mr. di Gresy poured us some Dolcetto first: the 2005 Monte Aribaldo. I found it to be one of the nicest I've ever had. Sometimes they can have a rough edge to their acidity to me, but this one was light, bright and soft, with deep color and a tannin structure screaming for food. "Okay, this wine is my new girlfriend," said Mark, but the best was yet to be had.
My new girlfriend was the first of three Barbarescos: the 2003 Martinenga. Oh...oh, yes...hell yeah! Such a sexy nose, wafting the perfume of spice, tobacco, anise and violets such that the world melts away...
Oh, what? I'm all overboard? You try this stunning beauty for yourself and you'll see. And yes, it's probably pricey. But this is the kind of wine that delivers allllll the bang for your many bucks. It won't even occur to you to actually drink the wine until someone points out you've been huffing it like a teenage paint thinner freak for half an hour now.
The second Barbaresco was from a specific vineyard in Martinenga (link to photos and info, check it out) , the 2000 Martinenga Gaiun Barbaresco. While we enjoyed this more subdued, older beauty, His Di Gresy-ness pointed to two hills on which his vineyards grew and explained that one must always remember that the best quality Nebbiolo grows "over the tits", meaning on top of each of the hills. This is because the rainfall can collect "between the tits" and over-saturates the vines, causing flavor and color to be less intense (and yes, he apologized for this analogy to me, being the only female in the listening group, but there was no need).
The third, another single vineyard wine: 2000 Camp Gros...alls I know is I wrote the following about it in my book: OMFJG!!!
Well, at least I know what that was supposed to mean.
The pic above (taken by Mark...ta, love!) is of Alberto di Gresy (who appears to be making fun of Mark's shoes), Claudia Alarcon (freelance foodwriter buddy) and myself. I cannot possibly meet enough dashing Italian winemakers, so if you are one, please drop me a line and invite me to your 400 year old estate in the hills.