To have the privilege of tasting age worthy Brunellos and Barolos from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s has for some decades already been a very great privilege. Today, we’re at the upper site of the late twenties. Millenium twenties, that is. And yesterday evening I just had the honour of tasting a trio of great Italian wines.
The first two, absolutely splendid ones. But what I’m in to write about tonight are the last 3 glasses of wines in that 1998 bottle of Barolo from legendary Giacomo Conterno in Serralunga d’Alba, Piedmont, that we ended up with at home. Yesterday, guys -it was fabulous. But tonight, maybe it was even better. It was opened at 5 pm some 27-28 hours ago, just waiting to be thoroughly and merciless -but caringly- assessed once again approximately 2 hours after dinner tonight, on a random quiet Sunday evening. This is what I got;
A clear garnet-ruby, light coloured red with a clean, not to noisy, nose although insistently talking about tobacco, coffee, cherries and… good old freshness. The wine is of course dry and acidity is not what it most expectedly used to be, but still perfectly present. Tannins are high!, so much on their toes, even after all of these years – like a young handsome man grown old meeting his high school sweetheart again. Alcohol and flavour intensity medium – but what a mediumness; coffee, coffee, coffe – and more coffee, so bitter chocolate it feels like chewing it, leather, tar, liquorice and embracing minerality (earthiness) – all tertiary flavours and right there among them, there she is, the mature but still so impressive beautiful cherry-lady looking for her tannin-guy confident she’ll find him, with a slight, slight crispness and great freshness. Yes, it’s a developed wine and should be drunk now, but my best experienced guess is -despite the less fortunate vintage of 1998- that this one will still do for another half a decade or two or three in the bottle……………
Wine lovers, a wine like this is hard to find. Hard to afford. And might be hard to understand. You should want to taste thousands of wines before you get here, before you ‘get’ a wine like this. And recognise the fantasticness you’re blessed with when you have it – be it presented to you with you knowing it’s origin or be it presented to you blindly. I aim I’ll be able to recognise this greatness when someone’ll serve me a glass of pearl drops like the ones in this league, without my prior knowledge.
Do remember to seek authenticity in the wines you taste, in the wines you enjoy and the wines you drink -no matter where they come from in the world.