Giacomo Conterno and Luciano Sandrone

14 May 2015, Morrell Wine Bar, Rock Center

My Vinous tasting group recently did a comparative tasting between Giacomo Conterno’s and Luciano Sandrone’s Barolos.  Two of my favorite producers but two very different styles.  A number of the guys at the tasting did full blown write ups which I’ve linked to below – I added a few of my own thoughts as well:

The Icon vs. The Iconoclast: An Epic Barolo Tasting – by Eric Guido on the Cellar Table @ Morrell

A Memorable Barolo Tasting – by Marc Scudiery @ Wine Without Numbers

G. Conterno Barolo vs. L. Sandrone Barolo Single-Blind – by Ken Vastola @ The Fine Wine Geek

Flight 1 – 97 and 00:

I felt neither of these wines were showing particularly well.  The ’97 Conterno appeared much older than it was – tannins were a bit absent and it had a shorter finish with a very linear mid palate.  I gave this wine 89 points and the ’00 Sandrone 90 points.  A lot of pepper and mint on the palate but this wine still felt like it could develop and resolve a bit more.

One thing I did note was that on a tasting I did a few weeks ago of various vintages of Canalicchio di Sopra, I liked the hot vintages the least – maybe the same could be said for Piedmont?  For my palate, I think cooler vintages can still make balanced and interesting wines but the hotter vintages just become flat over time.  Probably an over generalization but something I noticed.

Flight 2 – 98’s:
The ’98 Le Vigne and Cascina Francia were both very good wines.  Sweet cherries and impeccable balance for the LV and a more tart, younger wine in the CF.  The ’98 Cannubi Boschis (which I brought) was a big disappointment for me.  Perhaps it was too cold while I was tasting it and hadn’t opened up but it had no nose, menthol on the palate with no finish.  88 points.

Flight 3 – 99’s:
Flight was showing great across all wines.  I mixed up the Monfortino and CF as well as I recalled an earlier ’99 CF I had that was really singing whereas this wine still felt big, brooding and shut down.  A powerful wine with incredible tannins on the finish.  The Monfortino in contrast was all about the fruit – was just starting to develop some secondary aromas although it was still holding a lot back.  Felt more open to me than the CF on this night.  The Sandrone was a pretty wine – much less power than the Conternos but not in a bad way – Burgundian.

Flight 4 – 96’s:
Another great showing after the 99’s – in this flight I think all the wines showed as you would expect.  The CB had the mint/eucalyptus nose but with more age and sweet strawberries on the palate.  Starting to get a candied taste.  The Conternos were both much more masculine wines but in this case, the Monfortino was the darker, more reticent wine as you would expect.  Unyielding vs. the CF which still hadn’t resolved its tart red fruit.

Flight 5 – ’85 + 90’s:
And it gets better.  One of the best all around flights of Barolo I’ve ever tasted.  Every wine was amazing in a different way and although I socred the ’85 1 point ahead of the other two wines, it was really missing the point of how great these wines were in totally different ways.  The ’85 was fully mature – amazingly complex nose of dried figs and ripe red fruit.  Candied jolly rancher on the palate while still maintaining its acidic backbone to keep the balance.  The ’90 CF was floral on the aroma and still young – reticent in the beginning but started to come around towards the end of the night.  The ’90 CB was amazing for its purity of fruit and was one wine that left a finish of candied red fruit instead of tannin at the very end.

Final thoughts on the tasting:
I’m a big fan of both Conterno and Sandrone but found this tasting instructive in the relative differences.  In some flights they weren’t obvious and in others, their expected styles couldn’t have been more clear.  I’m a big buyer and believer in both producers and the experience of drinking these wines with friends who are unbelievable sources of wine knowledge was truly the best part of this tasting for me.

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Pesce al Cartoccio

26 January 2015, 100 Jane Street, Manhattan

My first “food” post is motivated by a recipe I found in Downtown Italian that is so easy and delicious, I’m compelled to share it.  I’ve made a few minor modifications to the original recipe, “Branzino al Cartoccio”, and offer a few alternatives for different types of fish.

Ingredients

Serves 4

6 ounces of pearled couscous (the big ones) or fregola pasta

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

1 pint package of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

2 scallions, thinly chopped

juice and zest of 1 lemon and another lemon for wedges

1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper

1/2 orange bell pepper, thinly chopped

7 black or green pitted olives, roughly chopped

4 fillets of thin white fish, 1/3 to 1/2 a pound each, branzino, tilapia or flounder

cracked black pepper

4 sprigs thyme

4 pieces of 12″ x 17″ parchment paper

I made this recipe twice one week and saved a lot of time by doing half of the prep work on Sunday night – something I’d highly recommend.

Part I:

Cook the couscous or fregola pasta according to the directions on the packaging but only until it’s very al dente and a bit hard when you bite into it.  Don’t add any seasoning packets that may accompany the grains.  If there is no recipe, just bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt.  Boil until al dente and drain it thoroughly.

In a medium bowl, toss the cooked couscous with 1 1/2 teaspoon EVOO, tomatoes, scallion, lemon juice, lemon zest, Aleppo pepper, orange bell pepper, green olives and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  At this point either set aside or refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Part II:

About 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat the fish, start doing the following:

Preheat the oven to 400.  Clean the fish and pat dry with paper towels.  Lightly season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper.  Take the 4 pieces of parchment paper and fold them in half.  Open the parchment paper like a book and spoon one-quarter of the couscous salad onto one-half of each piece of paper.  Lay the fish fillet on top of the couscous, skin-side up.  Cut 2 quarter inch thick slice of lemon to get a 2 thin slices of a circular lemon.  Cut those circular lemon slices in half and place one on top of each fish fillet.  Drizzle 1 teaspoon of EVOO over each piece of fish and place one thyme sprig atop each fillet.

Fold the parchment paper over the fish fillets to close the book and starting at the short side, roll or crimp the edges to create a tightly sealed packet (it will look like a huge empanada or half moon when you’re done).  Place the fish packets on a backing sheet and place it in the oven for 15-20 minutes – depending on the thickness of the fillet.  Because of the parchment paper, it’s harder to overcook fish like this so I would err on the longer side for a cooking time.  It’s also easy to unwrap it and check for doneness.

Serve each packet, parchment paper and all, on a plate with a lemon wedge and let guests open their own packets.

Alternative recipe:

If you like the result as much as we did, try it with different flavors and fish.  One I tried that came out well included blackened mahi mahi instead of the thin white fish fillets described above:

2 lbs mahi-mahi fillet, skin on

1 tbsp pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika)

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to broil.  Clean the fish fillets and dry thoroughly with paper towels.  Cut the fillets into half pound pieces.  Mix the spices together in a bowl and sprinkle over the mahi mahi fillets.  Put on as much as you want but realize that it is fairly spicy and salty so don’t over do it.  Drizzle 1/2 tsp of EVOO on top of each season fillet and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Broil the mahi mahi, skin side down for 3.5 minutes (if you have several layers on your broiler rack, use the lowest one).  Flip the fillets over, skin side up and cook for another 3.5 minutes.  The fish should look charred at this point on both sides.  If not charring, continue to broil.

Once the mahi mahi fillets have gone through the broiler, use them in the recipe above in place of the white fish – the mahi seasoning will blend with the couscous to create a Moroccan flavor profile.

Wine:

The wine pairings for this are as broad as the types of fish and seasonings you can use.  For the white fish fillets, I like a brighter, lively Champagne (blanc de blancs if you can) or a Chablis.  Two of my favorites would include a Ruinart NV Blanc de Blancs Champagne or a Moreau Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru.

For the mahi mahi preparation, you could go one of two ways – I like Riesling with food that has some heat so if you like to make it spicy, try a Donhoff Riesling.  I also think a younger Chateauneuf du Pape can also pair well with mild spice.  For a lighter seasoning, try a Chateau La Nerthe CDP.

Barbaresco

7 January 2015 – New York Vintners, Tribeca

I recently attended a tasting at NY Vintners with some board members from the Vinous website.  We tasted through 3 flights of Barbaresco and while I took notes, it paled in comparison to the cataloging others were doing so I’ll let them explain and put my thoughts below:

Making the Case – for Barbaresco

My response on the vinous site to the posting:

Great time as always and thanks to everyone who came and contributed their wines and thoughts.  Incredible notes and photos as always Eric.

My general impressions across the flights were fairly in line with prior comments.  I wasn’t all that impressed by the ’85 flight – unlike a few experiences I’ve had with ’85 Barolos, I felt that these Barbarescos were at best ghosts of what they were earlier in their lives and barely holding on to their fruit.  As a whole they felt thin – maybe chalk that up to how the bottles were stored or differences across producers but while they were intellectually interesting, I found them lacking.

The second flight was a stunner for me – I scored every wine 94 or higher and found the ’98 Asili (95 points) and the ’98 SSR (97+ points) as the standouts.  Both are still huge wines with long finishes and incredible structure.  Both will get better.

The third flight to me was dominated by the ’01 Rabaja Riserva – one of the best Barbarescos I’ve ever tasted and I gave it 99+ points.  Powerful dark, ripe fruit with cedar wood/cigar box and subtle flavor changes throughout each sip.  Other than the Pora that was corked, the other wines showed well and I found the ’01 Asili (96 points )to be a step ahead of the others.

Christmas Dinners

It was a busy and eventful year so we had a lot of things to celebrate this year and some incredible wines to match.

21 December 2014, Gotham Bar & Grill, Manhattan

One year earlier, I had proposed to Diane and we went to dinner at Gotham Bar & Grill to celebrate.  A year later, I surprised her by having her parents and my brother join us.  In addition to a superb seasonal menu, we had:

N.V. Jacques Selosse Champagne Blanc de Noirs La Côte Faron

N.V. Jacques Selosse Champagne Blanc de Noirs La Côte Faron

The same wine we had in Piedmont at La Ciau del Tornavento – it remains my favorite Champagne I’ve ever tasted.  His solera-style Pinot Noir based wine is utterly profound with huge textural depth and richness.  It develops over time in the glass as the Champagne warms up to room temperature.  Floral and fruity armoas overlay the biscuity/brioche flavors of the wine.  98 points

Our white for the evening was from one of our favorite producers in Burgundy:

2011 Domaine Roulot Meursault Meix Chavaux

2011 Domaine Roulot Meursault Meix Chavaux

Still very young and tense with a piercing acidity that made me think of Chablis initially.  Mainly lemon and citrus at this point as I believe this is still too young to hit its proper stride but still a good wine.  90 points

We finished the meal with the wine that was a turning point for both Diane and I:

1985 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Villero

1985 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Villero

We tasted this wine for the first time 4 years ago and it was the first “wow” wine we shared together.  It immediately made Giacosa one of our favorite producers and Barolo one of our favorite regions to this day.  This wine was in top form with the perfect combination of sweet candied fruits with the complexity of leather, cigar box and damp earth that age adds to Barolos.  Don’t think this improves much more although I think it will continue to hold on for another 5 years at least.  96 points

24 December 2014, 222 Park Ave. South, Manhattan

We were fortunate enough to share Christmas Eve with Anthony, Jennifer, Jennifer’s mom and Nicolas at their apartment.  An incredible meal of smoked salmon (from Scotland!) and rack of lamb with potatoes was delicious as always.  As is becoming a bit of a tradition this holiday season, we started with our favorite Blanc de Blancs:

2004 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs

2004 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs

The tasting notes from our visit to the winery are still relevant here.  An incredibly complex wine that’s still an infant but shows freshness as a result.  96 points

For the smoked salmon, we moved on to a Champagne with more Pinot in the blend:

2004 Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame

2004 Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame

Again, the tasting notes from the Chateau visit are relevant here although as we spent more time with this wine during the meal, I felt the wine started to open up more, possibly hinting at its potential down the road.  White stone fruit and more textural depth than the Ruinart.  93+ points

The piece de resistance of the night was the red Anthony opened for us – the best Bordeaux experience I’ve ever had:

1983 Chateau Palmer

1983 Chateau Palmer

You can taste the large portion of Merlot with the great body.  It still has huge structure as you’d expect from Palmer but in this instance with the tannins balanced and smooth and the entire palate in perfect harmony.  I’m not sure if Bordeaux can get better than this … but in case it can: 99 points

25 December 2014, 100 Jane Street, Manhattan

Our Christmas dinner was spread out over a few hours as we moved from cured meats and cheeses to the various courses of the meal.  The highlight of the food was a 4 oz white truffle which we paired with several courses but the wines made it special.

With our cured meats and cheeses, we had:

  1. N.V. Veuve Clicquot (Yellow Label) – a great entry level wine that’s simpler than its vintage brethren.  Good acidity and citrus fruit with just minor hints of bread.  A good aperitif.  89 points
  2. 2004 Veuve Cliqcuot La Grande Dame (see note above) – showed just as well one day later. 93+ points

For our first course, we had baked eggs with white truffles.  I wanted a lighter but medium bodied white to pair with the truffles here so we went with a 2010 Emidio Pepe Pecorino.  This was my first experience with a Pepe white and I wasn’t a huge fan of the fairly oxidative style although the pairing was decent.  Golden yellow color with some honeysuckle and peach on the palate.  Too much air for a 2010 in my opinion.  Curious to see how this changes in bottle although I’m not sure it’s going to get matierally better.  88 points

For our pasta course, we had the simple tajarin with white truffles, paired with a wine Nard brought, the 1996 Eraldo Viberti Barolo.  Drinking perfectly now from a strong vintage, the Viberti has everyone you want in a Barolo of this age, it just is lacking the extra “it” factor to make it an exceptional wine and I think it’s at the peak of its drinking window at this point.  90 points.

The main course featured a roasted pork shoulder, green beans with almonds and Diane’s famous mashed potatoes.  This paired with a second bottle Nard brought, the 2003 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo that was drinking exceptionally well for an off vintage.  Great complexity on the palate and a lingering finish – I’m not sure this gets better but it might so I’m going to wait before trying another one. 92+ points

The Christmas Lineup

The Christmas Lineup

We’re going to have to open some serious wines on New Year’s Eve to top this …

Giacosa & Conterno at La Ciau del Tornavento

9 November 2014, Treiso, Piedmont

One of the highlights of our recent trip abroad was dinner at La Ciau del Tornavento.  On a rainy, cold night, their white truffle dishes and a few nice bottles of Barolo are the perfect combination.

It begins with a funny coincidence:

It was rainy and cold that night so when we arrived, my wife requested that we sit at a table close to the fireplace.  As it was just the two of us, we decided to order a glass of champagne each and split a bottle of Barolo throughout the evening.  A few minutes after ordering, we saw a familiar face walk into the restaurant and sit down at the table right next to us.  Antonio was there with a couple friends and came over to say hello!

We were thrilled to see him and told him we were on the final leg of our honeymoon and found out we were going to a lot of the same producers to do tastings that week.  As we waited for our appetizers, the sommelier walks over and without saying a word, puts two new champagne glasses on our table.  A few minutes later he starts pouring what turned out to be the best Champagne I’ve ever tasted: NV Selosse Ay La Cote Faron – courtesy of Antonio Galloni (the wine critic) and his friends!

That was just the beginning of what was a truly memorable night for Diane and I.  By the end of the evening we had tasted half a dozen wines including some older wines that were still full of life and fruit.  The 1975 B. Giacosa Barolo Riserva Bussia from our friends at the nearby table and the 1993 G. Conterno Barolo Monfortino from the restaurant that we were able to share with them as well (tasted but not pictured was a 1967 Giacosa Barolo Riserva Collina Rionda):

1975 B. Giacosa Barolo Riserva Bussia and 1993 G. Conterno Barolo Monfortino

1975 B. Giacosa Barolo Riserva Bussia and 1993 G. Conterno Barolo Monfortino

The two Giacosa’s were magnificent.  Sweet, candied fruit in perfect balance with the mellowed structure.  I was particularly stunned by the amount of life still left in the 1967 – plenty of intensity and depth on the palate I would not have expected for a wine of this age.  The 1993 Monfortino was everything I could have hoped when we ordered – stunning aromatics that continued to evolve all night in the glass.  A powerful wine with a very long finish – my WOTN among the reds.

The sharing continued as we tasted a 1970 G. Conterno Barolo and ordered a 1997 Chateau d’Yquem for our dessert course:

1970 G. Conterno Barolo

1970 G. Conterno Barolo

The 1970 was a very different wine from the older vintage Giacosas – less candied fruit and more tertiary flavors of leather, spices and tar.  Still very much alive and another bottle firing on all cylinders that night.  The d’Yquem is a perfect end to the night at an age I prefer to drink.  Honeysuckle and peach mixed with the perfect balancing acidity and a viscosity that is still light and fresh on the palate.

With all the great wines we had a hard time focusing on the amazing dishes they serve there.  We started with their baked eggs in a box:

eggs

 

Followed by standard Tajarin with white truffles, and a new twist on dessert I’d never had – thistle ice cream with white truffles!  A great combination that I’m planning on copying for our Christmas dessert this year:

icecream

 

A fantastic evening all around and a huge thank you to the generosity of our friends.

IMG_5577

Champagne – Dom Ruinart & Veuve Clicquot – Tasting notes

31 October 2014, Reims, Champagne

Before getting to the tasting notes, for anyone thinking about visiting the Champagne region, it can be more than a day trip from Paris.  We spent a couple days exploring the town of Reims and enjoyed visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Palais du Tau and the Hotel Le Verguer.  Additionally, L’assiette Champenois is an incredible dining experience as Antonio has mentioned in a prior Vinous Table post.  Friendly service, a gorgeous atmosphere and French food at its best – truly deserving the 3 Michelin Stars in my opinion.

I. Dom Ruinart

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The oldest Champagne house founded in 1729, this is one of the big houses I did not have a lot of experience tasting prior to this trip.  That changed fairly quickly after tasting their wines and I’ve already purchased some of the 2004 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs.

1. NV Ruinart Blanc de Blancs – bright and fresh with citrus aromas and a light body with a short finish.  A simple, linear wine that I wasn’t a huge fan of as it lacked depth.  They try to achieve this type of style for this wine though by only blending 3 recent vintages to keep the freshness.  60-70% is a base year with 80% from premier cru sites with 9g / liter of dosage.  88 points

2. 2004 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs – toasted, creamy and vanilla notes.  When you close your eyes and smell the wine, it gives aromas of a great white burgundy.  More layers and depth than the NV but still very tight today.  They only use grapes from grand cru sites for this wine and is a wine I’ve already started purchasing.  Also 9g / liter of dosage.  96+ points

3. NV Ruinart Rose – again, as with the NV Blanc de Blancs, linear and simpler taste on the palate.  Strawberry/red fruit and floral aromas but something I would use as an aperitif or summer wine as it lacks the power and depth to be a great food pairing wine.  As with most of the big houses, they make their roses by blending red and white base wines.  89 points

4. 2002 Dom Ruinart Rose – great potential but way to young and too tight.  I thought the ’04 Blanc de Blancs could use time in the bottle to get better, the Rose NEEDS time in the bottle at this point.  Toasted bread, ripe strawberries, red roses but noticeable acidity and concentration that I think could get better with time.  Having not tasted any older vintages of this wine, tough for me to score today.  93+ points

Our four wines at Ruinart

Our four wines at Ruinart

In glasses

In glasses

II. Veuve Clicquot

Our amazing tasting at Veuve Clicquot started at their private hotel in Reims, Hotel du Marc where a representative joined us for lunch.  The goal of the lunch was to show how well Champagne can pair with food.  The building itself was incredible and located fairly close to the winery’s visiting area.

Our menu at Hotel du Marc

Our menu at Hotel du Marc

Wines with lunch:

1. 2004 Veuve Clicquot Grande Dame – biscuit/yeasty aromas with a complex, layered palate.  Vanilla brioche with piercing acidity.  It didn’t feel as tight as the 2004 Dom Ruinart which felt as if it could eventually explode and yield greater complexity – this wine was drinking well and paired well with our appetizers with its high acidity but probably doesn’t have the same upside.  93 points

2. 2004 Veuve Clicquot Rose – roses, red fruit with some noticeable tannins.  As with Dom Ruinart, made as a blend of white and red base wines.  20 wines in the blend including grand and premier cru.  91 points

3. NV Veuve Clicquot Demi-sec – 35g / liter dosage and meant to be paired with our desserts.  Not only was I not a big fan of the wine, I didn’t think it was a good match for most desserts as it’s sweet but not enough to match anything but the simplest desserts.  Stone fruit and ripe pears on the palate with still some acidity to balance the sweetness.  If anything, I’d drink this wine by itself as a digestif, not with desserts or before a meal.  88 points

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It’s also worth mentioning that a visit to Veuve Clicquot is worth it for the cellar tour alone.  We only saw a small portion of the 18km they have but it was staggering.  Combining former stone mining tunnels with newly built tunnels, it’s such a large operation they use golf carts to go from one part to another:

The yellow stairway to their caves

The yellow stairway to their caves

Lane lines in their cellar

Lane lines in their cellar

Wine tastings in Europe – a few thoughts on regional differences

27 October 2014 – 15 November 2014, France & Italy

Diane and I just got back from our honeymoon this past weekend where we spent three weeks traveling through France and Europe.  We started in Paris, but quickly moved to Reims, St. Emilion, Margaux and Piemonte, finishing in Milan.  I’m still trying to get organized and start posting some tasting notes, but my general takeaway was that while the wines of each of the major regions we visited had the potential to be spectacular, the experience visiting the various producers couldn’t have been more different.

In Champagne, we started with two big houses: Dom Ruinart and Veuve Clicquot.  Their miles and miles of cellars in addition to the history resulted in fabulous tours.  The tastings reminded me that although Champagne produces a staggering amount of wine in terms of total bottles, the quality at the big chateau is incredibly high.  We also visited two growers: R. Geoffroy and Marc Hebrart.  A totally different but fascinating experience.  It was great to see them proudly point out on the maps their best parcels of vineyards that they owned, the various quality differences of each of the crus and their different beliefs in how to make a great Champagne.  I would highly recommend visiting this region especially as it’s so close to Paris – 1 hour on the train will get you there.

St. Emilion and the Medoc, from a wine tourist’s perspective, were a huge disappointment. The wines were great and the scenery, beautiful, but visiting the chateaus was a huge letdown.  Expect to be charged 15-25 EUR to be shown the cellars, force-fed propaganda ad nauseam and given a tiny pour of ONE (usually from a half bottle) of their most recent bottling to taste.  We were told on one tour that Bordeaux was the only wine producing region located on the 45th parallel, making it THE ideal place on the entire planet to grow wine (I decided not to mention Piemonte, let along Oregon).

When I asked one chateau if they thought some of the insane pricing of the 2009 and 2010 vintages may hurt the breadth of their customer base at some point, I was read the riot act about how even the best producers can lose money any year, how no producer in the region makes a lot of money because they invest so much in the properties and how it’s truly a labor of love … it sounded like they were about to apply for non-profit status.  We were then taken into the cellar to be shown a professionally made video about how great their chateau was in a huge home-theater setup.

St. Emilion is a beautiful town to visit and the food in the area is delicious, albeit very rich and heavy at times.  However, I can’t recommend visiting for wine tasting purposes as anyone who actually wants to learn about the wineries and taste through vintages will never encounter anything resembling that experience.

The winemakers of Barolo and Barbaresco were a breath of fresh air – family operations where everyone contributed to the business.  You could tell how passionate they were about their wines, their vineyards and their history.  We visited Giacosa, Pelissero, Vietti, Sandrone and Vajra.  The people who hosted us, often family members of winery, could not have been nicer and as they noticed our enthusiasm for their wines, they wanted to explain more – about their process, philosophy and history.

At each tasting, despite not being in the industry or VIP’s by any means, we were offered to taste through their full range of wines, Dolcettos, Barberas, etc. all the way to the Barolos/Barbarescos and the Riservas as well.  They would also typically include one older vintage to show how the wines would change over time.  The majority of the Barolos we tasted were 2010 vintage wines and I started to realize what all the hype was about – they were, as a whole, gorgeous – incredible aromatics, very approachable even at a young age, and had tremendous differentiation based on vineyard location.

For two Nebbiolo lovers who had never visited the region before, it was eye-opening and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough for any wine enthusiasts who want to the visit the region where their favorite bottles are made.

Tasting notes (hopefully) to follow as I get organized.