Barolo Archives - Please The Palate
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Drinking Barolo is always a special treat! Drinking Barolo with a bit of age on it is all the better because Barolo is a wine that needs time to age to be all the more drinkable. Giorgio Lavagna from Fontanafredda, the largest and oldest monopole of Barolo in Piemonte, came to Los Angeles with half a dozen different Barolo wines five, eight, nine, ten, 20 and 24 years of age. Drinking these wines from an historical estate was a treat as I wrote about in the Napa Valley Register and share here. It is that time of the year when the Italians come to the United States to showcase their newest releases of Barolo and Barbaresco wines. This is usually to the great delight of those who are able to taste them. And this year is no exception, as 2016 is reputed to be one of the best vintages in decades. But the issue is that when you taste a 2016 Barolo or Barbaresco in 2020, the wines are still babies. They are high in tannins and not ready to fully enjoy. What we want to drink are Barolo and Barbaresco wines with 10, 20 or more years of age. And that is what I got to do when Giorgio Lavagna from Fontanafredda in Piemonte came to Los Angeles for a wine lunch.
When you look at a soft shoulder bottle of wine, you can identify it as a Burgundy bottle and find Pinot Noir or Chardonnay inside. If you see a tall shoulder bottle, it is recognized as a Bordeaux bottle and we find Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon in those. Then there is the Albeisa bottle that has its own unique shape, between the Burgundy and Bordeaux bottle. And, it has the name "Albeisa" embossed around it. This name is a symbol, it is more than the bottle but what is in the bottle. It is about a place and people. I wrote about the story of the Albeisa bottle in the Napa Valley Register and share it here. To speak of the wines of Piemonte, Italy, little more needs to be said than Barolo and Barbaresco. The prestige of those two areas, as well as the entire region of the Langhe, is known by wine lovers around the world. But have you ever looked closely at a bottle of Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, or Arneis and seen the embossed words “Albeisa” printed around the shoulder of the bottle? Have you wondered why it is written on the bottle? Do you know the meaning of that word? The Albeisa bottle is a distinct element that symbolizes a region, a people, a tradition, and more.
As Maude journeyed to a new wine region in the world for the fourth quarter of 2018, they landed in Piedmont, Italy. The most prestigious wine region in Italy, Piedmont, which means "foot of the mountains", is between the Ligurian coast and the Alps in northwest Italy. Home to Nebbiolo and Barbera, as well as hazelnuts, cheese, chocolate and Alba white truffles, we were in for a treat. I spent six months living in Piedmont, in the town of Vercelli, the riso (rice) capital of Italy. I was not knowledgeable about wine at the time, nor would I have called myself a foodie. But, I was introduced to the wines and many of the classic dishes and Maude's Piedmont menu was a twist on these memorable dishes.