Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Archives - Please The Palate
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This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
Barolo. Just saying the name sounds important. It sounds regal. It sounds strong. When I lived in the Piemonte area in Italy shortly after college, I knew very little, if anything, about wine. But on the table at every meal, I was drinking Dolcetto and Barbera on a daily basis. It was on special occasions that my friends would pull out a bottle of Barolo. I did not have the vocabulary to describe wine. But I knew that this was a special wine.
At Pebble Beach Food and Wine, a panel of sommeliers lead a discussion of Barolo as we sat down for a tasting of the Giacomo Borgogno wines from 1967 to 2010. Founded in 1761, Giacomo Borgogno is the father of Barolo, the original Barolo producer. He was the first to put the local wine into a bottle and commercialize it, beginning the legacy. The Borgogno family managed the estate for 247 years until 2008 when they sold it to the Farinetti family and a new evolution for the winery began.
Barolo has always been a classic wine, considered one of the best. The name implies a big, bold wine, but in the glass, the lack of a deep color contradicted this.
The Tre Bicchieri World Tour came to San Francisco to showcase the 2012 Tre Bicchieri winners, the top-rated Italian wines of the past year.  Organized by Gambero Rosso, which began in 1986, more than 20,000 wines were tasted by the panels, who awarded one, two, or three "Bicchieri" (or "glasses") to wines of exceptional character and quality.  This year every style of Italian wine and every region was represented among the 375 that received the highest rating of Tre Bicchieri (three glasses). As I typically organize events of this kind, I rarely have the opportunity to spend the entire afternoon tasting and learning and not running around keeping everything organized.  Walking into a room with more than 130 producers (and 300+ wines) can be rather overwhelming.  Where do you start?  Should you taste by varietal?  by region?  all whites and then reds?  By the time you figure out how you are going to approach the tasting, you have lost valuable tasting time.  Luckily, I had the great pleasure to taste the wines alongside Master Sommelier Andrea Immer Robinson, wine educator and author of books such as Great Wine Made Simple. Andrea recommends jumping back and forth between varietals, styles and regions so that your palate doesn't get fatigued quickly.  With her guidance, we tasted through more than half the tasting in just over two hours.
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