A trip down memory lane with wine

By Marco Giovanetti

One of the fun aspects of wine drinking is the chance to drink older vintages. It happens to me that every time I drink an aged bottle of wine, I take a trip down memory lane. What does it mean? Basically, nostalgia invades my body. I start thinking what I was doing that specific year. Did something positive happened to me?. Was I studying or working? These are some of the questions that I reflect upon as I sip my wine glass.

I also like to think about the history of the specific wine purchase. For instance,  some of my prized wine bottles in my cellar were given to me as gifts from my loved ones. I remember in my early thirties, my wife gave me a bottle of Solaia 2007 for my birthday and a Ornellaia 2007 later as well for Christmas.  When I was an undergraduate student at Concordia, broke as a kite, recall fondly the feeling of proudness of acquiring my first bottle of Sassicaia 1997.

An aged bottle of wine can also give you a picture on what direction it is evolving. Aged liked a fine wine,” is a popular saying, but not all wine gets better with age, and the best wines aren’t all old. Wine is a living thing and does not attain immortality like some people would like to think.

The point of aging wine in bottle is that it can develop complexity of aromas, flavours, and change in texture in a way that can’t be imitated with other drinks.  This gives for a unique drinking experience that only you (and anyone lucky enough to share it with you) can experience at that moment in time with that bottle.

Hardcore wine collectors love to talk about their oldest prized treasures, and people who know little about wine often ask wine lovers what the oldest bottle of wine they’ve tasted. Some wine enthusiasts have an obsession with age, as if drinking a young wine is a big no-no, a social misstep that costs the wine snob brownie points.

One wine that usually pleases with age is Barolo, a fact of which I was reminded last week when I opened a bottle of Beni di Batasiolo Riserva Barolo 2008 ( SAQ # 11599231, $37.25). A beautiful nose in development displaying aromas of cherry, porcini mushrooms and Earl grey tea. Elegant with noble tannins and a everlasting finale. A magnificent 10 years old Barolo  for the price of a song

Enjoying Nebbiolo is an exercise of patience for wine lovers. Tannic and alcoholic are in their youth, but with age they develop incredible aromas of violets and perfume, an array of supremely elegant complex nuances that have you searching in your mind for adjectives  – leather, truffles, black olives, tar, licorice, wood smoke and much more besides. Those tannins allow the wines to age and improve for decades in great vintages.

Because Nebbiolo is so tannic when young, it could be difficult to appreciate in its youth. It is recommended that you leave it to rest  for 10, 15 or 20 years depending on vintage.A properly made and well-aged Barolo or its cousin, Barbaresco, are among the most consistently pleasurable old wines that you can enjoy.

Barale Fratelli, winner of Le Jugement de Montréal 2018 

Speaking about Nebbiolo it almost slipped my mind to talk about the Langhe rosso 2016 from Barale Fratelli. This young rosso took the first spot on the $30 and less category at the prestigious panel tasting Le Jugement de Montréal 2018, organized by RASPIPAV 

A panel of journalists, sommeliers and wine bloggers (myself included) were gathered September 26 at Toque restaurant to evaluate a selection of natural red wine divided into two categories: $30 and less and $30 and more. This is a great victory for Italian wine in Montreal considering that there are more than 16,000 private wine imports references in the Quebec Market.

Azienda Agricola Barale Fratelli

“Tannins are the fingerprint of Nebbiolo”
Sergio Barale

Barale Fratelli has been making wine in Piedmont for over a century. The Azienda takes pride in rescuing from extinction the Nebbiolo clones  Michet and Rosé, from the historic Castellero vineyard.

The Barale Brothers Winery, (Azienda Agricola Fratelli Barale), was founded in 1870 when Francesco Barale began making Barolo and other wines typical of the Langa region. Francesco owned vineyards in several local areas, including Castellero, Costa di Rose, Preda and Bussia in Monforte, as can be illustrated on period maps. Sergio Barale, present owner and producer, carefully attends to every aspect of the cultivation of his 20 hectares of vineyards which are situated in some of the Langa’s most historically important hills.

I was captivated right away when I blind tasted this wine. Built on the traditional style of Piedmont winemaking, it was exquisite with well defined aromas of strawberries, fleur de sel caramel and licorice. On the palate, it was a quite elegant with a firm tannic expression. The Langhe Barale Fratelli is available privately via Bacchus 1976 ( http://bacchus76.com/) for the modest price of $29.48-case of 6. It might be enjoyed as well at the RASPIPAV private import wine festival ( http://www.raspipav.com/salonvip/salonvip.php)  taking place from Oct 27th-Oct 29th in the Bonsecours Market.