Fall is a pretty exciting time of year if you ask me... full of gorgeous colors that light the sides of our streets and hillsides, that always too quickly drop out of sight - forcing our eyes to find a tree that has yet to shed its cover... full of perfectly temperatured days that one could hope for all year long... and full of trepidation that the vibrant colors and moderate temperatures will soon have no home, and it will only be dark, and cold. But, the 'exciting' part rears its pretty face in the preparation for winter... and that is the resurgence of our craving for red wine. All summer the sun was too glorious, too hot, too univiting to welcome big, rich, tannic red juice into our glasses; all the while securing delightfully crisp whites & rosés to house full-time in our thoughts and mouths. But now... the cravings have come on strong... and it's time for dark, brooding, mouth-sucking rouge.
The reason I am even geeking out on writing these words right now is based on my most recent 'wine memory': last night's tasting group. I am fortunate enough to be part of a tasting group that really doesn't hold back the pocket book when selecting what to bring to the monthly 'tasting event' (it's more like a wine-geeks-of-Idaho-social-gathering). Last night... Piemonte. Such a slew of fantastic Nebbiolo! Ha! Yeah, there was a Barbera, and a Dolcetto, and 2 Arneis... but the other 11 bottles were the wines that only the cool autumn air can promote and support - Barbarescos & Barolos.
Being that there was quite an assortment of deliciousness, there is claim to right about each and every one of them. But this is Bon Vivant's Blog! And a clearly stunning bottle in the line-up last night was none other than Luigi Voghera's 2005 Barbaresco. Now to be fair... each and every bottle in this beautiful group of Nebbiolos had some clearly stunning characteristics! But I'll focus on the one dearest to our hearts... the Nebbiolo that comes from a whoppin' 5 acre vineyard in the heart of Neive, in a village called Tetti.
Luigi Voghera produces artisinal boutique wines in the Barbaresco DOCG zone of Piemonte, Italy. A winery going on 40 years old, and run by Luigi's son Livio; the shear class and style of each and every bottle they produce is truly delicious. Being a very small estate in the smack-dab center of an epic, world-reknown region, the Barberesco is Voghera's flagship wine. 2005 proved to be a difficult and extremely wet year for Piemonte, making it a game of when to pick and hoping for the best. Livio, a very astute and precise wine-maker, seemed to have done just fine with his '05 vintage. And believe it or not, his Barbaresco is really starting to 'show off' a bit even, obviously gaining from ample decanting if possible. So... to me... the fun part of tasting all of these nebbiolos next to one another, was picking out the pretty flowers from within each glass, as if it were a vase. Each and every bottle had gorgeously soft floral tones to them, showcasing everything imaginable between purple petunias and black velvet roses. Now this isn't like smelling the wedding bouquet of Viognier, in fact.. the floral component is nothing like that. It is soft. Sweet. Subdued and gentle. Merely complementing with a soft kiss, the rich earth and fruit that billows forth from the glass.
The Voghera '05, like many nebbiolos, is a wine that your attuned schnoz could 'set up shop' in for days on end. Notes of violet and delicate clematis flower seemed effortlessly intertwined with dank forest floor, mushroom, pomegranate, and tart black cherry. Full of aromas alluding to the flavors that were to soon follow, but showing such deep complexities in the nose that our vocabulary has yet to be able to name them all. The palate... well of course it didn't suck one bit. The brooding flavors and gripping tannins all followed the beautiful nose like any great nebbiolo should; but the distinctly incredible (and much hoped for) acidity was nothing short of spectacular. The brightness of the fruit's acid was pronounced and dead on, creating a mouthfeel that not only accompanied all the flavors and aromas perfectly, but giving this wine a special 'something' next to many of its counterparts. The finish lasted for a long time after the wine was gone, only longing for a masterfully cooked meal to stand next to this behemoth of a Barbaresco.
Well... needless to say... I'm ready for winter... and all of the life-changing reds that it will bring.