Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Beauty of Barolo - Part 2

The morning of our 2nd day in Barolo, we drove around to a number of other hilltop towns in the area. It was great fun driving along the winding roads, up towards each little town. It was incredibly picturesque, and each town would have a panoramic view across the rolling hills of Piedmont across towards the Alps.

Of course, everywhere you drove there were vineyards, often located quite dramatically on steep hillsides. This just whetted my appetite for the tastings in the afternoon.

After lunch we went to a number of wineries, including Damilano and Francesco Rinaldi & Figli. However, the one that stood out was Borgogno Francesco.

We drove into the winery on a whim, seeing it as we drove along. We weren't really sure whether they did tastings so we approached the house a bit sheepishly. We were greeted by an elderly man with a big smile and firm handshake. In my non existant Italian, and his non existant English, we worked out that we wanted to try their wines and were invited into their house.

We were greeted by a pretty chaotic family scene where a young girl was chucking a tantrum. Ushered into the kitchen we met a woman who spoke really good english. She was the daughter of the elderly man, who she explained was in fact Francesco Borgogno, the owner and winemaker. We soon struck up a great conversation with plenty of translation going on between myself on Francesco. The winery and the vineyard (Brunate which sits between Barolo and La Morra) was initially run by Francesco's father, and now Francesco's son was doing most of the winemaking. Francesco pronounced that his was the best Barolo. Without context that would sound like a pretty arrogant statement, but the way in which he said it, it didn't seem arrogant at all, and you could see it was borne out of pride for what his family had produced over many years.

The Barolo we had was the 2005. The first thing I noticed was the price. 16 Euro. This was the cheapest Barolo we had seen to that point, with most being around the 25 Euro mark, and obviously a number being a lot more than that.

The nose was beautifully fragrant, with roses and licquorice noticeable. The wine is from the famous Brunate vineyard, which typically produces very aromatic Barolo and this was definitely the case. It is also aged in large salvonian oak barrels, so there is not much noticeable in the way of oak on the nose.

The palate was full bodied, rich, with good length, and once again had some beautiful tannins.

This was one of the most enjoyable Barolo's we had tried thus far, and it was far and away the cheapest. We nabbed a couple of bottles.

All through the tasting, the family were incredibly friendly, with all sorts of cheese and meats coming out and very generous tastings (we had to almost physically stop Francesco from pouring us another glass!). The young girl's tantrum continued throughout much of the tasting, but was all part of the big Italian family experience. They were incredibly generous, and almost seemed honoured that a couple had travelled all the way from Australia and were tasting their wines, which to me was ridiculous seeing I felt lucky to be drinking such quality wine for free.

A memorable Barolo to match a memorable experience!


1 comment:

Brown said...

I am jealous Red, very jealous. Been wanting to go to North Italy to taste wine for a while - ok, ok, I want to go to North Italy all the time just to go there - fantastic part of the world.

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