The Barolo Barbaresco World Opening
When it comes to great Italian wine, Barolo and Barbaresco are two of the most renowned varietals available for sipping. Wine-os refer to these two as the “King & Queen” of the Langhe region of Northern Italy.
Both wines are made of 100% Nebbiolo grapes. Nebbiolo is native to the Piedmont region, one I have yet to travel to but have plans to visit later in the year.
Barolo and Barbaresco are truly coveted wines, and typically in a higher price range than I will spend for Tuesday night drinking. So when I saw that the Barolo & Barbaresco Consortium was hosting a World Opening Grand Tasting in New York I knew I had to go.
The event took place at Center 415, a massive space on 5th Avenue that was delightfully filled over 200 different wines to try. I wish I could tell you that I tried them all but that was a task too large even for me.
We started out with a couple of photos to commemorate the night, grabbed our first sample, a 2016 Barolo del Comune di Serralunga from Alessandro Rivetto. and enjoyed it while waiting to grab some sustenance provided by none other than Eataly.
After a quick bite of some delicious antipasto, I was introduced to the team at Pio Cesare, including Pio Boffa, the wine houses’ fourth generation leader. You can tell just by looking at Pio that he’s one of those guys who is so passionate about his craft and wants to talk to everyone about it. He can definitely light up any room!
Pio Cesare brought along a 2015 Barolo, which drank beautifully. It’s a classic Barolo profile: full bodied, dark fruits, and balanced tannins. This one can age for a while or you can drink it now. My recommendation – buy 2 bottles, drink one now and take notes, then open the other a few years down the road and see if you notice any changes. This is something Michael and I have begun doing!
From Pio Cesare, I was moved over to Marchesi di Barolo, which I’ve been familiar with for a while. I have friends who live in the area and have been to the winery and restaurant many times. Valentina Abbona, part of the family who now runs the winery, was there to discuss their wines.
Valentina brought along their 2014 Barolo Sarmassa. The wine is spicy, yet sweet with hints of licorice, vanilla, and rose, along with a touch of tobacco that makes drinking it a truly sensory experience. This is definitely one to savor as the wine nearly dances on your tongue as you sip.
After speaking with Valentina, we moved over to speak with another winemaker I have mutual friends with, Claudio Viberti. Claudio is another one who can light up a room when he talks of his home, his wines, his restaurants. He is truly proud of what he and his family do and it shows on his face, and in his wine!
We had more than one taste of his 2013 Barolo Riserva Bricco delle Viole. It’s an elegant wine that while drinking well now, is better to save for 2022 and on. It has a bouquet of dried fruits and spices matched with chewy tannins, making this the perfect compliment to the cheeses I had earlier in the evening.
We spent a while speaking with Claudio, learning more about his wines with each person he poured samples for, but there was more wine to conquer!
I’m beginning to realize how annoying I am with this mutual friend thing of mine, but off we popped to see Luca at Paitin to sample their 2013 Barbaresco Serra Boella Sori Paitin. The Barbaresco has a bit more density to it, with hints of leather in addition to it’s ripe fruit and spicy profile.
I mentioned earlier about buying two bottles of these wines; one to try now and one to age. As these wines can be quite pricey, another option is to invest in a Coravin. We just got one for the holidays and it’s amazing. If you aren’t familiar – it’s a system that allows you to pour a glass of wine from the bottle without corking it. Great product and I highly recommend for any wine-o or aspiring wine-o!
If you were unfamiliar with Barolo or Barbaresco prior to reading this post, I invite you to try and learn more about them. Drop me a comment below if you want to do a virtual tasting, or learn more about the region itself!