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Barolo tasting

People do keep asking for Barolo, and we thought it was time to see if we could find one to put on the shelf at a really good price. Our super-efficient placement student, Aurelie, who is practically one of the family at this stage, got the lovely job of asking a selection of Italian suppliers if they could offer us a Barolo at an extraordinarily low price.

Thanks to the language barrier, everyone Aurelie spoke to kept their wig on when she named the price we were looking for, and we ended up with over a dozen samples of more or less the same age to try: the majority from 2003. We were privileged to welcome a very experienced guest taster when we finally got around to opening the bottles the week before last, so a welcome degree of impartiality was introduced. It's all too easy for opinions to converge when you taste in the same company all the time. I ran the camera for a few seconds at the start:

(I pinched the soundtrack to get those of you who are interested to go and have a look at Mads Kjolby's MySpace. He's a guitar hero friend of a bass hero friend, Steve Kershaw of Stekpanna.)

Four or five years old is very young to be drinking Barolo, and this showed: there was a good deal of pretty much unmitigated tannin around, as you might expect, and corresponding high acidity. However, there was a lot of promise too, with some very tempting aromas and flavours already present, and in several cases a particular velvety roundness like an enthusiastic kiss in the middle of the mouthful.

And there was a happy ending. We were quick to agree on a 'winner'. Click the photo for a tasting sheet.

Porta Rossa Barolo

We shall be speaking to the good folk at Cantina della Porta Rossa; and, I hope, in short order offering a real but affordable Barolo to accompany manly roast beef &c. for the next few years, then, as it mellows, a wider range of meats and even, as the Cantina suggest, "meditation and spiritual concentration". You don't get that from the Australians. Takes all sorts to make a world.

7 thoughts on “Barolo tasting”

  • Lorraine@italianfoodies

    I know a couple of Italians down Limerick way who would be more than happy to help with the tasting:)

    Reply
  • Lorraine@italianfoodies

    I know a couple of Italians who would be more than happy to help with any research you may require;) Quick question in relation to the mixed case of wine, can it be all Italian??

    Reply
  • Julian

    Hi Lorraine, Thank you for the offer! We're in the middle of a deal for new Pinot Grigio/Valpolicella/Ripasso/Amarone from the one supplier, which we - sorry - tasted without you last week! I'm not certain if you are referring to a particular mixed case - but we can mix any twelve bottles you like. Your wish is my command and all that.

    Reply
  • Lorraine@italianfoodies

    The new deal sounds great!! Have never had Ripasso?? Primitivo is my new love at the moment. I'd love to get a mixed case of Italian wine, should I wait for the new range???

    Reply
  • Julian

    Ripasso is fermented on Amarone lees, so you get some of that Amarone-ish richness but in a fresher, lighter body. We have four Primitivos - we got smitten too! We were just talking here about putting a mixed case of Italian wines on the website. I could mix you a really good case with what we already have, though the new deal is due in in about ten days, and the Barolo a bit after that (the supplier is letting me put his back label into native-speaker English, so there will be some printing time).

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  • Lorraine@italianfoodies

    Sounds great, do I order through the website or just email you directly??

    Reply
  • Julian

    Me directly is as good as anything, by e-mail or telephone - but the website works too, and is not so automated that I can't factor in our blog commenter's discount! So whichever you've a mind to.

    Reply
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