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.
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.