Tag Archives: Italy

Sex Love and Barolo–playing FMK with my favorites

9 May

Oh wow. I’m not sure how, but I got to stay/work-Barolo/Barbaresco-cation. For the Barolo Barbaresco World Opening 2022. And I got to rate the latest vintages. Perhaps it is fate. Like, I am madly in love with Barolo and Barbaresco. Both are Nebbiolo, but Barolo is a little more brash, in terms of tannins, and aged longer than Barbaresco. It only makes sense I’d get to spend three days with them. Me, Barolo and Barbaresco–there’s a threesome dream team.

Granted there are different tiers of love. Barolo is a lover, Barbaresco I’d marry. I don’t know that there is a B in the Piemonte I’d kill. If I were playing Fuck Marry Kill with the region. Certainly not Barbera d’Asti.

Playing FMK with wine. How did I get there? Enough about me.

I don’t have ONE wine that made me realize wine was magic, but a Damilano Lecinquevignes was the first wine that made me go bonkers for a Nebbiolo–like I DID NOT KNOW THAT WINE DID THAT. I also didn’t know what to expect from an orgasm until I had one. The problem with great wine and sex is now I have expectations.

Sex, love, and Barolo. You really can’t take them apart.

If you are not familiar, they are wines made in Piedmont, in northern Italy. They are 100% Nebbiolo. It’s a finicky grape. It is high in everything–acid, tannins, alcohol–and that is perhaps what makes it so intoxicating on so many levels.

The morning after the casual welcome soirée on the 73rd floor of the Intercontinental, we walked into a room with 204 bottles of the recently released vintages of Barolo (2018) and Barbaresco (2019), and four hours to make our way through, in whatever order we wanted (they had a crew of somms to bring us whichever wine on the list we pleased)as many or as few of the bottles as we wished, and ultimately rate the vintages. I made it through about 50 wines.

I’ve realized that the more wine I sample, even when spitting, the more pithy, asshole-ish, and absurd my notes become. Not that I’m necessarily liking wines tasted later less–I just am a little less buttoned up in how I describe them.

Interestingly…and I’m just saying…some of my favorites, like top three faves, were favored producers from prior tastings and (hello I’m brain damaged, I don’t remember every favorite Nebbiolo without going through old notes and yes I keep notes on nearly everything) surprise surprise were loved again. And they were ones that turned up on the other’s top picks.

I could go on about the rest of the press tour and maybe I should. There was a party at Universal Studios. There was a master class. There was Fontina cheese (and there always should be cheese). There was a big walk around tasting for the trade. And then there was the walk around for the public that me and my new wine besties played hooky from because we got invited to a Cote de Rosés party with models in Hollywood where we greedily sucked down rosé like the water it was, after three days of Nebbiolo.

I digress.

I’ll be real. Barolo and Barbaresco are nearly always great, particularly when they’ve had some time to grow into their tannic noses. But it’s those top…let’s just say top ten, just to be controversial (probably more), that are the wines that make you go hmmm…a happy hmmm. If I’m being real (which I think I just said I was) there is no Kill in Barolo/Barbaresco FMK. It’s more like Fuck Marry Kiss.

I’ll start with a producer I was excited about at the morning tasting, Ettore Germano, and it wasn’t until I talked to the winemaker himself at the walk-around the next day that I thought hmmmm, there’s something familiar in his face. I later realized I’d had dinner next to him at a sparkling wine event four years ago. That time, he was pouring a sparkling Nebbiolo rosé that knocked my socks off. So I was happy that his solid reds were solid. Beyond solid really. That man’s wines are art.

My next pick, according to my tasting cohorts, is supes controversh for building a VERY modern winery that looks like wine boxes stacked on each other in Barolo. I feel like Italians do art and fashion so well and so progressively, so it’s interesting they object to a lil’ fun architecture but whatever. L’Astemia Pentita is the name of the wine and her Barolo from the Cannubi vineyard comes in purple glass bottles which I’m guessing is also not so popular with the locals. And it is GOOD. In my top five. Energetic, bracing, and then there’s notes of pastilles. Great fun. And maybe it’s wrong but I do love a troublemaker so long as their product is delish.

And then we come to my old friend ( I wish) G.D. Vajra. I cherish their wine. The bottling I had was from Barolo Bricco delle Viole. My notes read “smells like white chocolate laced w/ flowers, much fresher palate, alert tannins but not annoying -fernet-laced. Complex, fascinating, heady. I do love them.

Go on and get yourself some Barolo. Grab yourself a Barbaresco. Have some nibbles on hand and have a ball. I did.