Thursday, January 7, 2010

First Review of 2010, a Barbaresco!

Happy New Year! I hope it isn't too late to say that. It's been a week, hopefully your resolutions are doing well. Mine are plodding along. Sadly, I've currently run out of white wines, as of the time of this entry, which will necessitate a trip to the local shop to pick some up. Over the past few months I've become increasingly intrigued by Chardonnay because it can come in so many different forms. Right now I'm thinking I'll try to buy a couple of examples from California, France, Italy, Australia and maybe Washington. That should hopefully make for some interesting reading over the next few blogs I write.To give a little information to you all, I'm going to try to find some buttery Chards, some oaked and un-oaked, some acidic examples and maybe some of the fruitier styles. Since it's all coming out of pocket, expect nothing to be over 25$ a bottle. Sorry, you won't see me reviewing Cakebread or Kongsgaard here (unless someone sends me them). I'm going to throw in some of the more widely available wines out there in an effort to perhaps broaden my appeal as a budding writer but also more importantly, to help anyone who reads my blog find the wine's I'm writing about. That's a topic for a whole blog entry though, so stay tuned.

Today is different though, today is another red. It's the 2005 La Loggia Barbaresco, costs about 13$ at your local Trader Joe's. Barbaresco is up in Piedmonte, northwestern Italy. The terrain is hilly and it's a bit cooler than down south towards Tuscany. In this area and as well as in Barolo, the primary grape is Nebbiolo. I've often heard of Barbarescos being called "baby Barolos" since they seem to be made in a more accessible style, meaning you can drink them earlier than with a Barolo. Incidentally I've read and heard it mentioned that Barolo shouldn't be opened until it's at least 15-20 years old. If only we all could afford to do that! Anyways this is perhaps an "entry level" Barbaresco, as they can go past 500$ a bottle if you buy the stuff from Gaja. Let's see how it did when paired with a classic American dinner.

2005 La Loggia Barbaresco
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I opened this bottle about an hour before I tasted it, and poured it 30 minutes before. Upon my first sniff, I smelled raisins and sour cherries, with some spice like a nutmeg or something. It was either that or cloves and I'm leaning towards cloves. Since I love Italian wines, this excited me and got me to expect something fun and interesting on the palate. With each passing minute you could see that more flavors were coming out, so I felt like it was going to be a good bottle. I should also note the color was a nice inky purple, it looked serious and tasty! Almost like a petit syrah (or is it sirah?). Time for the taste, excitement was building up since the nose was so interesting. That first sip was adequate, not exactly what I expected but maybe a second sip would be better because two is better than one, right? Yes, my logic is flawless, I know. On the second sip, I tasted some notes of blackberry, tobacco, cedar and dark chocolate. The tannins were firm, definitely noticeable but also had a nice silky quality. Here's where things started to unravel though. Each flavor presented itself in a blocky, un-integrated way. They didn't seem to flow together seamlessly or create a structure in the wine. At first, there was the blackberry and sour cherry, then a dollop of the spices, cloves I suspect. Right after that was an earthy, dusty element before the tannins kicked in. Now the dark chocolate and tobacco that I got faint tastes of were in there somewhere but they didn't really have much definition.There was no tapestry of flavors and not once did I feel like the wine was complex. Unfortunately that isn't what I was looking for in a Barbaresco.

Summarizing what I rambled on about in the paragraphs above, the wine was decent enough for 13$ but nothing stellar. I think for an entry-level Barbaresco it's tasty, but it definitely won't blow your mind. I paired the wine with a burger and fries, which seemed to work out very well. My score for the wine is a B-, because it's good enough to get you into Barbarescoes but is lacking integration and that is something I always look for in a wine. If you buy this, you'll probably like it and won't feel like you wasted your money, but perhaps will want more from it after finishing a glass or two. On the nose, it promises a lot but doesn't quite deliver on the palate, that disconnect just doesn't work for me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, if you want to follow me on twitter I'm @UCBeau. Over the next few blogs I may veer away from reviewing wine, there will be some beers and some non-wine related stuff but stick with me, we're going to have fun! Here's to a great 2010 full of delicious food and wine, friends, families, travel and a Jets victory on Saturday!

Beau Carufel

1 comment:

  1. Hey Beau,

    Nice review! I struggled to find any info on this wine as is nowhere to be found online. I was intrigued to find any Barbaresco for less than $20 (it's gone up since you tasted it - TJ's in OH is now selling it for $17).

    If you can get your hands on a wine from the same producer, there is a "Nerello del Bastardo" (presumably unclassified Nebbiolo) that is absolutely delicious and a phenomenal value!

    Salute - David(