Barbaresco Dinner at Mezzo 02/07/12

That is right folks, it has been an Italian-a-thon in my tasting circles. But far out it has been a great adventure. This was my third Italian wine event in a week and while I was a bit tired, my enthusiasm for their wines is as strong as ever.

This dinner revolved around the 2001 vintage of Produttori del Barbaresco. Last month we tasted a range of their magnificent 2007s at Matteo’s.

2001 was an excellent vintage in Barbaresco and we were all keen to see if an extra six years meant the wines were softer and more seductive.

The short answer is not yet. Like the 2007s they were tannic, acidic and chewy. But they did possess an impressive core of densely packed fruit. They just need a lot of time. And by that I mean 15 or more years. Which for some people is a scary prospect. Which is why you have to start your cellar when you are young.

We had quite a long chat about the value of the wines and if people would be willing to cellar them. The consensus was no. Because people are not sure the wines will come around. I love these wines and feel they are as good if not better than a lot of Bordeaux and Burgundy. They are also significantly better value in my humble opinion.  

So the challange has been laid on Patrick to find some really lovely older examples to prove just how good these wines are at their peak.

Until then I can reminisce about the good times I had with these wines.

Too many good wines is not a huge problem. But it makes it hard some days!
A likely looking lot. This was all the 2001s we tasted with 2007 ‘minders’

Charles Orban Blanc de Blancs NV A lovely, fresh, clean and crisp Champagne that went perfectly with yummy oysters from Merrimbula and my favourite Mezzo starter arancini balls.

The six wines from Producttori del Barbaresco we tasted below were all from 2001. Patrick put them in order from most elegant to the beefiest (that is an authentic wine term!). These were all dry and savoury wines with long and clean acidity and hefty tannins. They were all so young and vibrant but tightly packed.

Barbaresco Riserva DOCG ‘Moccagatta’ Red, currants, stoney, hint of rubber and spice. The palate was spicy, with hints of oak, pepper, rocket and brilliant length. Definitely the lightest of the line up in terms of weight and tannin intensity but probably one of the best balanced.

Barbaresco Riserva DOCG ‘Rabaja’ Oxy dark berries, olives and a hint of oyster shell. This wine was a bit shy at first but eventually jumped out of the glass and was one of the favourites of the night. The palate was beautifully sweet with red fruits, floral – rose petal notes. Very long and refined. This was a pleasure to drink.

One of the really attractive wines of the night.
The sleek and sexy wine. It was lovely drinking.

Barbaresco Riserva DOCG ‘Pora’ This wine had the most overt nose. Cardomom, floral/roses, aniseed, smoke/flint and jubey fruit. In the mouth it was dark, smokey/flinty/stoney, very long, vibrantly fruited on the finish and firmly acidic. This was the most complete and the best balanced of the wines. It really showed well on the night and was my favourite for drinking. 

Barbaresco Riserva DOCG ‘Asili’ Initially this was my favourite wine. It showed lovely dense smoke, dark fruits, plums and toasty/spicy oak notes. The palate showed red and jube like fruits, tea leaf and was long and dense. But as the night wore on it became apparrent this wine was suffering from cork taint and by the end of the night it was definitively corked. Shame because this was the third vintage I had tried of this wine and the previous two were awesome. This will require re-tasting because it had so much potential!

Barbaresco Riserva DOCG ‘Ovello’ This guy was a monster. Dark, earthy, dense with a hint of grapeyness. The palate was the tightest, most tannic and muscular. Great if you want to put a wine away from 25 or more years but once the food was gone it was pretty hard work to drink now.

Barbaresco Riserva DOCG ‘Montestefano’ It was almost perceptible the minute I sat at the table but this wine was so corked that it was DNPIM (Did Not Put In Mouth) and everyone was subtly pushing their glass as far away from themselves as they could. Stupid cork. Such an attention seeker!

You can always tell the guy who didn't learn how to share/
Not sure why I always end up with bottles in front of me…

Seppeltsfield Rare Tokay In a break from two traditions we had no mystery wine and didn’t have a Port. I have to say I missed the mystery wine experience sorely. However I was happy to be drinking such a classy fortified. Rich, silky, dense with lots of layers for flavours. This sort of wine really needs a nice hunk of blue cheese though, as I find the sweetness gets a bit much for my savoury obsessed palate.

As we were leaving Mezzo’s owner Silvio gave me a taste of a mellow, elegant and vibrant Willows Cabernet 2002 and a caramel, stoney fruity and mid-weight Moss Wood Chardonnay 2010.  Not a bad job if you can get it.

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