Everyone needs a friend who owns a "camp" in the Adirondacks. And everyone needs a friend who shows up with an amazing line-up of wines to accompany the meal they are preparing to honor the occasion. I was preparing a meal that could best be described as "Swiss-Germans comfort food". The menu included breaded pork shops, sweet and sour red cabbage, truffle oil and garlic mash potatoes, and fresh apple sauce. If it were to be enjoyed in Italy, this meal would probably be found in the far north: Friuli, Trentino-Alto Adige, northern Lombardy, etc. With a little stretch of an oenophile's imagination, I decided to pair the meal with a line-up of Nebbiolo based wines.
We started with Produttori del Barbaresco's Langhe Nebbiolo 2004 as we sampled cheeses and finished cooking our feast. Everything Produttori del Barbaresco makes seems to be of quality. They are the quintessential example of a sucessful modern Italian cooperative with 58 growers representing over a quarter of the Barbaresco zone's production and making wine from 9 famous Barbaresco crus. The Langhe Nebbiolo 2004 was feminine, elegant, and well-balanced with that perfect traditional aromatic profile one expects from Nebbiolo. The wine was on the lighter side but still had sufficient structure to transition nicely into our next wine and our dinner.
With our final wine decanted, I opened and poured everyone Aldo Conterno's Quartetto Langhe Rosso 2000. For anyone who has never experienced a "Super-Piemontese" wine, look no further. A blend of equal parts Nebbiolo, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, this modern styled wine is a blockbuster. Aged in French oak barrique, the Quartetto's blend begs contemplation and constant swirling to fully admire the beautiful bouquet and its endless evolution. While certainly a traditionalist in nature, this modern gem of wine never ceases to amaze me and could convince anyone as to the sucess of blending international varietals with Piedmont's great red grapes.
With the drink-now 2000 vintage having set the stage, it was time to unleash the fruited monster inside Gianni Gagliardo's Barolo 2000. Combined with the vintage and the producers's modern style, the Tortonian soils of La Morra yield the softer, richer, and more opulent characteristics amongst Barolo wine's many faces. Not to say there wasn't ample tannicity and structure to this wine, because there certainly was. Big and chewy with wafts of dried fruit and earth, this wine probably deserved cuisine more typical of its origin, but we suffered through its magnificence nonetheless. If you ever want to try amazing Barolo, check out Gianni Gagliardo.