Barolo: Beauty Comes with Age

"We want to make wines that age, and we want some of the tannins you get from the seed, as well as flavors from the skins. Not a lot, Just a touch. We don't make wines that are meant to be showy today and fall apart tomorrow. We want 'built-in' structure." ~ Michael McNeill Hanzell Vineyards via Matt Kramer's "Age before Beauty" article in WS. 

Whether we are talking about Barolo in Piemonte or one of Sonoma's very best Chardonnay producers, aging potential in wine, is now a key component I look for in bottles I purchase. Typically for me, when evaluating its long-term potential; I'm not considering aging a bottle of wine for more than 10 years, but at the very least, up to that point. I readily admit, when I first started tasting and drinking wine, the thought of aging wine to its full potential, was not top of mind, when choosing a wine to bring home. 

But now that I've been collecting wine for over ten years, having a bit of hindsight, pulling some of the gems out of the home cellar, they're just stunning. Quickly making the point, beauty does come with age; but beauty is not the only thing which comes with age, perspective is also a bonus. Perception is not reality, the reality is the reality. The wine you see above has that potential, in the short term, it's more beautiful than gorgeous.

It's not the uber hot-gurl in the bikini or stunningly short, shorts. No, this wine is seducing in a far more subtle, seductive way, one who allures you with it sophisticated charms, and bonus, it won't break the bank. Although it's not a cheap date, seeing the price of admission is $35-$40 and like Hanzell [of which I have two of their labels] is one of the curated wines which sit on the store shelves of the wine store I formerly managed. 

I've been fond of saying on this blog, I know how to pick winners when it comes to wine. All of which sounds like bragging, but when it can be backed up by sales at the cash register, and the excellent feedback of satisfied customers who continue to come back for more suggestions, then you know you're onto something. 

But what do I know, I'm just a wine blogger, a curator [if you will] of wine, a wine-steward who previously worked for a 'grocery-store' in La Jolla. When it comes to insanely obscure wine knowledge, you know, the type of information used to trip-up those aspiring to become an advanced sommelier, that's not my forte. Picking and writing about amazing, soulful wines, that will rock your wine world to the core, is my wheel-house. But it would seem it's not a welcomed skill to have in chain-store, who all too often have one singular motivation for choosing a wine to put on the shelf and that's margin. I understand the need for profit and keeping the bottom line happy, but there's a happy medium between uber profitable and profitable. Which reminds me of an apt saying, "pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered."

I'll leave the mindless, drivel about commodity wines to those who just can't seem to say 'no' to whatever pops out of the PR sample case. So no, not every wine I taste is a sample, because I see far less these days, but I'm not trolling for them either. Why take this tone and tenor here, inside this review, I'm not sure, I guess I just wanted to vent a little via my soapbox.

It's time to talk about the wine, the 'real' star of the show. Hold the phone, fantastic soul and substance from the most amazing Piemonte vintage of recent note. This wine, which I just ordered for my store, is like a majestic equine, power under control. In the glass, a delicate cherry core, the rim hitting a light brick colored note. On the palate, this wine hits a very delicate, but powerful note. Cherry, strawberry, sage, and sweet-tar play a gorgeous melody; this wine is firm, yet harmonious. This wine is dry, but the power is there, The tannins are a bit bracing, but time in the decanter will even them out, best yet, give this wine a year or two in the cellar and your patience will be richly rewarded.

Not an audacious bragger, not a cocktail for afternoon drinks. Oh no, selling for under $40, this wine will wow those who consider themselves in the 'know' and for those who don't, it will leave you scratching your head, wondering what all the 'fuss' is about. 

Love #Barolo like I do, but the price of admission is too steep? I feel ya, I'd grab this one for the cellar, you won't be disappointed. My score for this beauty is 93 points, it's highly recommended. Not a sample, it was paid for with cold hard cash, the old fashion way. 


Krista L. said…
I still buy a lot of my wines too - and reviews like these remind me of why I do. I hope this one is available in Canada because I'd love to try it. Cheers!
Will Eyer said…
Hi Krista,
Somehow, I missed replying to your comment. That bottle was amazing, I know an overused word, but it's apt. I hope you're enjoying some excellent wines cheers!

Haha, thanks for slogging through this very opinionated piece. While I'm sure many bloggers 'buy' a bottle here and there, far too many, in my opinion, go overboard with their fawning praise of 'sample' wines. I'd like to see a bit more balance in reviews purchased vs. samples, it would lend a bit more credibility to their claims of objectivity.

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