Tunnel Vision

Greetings from Piemonte! I’m here as a guest for Nebbiolo Prima, a tasting of new releases from Barolo, Barbaresco and the Roero, happening next week. I’ve wanted to attend this tasting for the last several years but because of publishing schedules I couldn’t get away. Now that I’m more of a free agent, well, I just had to make this one a priority.

For these few days before the tasting, however, I’ll be visiting producers and generally getting into trouble. Stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, some crappy iphone photos from yesterday’s jet-lagged haze. I forgot the cable for my digital camera, so you’ll have to content yourself with the phone pics… sorry!

To transfer to the short-jump European flights at the Frankfurt airport, you need to pass through this underground tunnel. Early in the morning after a transatlantic flight.

La Morra overlook. It’s a little rainy here these days.

Castello di Verduno’s delightful 2008 Pelaverga with carne cruda.

Giuseppe Rinaldi’s awesome 2008 Barbera d’Alba and a couple plates of tajarin to take the edge off after a long flight.

Native Yeasts and Reggae

(Above: One of my favorite Barolo producers, Giuseppe Rinaldi. Definitely old world, old school, right down to the groovy label.)

The title of this post refers to Thursday night’s unofficial theme at Terroir (sorry Luc, it was too good of a line not to use!); I had gone there to meet up with Joe Manekin, blogger behind the enjoyable and enthusiastic Old World, Old School, member of the K&L retail staff and all around nice guy. Joe emailed a while back and suggested we get together–this seems to be a bit of a trend among wine bloggers lately (here and here)–and I was all for it. The enjoyment and appreciation of wine, while interesting and maybe even fun to get into online, is something that’s best done in person. Besides, meeting in person is a great way to strenghten the bonds in this viritual community (can I even say that anymore?) of wine geeks. It’s also kind of like going on an internet date; dude, like so 21st century!

Needless to say, we drank some killer wines, including:

Georg Breuer’s 2002 Nonnenberg Riesling – From Bruer’s highest riesling vineyard. Oily, fusel aromas, and lots of verve on the palate. Damn, this was great. I love Rheingau riesling… Worth seeking out.

Georg Breuer’s 2004 Berg Schlossberg Riesling – This is from the vineyard down the hill from Nonnenberg; more forward than the ’02 and definitely richer on the palate–both flavor and texture–also quite tasty but not at the same level of the Nonnenberg. Maybe it was a vintage and or age difference? I’ve had earlier vintages of this and have really liked it.

Kiralyudvar 2006 Tokaji Furmint Demi-Sec — Luc went and got this bottle to share after we polished off the riesling. Huet’s Noel Pinguet lends a hand with the winemaking at Kiralyudvar (the two estate’s share the same American importer), and the stylistic sensibilities between this wine and Huet’s Vouvrays are quite apparent. I thought it was lovely stuff, rich yet as Simon said later, it puts the sec in demi-sec. Quite complex and should age beautifully–much like chenin blanc does in Pinguet’s hands. I urge you to seek this stuff out. Did I mention that it’s from Hungary?

Giuseppe Rinaldi’s 1996 Barlo Brunate – Le Coste (pictured above) – Hot damn, was I excited to see this at Terroir! Rinaldi doesn’t make a lot of wine, but I like to drink them whenever I see them. Traditional style Barolo, Rinaldi’s wines have balance of tannins, acidity and fruit character that begs for long aging. Smelling this ’96 could have kept me at Terroir all night (which it practically did), but tasting it was tough. It needed food, or about 10 more years of age. Still, epic stuff. It still feels young and bound up, so if you’ve got one of these in your stash, or find one at a store or restaurant, decant it the day before you drink it or hang on to it a while longer.