December 12, 2009

2005 Montaribaldi Barbaresco Palazzina

Winter means it's Barba-
resco season here in Portland. I think back to last Decem-
ber's heavy snows and wines like the 2003 Produttori di Barbaresco normale bottling that I enjoyed so much.

 Tonight it's cold and now icy rainy, but there's homemade pizza of three varitiies and the 2005 Montaribaldi Barbaresco Palazzina. Life is good.

The wine is young as you'd expect, dark ruby with a hint of rusty orange when held up to the light. The smell is pure tradition, with seasoned oak and chestnuts, dried flowers, almonds and pie cherries, but some volatility that adds a rustic edge.

The flavors are classic nebbiolo with firm tannin and fresh acidity, perhaps a bit blocky and country, not refined but so honest and authentic, and delicious with the meal, that refinement is beside the point. This is authoritative, flavorful Barbaresco that should age a while but will always favor the bold over elegance. And that's fine.

We're spoiled in Portland, with Barbaresco like this available for the mid-$20s before discounts or special purchase. These days, that's pricing for good Nebbiolo d'Alba, but there's more intensity here, if not the refinement of the best examples of Nd'A. I'm glad to have another bottle to try in a few years to see how it develops.

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