If ever I needed a rationalization for having all that bottled grape juice down in the basement, last night provided it! The event was a big pot of osso buco (kick ass by the way...recipe soon!), my first time making it, and our friends J&K were over after an extended absence from our presence. Awesome food and better friends demands equally satisfying liquid indulgence, so down to the archives I went.
The 2000 Produttori del Barbaresco "Moccagatta" Barbaresco was one of those wines being caught at the height of its pleasure inducing powers. Barbaresco is one of the three great wines of Italy (along with Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino) and like its Piedmontese neighbor Barolo it is made from 100% nebbiolo. This wine from the great Produttori co-operative also illustrated differences in vintages. Both the 1999 and 2001 vintages are still young'uns, needing probably five more years or so to start showing their stuff. This 2000, from an excellent but much warmer vintage...which meant riper grapes which leads inexorably to earlier drinking wines....was loaded with absolutely delicious blackberry, blueberry, smoke, earth, and floral aromas and flavors. The tannins are just starting to mellow, and the finish just lingered on and on. This is going to be good to go for at least 5-10 more years, but it is so good those other bottles of various 2000 single vineyard Produttoris downstairs better get ready to be corkscrewed! Produttori does several different single-vineyard wines, and the Moccagatta vineyard where this came from always delivers the goods. This just got better and better as it sat open, delivering head spinning, sensual deliciousness. With the osso buco it was freakish, the flavors of the wine and food both enhancing the other. One of those wines where it was almost as much fun to smell as it was to drink. Almost.....
I followed that with a bottle of 2004 Vietti Barbera d'Asti "Tre Vigne" (Three Vineyards), which like all good Barbera's did nothing but confirm my feeling that Barbera may be the best food wine on the planet. 2004 was also a fantastic vintage, and Vietti is one the finest practitioners of winemaking witchcraft in all of Piedmont. This was all cherries, earth, and spice, so rich and complete with vibrant acidity, which is the one component that makes these wine so astoundingly satisfying with dinner. Young, very fresh, maybe just starting to mellow, this is going to be good drinking over the next 3-4 years. And wouldn't ya know it I just happen to have a few more bottles stuck away. The future looks bright indeed, at least on my dinner table!
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one year ago today @ E.D.T.: what I mean by "unrelated indulgences".