Barolo: "King of of Wines" and Italy's answer to French Grand Cru
Dwight Casimere | 9/17/2013, 9:54 p.m.
Langhe holds a special place in Italy's Piemonte wine growing region. It is the home of Barolo, the rich, complex, Ruby-red wine made from the Nebbiolo grape, one of the most capricious in Italy's constellation of star-power varieties. Barolo is a wine of unique character, with refined and intense aromas and tastes that cause many aficionados to compare it to the finest of French Grand Crus, yet, at it sells at a fraction of the price. Once such Barolo, which has recently been introduced on America's shores at fine dining restaurants and discriminating wine shops is Damilano Barolo. It is Damilano's flagship wine and is sure to garner praise among those who experience it. Therefore, Damilano Barolo DOCG Cannubi 2008 ($85) is our Wine of the Week.
This sumptuous wine was unveiled in an exclusive private tasting at the headquarters of Colangelo Partners, a high-end wine marketing and public relations firm located in the heart of midtown Manhattan's 'advertising agency row.' Presiding over the intimate tasting for key wine journalists and sommeliers was Beppe Caviola, one of Italy's leading enologists, and winemaker for Damilano. In 2002, he received the Winemaker of the Year award from Gambero Rosso and Slow Food.
Caviola presented Damilano's dazzling portfolio of wines, among them Damilano Barolo DOCG Brunate 2006 ($75) and their entry-level Barolo, Damilano Barolo Lecinquevigne (five vineyards), so named because it is a blend of Nebbiolo grapes produced in the five municipalities of Verduno, Grinzane, Cavour, La Morra and Novello, a steal at $35 the bottle. Each of the wines presented had its own distinct character but the standout, hands down, was the Cannubi.
"This is our leading wine," Caviola said proudly, as he swirled his Riedel glass and took a hearty sip of the deep Garnet colored wine. "It's well extracted and full-bodied with ample tastes of luscious dark cherries and black plums with hints of tobacco, licorice and cocoa, yet its rich and elegant, with very smooth tanins. It’s intense, but with a rose-petal floral bouquet. It's easily the best Barolo we produce in the Langhe."
Cannubi is situated on a long hill that rises above the town of Barolo and stands at the intersection of a
unique combination of soils, which includes grey Tortonia marl (marble slate) and Helvetian sandstone. This distinct blend gives Cannubi its great individuality and complexity. With vines up to 50 years of age, the wine takes on a richness of character that draws on the magnesium and platinum-rich limestone and clay soils which lend Canubi an instense color and vibrant blend of flavors that results in a wine of great elegance and finesse. This is the wine to savor over the very best cut of Prime Aged Steak, or enjoyed in solitude while seated in your favor chair, savoring a fine Maduro cigar or listening to your favorite CD of Mozart or Trane. Matured in large oak barrels, to give it roundness and fullness of flavor, Damilano Cannubi tastes great consumed right now or even better if aged for twenty years or more. Ample reason to turn that old storage room into a wine cellar if you haven't already done so!