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cycling, food pairing, Italian Wine, Wine Travel

barbaresco…eh, it’s okay…

The 1995 Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano di Nieve was more than just okay.  It was riveting.

This might be the best wine I have tasted this year.  It was one of those wines that managed to make you a little emotional, stop your breath, drown out the sounds…

I was sipping this wine with five others at Barolo Grill in Denver on 6th, one of my favorite eateries in town.  We were enjoying a six-course meal, which incorporated the white truffle we brought back from Piemonte.  With the Giacosa, wewere first served an asparagus dish prepared with an egg sunny side up and cream sauce with a sprinkling of truffles on top.  Following, we had a pasta dish with fresh porcini mushrooms and truffles.

Ryan Fletter, the sommelier who poured this wine and organized such a lovely dinner, was visibly vibrating with excitement.  He had a preview of the Giacosa a few weeks back and was beside himself in anticipation of our reaction.  He reminded us all that over 80% of our taste was in the nose.  A good wine, you can pore over for minutes, even hours, before bringing it to your lips.

This was the perfect example.

Drawing that glass to my nose made my knees go weak (luckily, I was seated).  A complex arrangement of fungi, leather, minerals, and spice vied for primary attention.  Within minutes they all relented to collapse into one another, blending into a harmonious bouquet.  On the palate, all was confirmed, and the acid was incredibly balanced and pronounced.

For Piemonte, 1995 was not an incredible vintage.  But it was not disastrous either.  The lesser producers vary in quality, but top producers, like Giacosa, were more than able to make incredible wines.

Holding that last sip in my mouth, I resisted the final swallow.  Wines like these you don’t want to say goodbye to… wines like these may you feel lucky…wines like these reignite your passion for the vine.

Luckily this wine’s finish was much like a good high school love—the kind where you try to get off the phone and get some sleep, but it takes minutes on end… The initial goodbye is more a preparation than anything else.  It lingers and fades, allowing you to absorb its fullest expression… its unforgettable impression on the senses.


About mistralwine1982

Originally from Wisconsin, I moved to Colorado in 2005 in order to get closer to the mountains and rock climb. When it occurred to me that I would never make money with that hobby, I went to grad school. I received a masters in English and American Literature from New York University in May of 2009. I have since then opted not to pursue a PhD, for studying and writing about wine is far more fascinating (well, perhaps not moreso than Virginia Woolf, but still… for the long haul?). My favorite wines come from the old world, especially the Rhone, Burgundy, Rioja, Piedmont, and Tuscany. I am also smitten with roses, Italian hard-to-pronounce white varietals, and dessert wines from around the world. By day I run a wine shop. By nite, I sip and tell. It’s rough… but someone must do this.


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