The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Pianpolvere and Ceretto

Posted on | November 16, 2015 | Written by Camacho Vidal | No Comments

CamachoThis past week I had an opportunity to taste vintage Barolos from producers I’m familiar with, as well as others that I excitedly tasted for the first time. Beyond giving me the palate that can appreciate the characteristics of a well-aged bottle of wine offers, I appreciate the enchantment that goes along with opening a decades-old wine. There’s the ritual of carefully inspecting the cork and diligently pulling it, hoping that it won’t disintegrate. There’s the decanting for sediment so you can enjoy that very last drop. There’s researching the history behind the vintage year, and there’s the reminiscing about what you were doing in that year.

These are all sentimental values, but what makes an old wine amazing that it embodies its moment in time. Like a perfect storm, a perfect vintage is created when the heavens, the earth and humans come together in balance. Today, I chose two Barolos that provide a chance to compare some of Barolo’s secondary and tertiary aromas and flavors, and to experience an older wine with another that is fresher and more vibrant.

Pianpolvere 2006 Soprano Barolo $114.99

The Pianpolvere vineyard is full of history; legend avers that it’s where Napoleon kept his munitions dump, hence the military name. Located in Montforte d’Alba in the area of Bussia, Pianpolvere is considered one of the Langhe’s great crus and it produces wines that are fresh and aromatic with loads of tannins. This 2006 still needs a bit of time, but with some decanting, it’s approachable and very enjoyable. The nose is full of sweet spice with hints of vanilla and cocoa that are backed by rose petal cherry and some slight minirality. The palate is nice, dense, and powerful, yet it’s also fresh and vibrant with balanced acidity and tannins and a lingering finish that dances nicely as it dissipates.

Ceretto 1985 Barolo Prapo 1.5L $399.00

The Ceretto estate is one of the early pioneers of single-vineyard Barolo, an idea that came after a visit to Burgundy inspired the Ceretto brothers. The concept of “cru” Barolo was completely unknown in the region until a half-century or so ago. With thirty years of age on it, this Barolo has an ethereal nose imbued with secondary and tertiary aromas of withered roses herbs and licorice, and some hints of eucalyptus mingle with sour cherry notes. On the palate this wine is super silky, and the tannins and the acidy have totally integrated, leaving a nice tart cherry woodsy finish. Drink now.



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