Barolo, 1977. Scanavino

by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | August 1982

Barolo is one of the great wines of Italy; and some say it is the greatest. It hails from the region of Piemonte, in the northwestern part of the boot. The name is after a village south of Turin, the capital of Piemonte, with about 25,000 acres of vines planted in the Langhe Hills. Its fame was long estab­lished when the Italian wine laws came into being in 1963, and it received one of the first DOC classi­fications (Denomination Of Controlled and guaran­teed origin). Its seal on the neckband is a golden lion or a helmeted head on a blue background.

The firm of Poderi Scanavino controls several estates in Piemonte, each selected for the special soil and climate. Three of these: Cascina Zoccolaio in Barolo, Cascina Gianetti in Serraluga D’Alba, and Cascina Tantesi in Monforte D’Alba, are used for their Barolo production. At harvest time, the fruit of each property is crushed and fermented on the estate grounds before transfer to the central Scana­vino winery in Priocca D’Alba for ageing, blending, and bottling. This it has done since 1840!

This wine is made 100% from the Nebbiolo grape, which is primarily found in Italy, and native to the northwest. Many wines are made in that region from the Nebbiolo grape, with significant enough differences to crown the Barolo as the best. Textbook descriptions of the wine talk about aroma of violets, faded roses, and flavor reminiscent of olives and mushrooms, and a tar-like texture when young. Now; who in the world wants all those things in their wine glass! Let’s be sensible about this and not get carried away with olfactory and gustatory adjectives that are so left field. I urge my readers not to get intimidated by such pronouncements. It is a bold wine, deep red, full bodied, fragrant, and very tan­nic when young. Ages long and well in the bottle to a brownish autumn leaf color and a soft, velvety, smooth texture to the taste.

This Barolo is bright red, with amber edges. The nose is closed, but develops in the glass to a fruity fragrance. The taste is expansive. Plenty of fruit, tannic, with an underlying velvety base. Remarkable sequence of flavor sensations. Serve with game, roast, or Gorgonzolla cheese after the meal.

Cellaring Notes: Will develop for at least 10 years. A Barolo or two should be in every cellar.

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