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If ever there was a Barolo to dispel the myth that “the king of wines” is despotic and unapproachable in its youth or is somehow undrinkable before its tenth birthday, the 2008 Seghesio Barolo is just such a wine. Deeply robed and endowed with a haunting bouquet, the stylish 2008 Seghesio Barolo offers up a beautiful complex aroma reminiscent of plum, fennel, rose petal, and forest woodland. Better still, the wine’s heavenly scents carry through on the palate, providing plenty of mid palate appeal and nuanced flavors to savor a good long while. Elegant, but by no means eviscerated, the 2008 Seghesio Barolo possesses a healthy dose of firm ripe tannins to under gird its velvety center and assure a decade or more of pleasurable drinking. As is the case with all Barolo wines, the 2008 Seghesio begs for aeration. Consequently, whenever possible, we suggest an hour or two in decanter before serving at cellar or cool room temperature (57°-62° F).
The complex array of flavors that define the 2008 Seghesio Barolo pleads for companions of equal stature. Rarely does one sit around drinking Barolo, though some of us have been known to do just that, and we make no apologies. However, when consumed at table with traditional Piedmontese cooking with its myriad of savory sauces, one comes to fully appreciate the royal nature of Barolo. Risottos, made with authentic Arbio rice, constitute some of our favorite accompaniments to the Seghesio brothers’ Barolo. A risotto made with a whole cut up chicken, mushrooms, a shaving or two of white truffle, and a dash of splendid 18 year old balsamic vinegar from Modena makes an ideal complement to the 2008 Seghesio Barolo. A simple cheese risotto won’t disappoint, either. In addition, less traditional foods pair equally well with this wine. Roast loin of pork, stuffed with a bread, onion, and herb farce provides a savory treat. Marinated steaks and pork tenderloins offer tasty uncomplicated pairings, too. Moreover, Barolo offers one of the finest accompaniments to hard cheeses. Hunks of authentic Italian Parmesan or Provolone cheese won’t overpower this wine and offer a splendid way to finish a glass of 2008 Seghesio Barolo. Salute!
Aldo and Riccardo Seghesio’s Barolo wines emanate from single vineyard sites in the Monforte zone of Barolo. By carefully cultivating their south facing vineyards organically, the Seghesio brothers produce a correspondingly small amount of wine that is renowned for its elegance and harmony, rather than its brute strength.
Seghesio’s style reflects the ultimate in elegance and finesse – qualities rarely seen in Baroli (the plural of Barolo) from other producers. The Seghesios fashion two exceptional Barolo wines, Barolo Normale (this month’s feature) and a single vineyard offering, La Villa. Both wines share similar attributes, including an unusually deep color, entrancing bouquet, superb texture, and a long lingering finish.
In addition to producing superlative Barolo, the Seghesio brothers consistently turn out very attractive Dolcetto d’Alba, Barbera, and Nebbiolo from slopes that lie down hill from La Villa. During the past decade, the low yield, excellent terroir, and superb winemaking skills practiced at Seghesio have catapulted this gem of a property to the top echelon of Barolo producers.
Barolo has affectionately and appropriately been referred to as the “king of wines, and the wine of kings.” In a fine vintage and in the hands of a skilled winemaker, Barolo is unquestionably a noble wine, richly deserving of the many accolades that have been bestowed upon it.
Born on the Langhe Hills of Italy’s Piedmont, on steep craggy Alpine foothills as they tumble out of nearby Switzerland and France, Barolo is the most masculine of Piedmont’s three great Nebbiolo wines and the focal point in the region’s viticultural tiara. Although Gattinara, typically the lightest and most feminine of Piedmont’s great reds, and Barbaresco, sometimes referred to as a baby Barolo for its propensity for lightness and ease of drinkability in its youth compared to its more stalwart neighbor, all share the same noble Nebbiolo vine as Barolo, it is Barolo that possesses the pedigree and rules the roost. Barolo’s lineage dates back to the Middle Ages and by the mid 18th century its wine had evolved into its present form in the vicinity of Alba, the white truffle capital of the world.
Today, the limited production of Barolo generates from the huddled hills of two valleys, Serralunga and Barolo, and their five principal communities, all of which lie to the southwest of the city of Alba and are reputed to impart distinctive characteristics and traits to their respective progeny. The townships of Serralunga, Castiglione Falletto, and Monforte are situated in the Serralunga Valley and are reputed to produce the region’s most masculine, longest-lived Barolos. Meanwhile, Barolo and La Morra, from which the more “delicate” wines of the zone are said to flow, are part of the Barolo Valley. However, there are many exceptions and innumerable variations in Barolo on the same theme, and this does not even take into account the decades old debate in Barolo over the relative merits of the modern and traditional styles of Barolo, which have as much to do with individual winemaking techniques as they do the amount and kind of barrel aging the wines receive. In the end, there is great Barolo fashioned in all five of the major townships, in both modern and traditional styles. Salute!
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