Born in an outstanding vintage on the hills surrounding the village of Barolo itself, Gomba’s 2006 Querciola Barolo epitomizes the elegant, hedonistic side of Barolo. This wine marries the power of Barolo in a fine vintage such as 2006 to the ultimate in grace and charm. Languid in color and highly redolent with the fragrance of fresh picked berries, forest woodlands, and savory herbs and spices, the Querciola Barolo recalls the seductive allure of red Burgundy at its finest. Layered and complex on the palate, Gomba’s Barolo unfolds slowly and almost imperceptibly to reveal subtle hints of dark chocolate mingled with bright red fruit flavors and savory spice tones. Endowed with soft, ripe tannins, the 2006 Querciola Barolo ingratiates with depth and charm, rather than sheer power, before it finishes with supreme grace. Polished and complete to the end it exits with such flair and finesse that you will want to come back for more of it, again and again. Like all fine Barolo the 2006 Querciola begs for prior aeration and benefits immensely from an hour or more in a decanter before serving.
First and foremost, Barolo is a wine to pair with the world’s finest foods and most complex sauces. In Piedmont, rarely does one sit around and sip Barolo; one savors it at table in the company of Italy’s most celebrated cuisine. Paired with traditional Piedmontese dishes, filled with savory scents and sauces, one comes to appreciate the royal nature of Barolo. Consequently, game, highly flavored meats, and Piedmontese risottos made with authentic Arborio rice of course, constitute many of our favorite pairings with the 2006 Querciola Barolo. A whole cut up chicken with mushrooms and truffle infused risotto, cooked very slowly and dashed with a touch of first rate balsamic vinegar from Modena, makes for a heavenly match to this wine. Charbroiled garlic and herb rubbed steaks, veal chops, and roast loin of pork, stuffed with bread, onion, and herb farce provide other savory treats. In addition, Barolo offers one of the finest accompaniments to hard cheeses. Hunks of authentic Italian Parmesan or Provolone cheese pose no threat to this wine and offer an authentic and memorable way to finish a bottle of the 2006 Querciola Barolo.
Sergio Gomba’s Boschetti estate, like so many of Italy’s oenological treasures, remains relatively unknown outside of its local area. One reason is likely the confusion that ensues regarding the estate’s name (Boschetti) and the name under which Gomba markets his estate’s Barolo – Querciola. Scarcity of course is the other reason. Diminutive in size, Gomba’s total area under vine comprises just 24 acres. And only part of the estate’s total acreage is devoted to Piedmont’s premier wine – Barolo. However, Boschetti’s hillside estate overlooks the village of Barolo, and all of the Boschetti vineyards face south and southwest to insure maximum sun exposure. Barolo of course is king at Sergio Gomba’s estate. Gomba bottles two Querciola Barolos, which he names Boschetti (this month’s feature) and Sori. In keeping with his family’s long tradition and the style of wine most associated with the village that lends its name to the most illustrious of Italian wines, Sergio Gomba fashions tender, hedonistic Barolos that can be drunk after four or five years of age or tucked away for a decade or more. In addition to fashioning two top rated Barolos, Sergio Gomba produces small quantities of first rate Barbera d’Alba from Barbera vines that occupy the slower slopes of the estate’s hillside vineyards.
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 being lighter and easier to drink in its youth than its more stalwart neighbor, 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 Barolo had begun to evolve into its present form in the vicinity of Alba, a distinct Old World city that serves as the white truffle capital of Italy as well as Piedmont’s premier wine town. 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 versus 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. Happily, 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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