Every once in a while, the Wine Curmudgeon is lucky enough to meet someone like Pio Boffa, whose family has owned Italy’s Pio Cesare in the Piedmont for 130 years. The only thing more interesting than the conversation was the wine.
Every wine we had (even the Oltre, which is made for U.S. palates), was worth writing about. And I’ll probably get to several of them over the next couple of months. My favorite, though, was the Barbaresco ($65, sample). It’s not enough to say that this is classic Barbaresco that will only get better with age and in 30 years should be a gorgeous wine. That’s what all great Barbaresco should do.
Rather, what struck me about this wine is that it was greater than the sum of its parts. All of the things a great Barbaresco requires were there — the cherry fruit (almost sweet, believe it or not); the black pepper spice and Italian acidity; and the mineral finish that you can still taste a couple of swallows later. But they weren’t what made it what it was. There was something else going on that was difficult to pin down. If that seems too vague to make sense, then accept it as part of the mystery of a great wine.
Frankly, given how much ordinary wine costs $65, this is a bargain. And, as Boffo reminded me several times during lunch, though this wine will improve with age, it’s accessible and ready to drink now. Think rib eye and a Father’s Day dinner. Highly recommended, and one of the best ones I have ever had.