Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Two Excellent 1999 Italian Wines

If I had to limit my wine consumption to a single country, the choice would be easy: Italy. It has many different and diverse wine producing areas, centuries of wine producing tradition and no fear from modernizing itself where needed. Some people believe that Italian wine means Tuscany and Piedmont. During the last couple of years, we've traveled quite frequently to Italy (5 hours drive from Vienna) and sampled the less known regions such as Valpolicella, Alto Adige and Friuli. This was a lesson about Italy's power in wine: there are plenty of excellent wines coming from those less known areas and mostly at reasonable prices. Still, the best bet for a food friendly wine which will age for 20-30 years is BBB: Brunello, Barbaresco & Barolo. We are lucky to have sampled two such treasures recently. Both bottles were opened a bit too young as these wines will gain from more time in the bottle.

Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino 1999
Deep red, slight garnet color. An array of aromas greets you: Black cherries, licorice, tobacco and black pepper. Round but very well structured, this wine still has enough tannins for aging. It has a wonderful typical light a acidity that makes this wine perfectly balanced. Lovely finish. 95
We had this wine in the Catit restaurant in Tel Aviv - excellent food, very good service, excellent and dependable sommelier in a wonderfully restored old building in Tel Aviv.

Barolo Pio Cesare 1999
Blackberries, cherries with smoked aromas and mushrooms. Great structure and full bodied, this wine has a long life in front of him. I'll not open the next bottle for at least 5-6 years. It is very balanced and provides an excellent drinking experience today, but more bottle maturation will get even more complexity here. 93

As the picture shows, the cork was soaked. Some initial fear went easily away after one sip of the wine, which was in excellent condition.

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