I had dinner a couple of weeks ago with a number of Barolo producers at Osteria Veglio, which is one of my favorite spots in the Langhe. The small restaurant, located just below La Morra in the area of Annunziata serves good, simple and tasty food with friendly service. The view is great, too, especially on a hot summer night, looking across the valley at some of the best vineyards of Barolo.
Enrico Scavino of Paolo Scavino was there. So were Luciano Sandrone of Sandrone, and Luigi Scavino of Azelia. We tasted some 1999 Barolos left over from my blind tasting at Hotel Corte Gondina in La Morra. The wines should age well, but everyone thought that they were ready to drink and didn't need much more time in bottle.
Scavino brought a double magnum (seemed a little excessive!) of his 1989 Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric dël Fiasc. It was fantastic. WE DIDN'T FINISH IT! Here is my tasting note: This is firm and chewy still, but it's soft in texture, with beautiful berry and raspberry aromas and flavors. It is full-bodied and very fruity with fine tannins that are muscular in tone. Plenty still going on. 95 points, non-blind.
Anyway, near the end of the dinner, a question popped into my head: Is it better to never decant Barolos before you serve them? Just open, let them breathe, and/or serve from the bottle.
Granted, it would have been difficult to decant the double magnum at the dinner, since there weren't enough decanters at the restaurant. But in general, most people decant their aged Barolos, and Barbarescos for that matter, before serving. Perhaps it is better not to decant, just like some people prefer to serve their red Burgundies in cradles instead of decanters?
The idea is that the Pinot Noir throws off too fine a sediment to merit decanting. In other words, it's too easy to make the wine cloudy if you decant. Nebbiolo can resemble Pinot Noir in many ways. Maybe it shouldn't be decanted when old. What do you think?
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