Posted: June 4, 2012 By Harvey Steiman
I had not seen Aldo Conterno, the legendary Barolo producer, in more than 20 years. I had made an appointment to visit him at the winery outside the town of Monforte d’Alba while on vacation with my wife. We drove up to the hilltop building on a showery Monday morning in April. Aldo’s son Giacamo met us and conveyed his father’s regrets that he could not be there. He was in a hospital recovering from pneumonia.
Late last week, when the sad news reached us that Aldo was dead at 81, I flashed back to a sunny day in the late 1980s when I first visited him at the winery. We sat in the warm courtyard after the obligatory tour of the cellar and a drive through the vineyard, and talked about the revolution that was under way in Piemonte.
Posted: June 1, 2012 By Mitch Frank
Posted: May 16, 2012 By Harvey Steiman
On vacation, with stops in Paris, Lyon, Piemonte and Liguria, my wife and I mostly avoided high-profile restaurants and opted for less-expensive wines. Still we ate well and drank a satisfying array of local favorites.
Highlights included a Paul Bocuse project and the "best tajarin ever," at Trattoria Antica Torre in Barbaresco.
Posted: May 4, 2012 By Alison Napjus
Posted: April 30, 2012 By Bruce Sanderson
Posted: April 30, 2012 By Bruce Sanderson
Posted: April 30, 2012
Posted: April 27, 2012 By Alison Napjus
Posted: April 5, 2012 By Bruce Sanderson
Posted: April 4, 2012 By Thomas Matthews
Posted: April 2, 2012 By Thomas Matthews
Posted: March 29, 2012
Posted: February 13, 2012 By Ben O'Donnell
Posted: February 10, 2012 By Bruce Sanderson
Posted: February 8, 2012 By Ben O'Donnell
Posted: January 17, 2012 By Mitch Frank
Posted: January 4, 2012 By Harvey Steiman
I opened a bottle of Ceretto Barolo Bricco Rocche Brunate 1993 for dinner on New Year’s Eve, the last of that vintage in my cellar. When the Ceretto brothers made that wine, few were talking about high alcohol, excessive ripeness or natural wines, the current contentiousness of the wine world. Then, the issue in Italy was traditional wines vs. modern wines.
Back then, I was traveling to Piedmont regularly for Wine Spectator to taste the next vintages of Barolo and Barbaresco. I remember this wine from barrel. Ceretto used modern methods in the vineyards and winery to achieve even ripeness and shorter fermentation times to emphasize fruit character, but avoided the use of small, new oak barrels. Unlike some modernists, Ceretto at that time seemed unconcerned with the biting, crisp tannins that the Nebbiolo grape could produce. As a result, the Ceretto style at the time always struck me as having a foot in both camps.
Posted: December 14, 2011 By Mitch Frank
Posted: December 2, 2011 By Bruce Sanderson
On my third day of visits in Barolo, I saw Luciano Sandrone and Elio Grasso. Luciano Sandrone started is estate from scratch and Grasso, though his father and grandfather grew grapes and other crops, switched from a career in finance to work his family's land.
Sandrone came from a family of carpenters in La Morra. Rather than join the family business, he learned to make wine, first at the traditional Giacomo Borgogno, then at Marchesi di Barolo, where he became the cellar master. Sandrone purchased 2.5 acres in Cannubi Boschis in 1970, releasing his first Barolo from the 1978 vintage.
Elio Grasso began bottling under his own label in 1980. His grandfather bought vineyards in Ginestra in 1920, selling grapes and a little wine in barrel, a practice continued by Grasso's father until his death in 1979. His son Gianluca has been making the wines since 1995.
Posted: November 29, 2011 By Bruce Sanderson
I visited two Piedmont wineries today, Azelia and Domenico Clerico. The style of wines at Azelia emphasizes fresh fruit with the underlying elements of terroir. For example, its Dolcetto is refined and elegant, while the Barolos, most from Serralunga, exhibit more structure, with the exception of the charming and graceful Bricco Fiasco. From Azelia it was on to the eponymous Domenico Clerico, a visit I was anticipating since we chose his Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra 2006 as the No. 8 wine in this year's Wine Spectator Top 100.
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