For dinner with an out-of-town friend, we decided on a casual evening at Delfina, one of my favorite Italian restaurants in San Francisco. I rummaged through my wine cellar for an appropriate older Italian bottle—either a nice little wine from an outstanding vintage or a high-end wine from a lesser year.
Ceretto Barolo Prapò 1993 seemed perfect, as it was made from a fine vineyard in Barolo, but from a middling vintage. In our vintage chart for Piedmont, 1993 is described as “Delicate, delicious and fruity, with supple tannins.” Our original blind-tasting review of the wine described it as offering nice, ripe fruit, so I decided to try it, even though the note cautioned, “Too bad the tannins turn dry on the finish.”
I opened and decanted the bottle at home, hoping that a taste would show that 17 years had mellowed the texture. On the first sip, the fruit was still there but the tannins were a bit rough. I decided to bring it anyway. We could always order something else off Delfina’s list if it didn’t come around. But lo, as we tried the wine with our braised pork shoulder and spaghetti al pomodoro, the tannins had indeed softened, the fruit mingled with the tarry, delicately floral bouquet Barolo can develop with time, and the wine did its job of enhancing the meal with its flavors and delicacy. 88 points, non-blind.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Ceretto Barolo Prapò 1993 (83, $50).