By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor
Here is a sampling of what our editors and contributors have been drinking. As always, it's a diverse grouping this week:
Evan Dawson: Albino Rocca 1996 Barbaresco Vigneto Brich Ronchi
A friend asked what this wine revealed, considering the fact that it had some age on it. The best I could offer was that the wine is still primary, still youthful, and yet it's not closed or tight. At all.
It has opened like a flower and is generously displaying aromatics that could convert a Coke drinker.
We all like to talk about older wine as if our own experiences were enough to chart a perfect aging curve or track, but that's just speculation and a little BS, right? Each wine is different, and while relating experience and offering generalities is fine, we can't possibly predict the life of each wine.
That said, it seems to me that nebbiolo goes through phases. It shuts down not long after bottling, then opens up without losing primary characteristics, then undergoes a long, beautiful evolution into secondary and tertiary character.
I'd love to revisit this wine every five years. It's gorgeous and intellectually stimulating without being boastful. It has a sense of joy just when you start to take it too seriously.
If you've seen the movie Say Anything, this wine is Diane Court. That's a very good thing.
On one hand, I'm cautiously enthusiastic about screwcap closures and kegged wines. On the other, I still — still — find myself continually looking down upon boxed wines. To the point that after trying a couple of the "good wine in a box" offerings a few years ago, I gave up on them completely. Yes, they are economical and "green" but if the wine is crap, who wants 3L of crap sitting around — no matter how fresh it stays?
Enter this blend from Italy, sent as a press sample (full disclosure).
It's surprisingly, almost stunningly, drinkable… and even brings a bit of complexity to the glass. Mostly it's apple and lemony citrus, but there is a decidedly floral edge here too. White flowers, like the lillies of the valley that still grow at my parents' house.
Let it warm up a bit and some peach peeks through too.
Fresh and a bit tart on the finish, I'd drink it again — especially at around $20 for the equivalent of four bottles. And it gets bonus points because, as one of our friends noted, happily that "And No one even knows how much you've had."
Julia Burke: Hair of the Dog Fred from the Wood Barleywine
I love a good barleywine. And this is a good barleywine.
After a morning of tastings helping out the Great Lakes Brewing News crew, we kicked back to watch Buffalo's Old First Ward St. Paddy's Parade, chow on corned beef and cabbage, and taste some serious beer.
Fred is a gorgeous deep bloody orange color with an overwhelming nose of raisin, citrus, sweet malts and smoky, sexy peat with just enough oak to pull it all together.
On the palate, the toasty, buttery oak notes marry with more sweet dried fruit character and full, big alcohol; it's a stunner on the palate an the finish doesn't disappoint with a kick of hops and long, long length that throws in little bursts of fruit and malt flavor every few seconds.
You don't have Fred — Fred has you. I'm smitten.