Very interesting wine last night. I opened a 2004 Gianfranco Alessandria Langhe Nebbiolo. I decanted half the bottle and vacuum sealed the remainder.
I poured a small sample from the decanter and it was a bit of a wake up call for the early evening. Tannins were everywhere in this wine. After a little swirling I could get some flowery perfume and cherries and a definite whiff of tobacco. There was all that in the taste and more, like some chocolate overtones and perhaps a bright red plum or two. There was very good acidity, but the finish was mouth numbing tannin.
There was a pork roast braising in apple cider, mushrooms and onions in the oven so the wine sat in the decanter for two hours until the pork was ready.
After that two hours the tannins had ceased their relentless grip and the fruit came forward. The tobacco faded to just a suggestion, as though someone a room or two away was lightly puffing on a cigarette. It was replaced with a dry, clean earth impression. The wine was medium bodied and the cherries were there in force. The acid cleared the palate and there was still a good dose of tannin on the finish, but not nearly what there was straight from the bottle. Had there been time four hours would have been even better for this wine.
It was at its best with the somewhat rich pork as both the acid and tannin were refreshing. The wine was $25 and at that price it's a terrific buy as it is almost a "junior Barolo" at a much better price. The other two bottles have been moved to the section of the cellar for longer aging. Two more years should be about right for this wine.
Alessandria's wines continue to impress me. His Dolcetto d'Alba is outstanding for the price and the Barbera d'Alba is very good. The Langhe is the best of the lot before one encounters the Barolo San Giovanni, and there is one of those squirreled away with other two Langhe's quietly getting better.