Sunday, December 6, 2009

Marchesi di Barolo 2001

Cold, but sunny, yesterday and after a week of turkey leftovers it was time for some beef. We found a good sized chuck roast, browned it, added the pancetta, vegetables, etc. and it happily cooked for about three hours. It warmed the house with its aroma and did wonders for my appetite.

After the somewhat disappointing sparkler from earlier in the day (see below) it was time for some serious wine, and nothing is more serious than Barolo. When the beef went in the oven the cork came out of a bottle from the Marchesi di Barolo, 2001 vintage. A little went into the pot with the beef but a large portion went into a decanter. A small amount also found its way to my glass. Beautiful, classic Barolo color of medium garnet, but there was a very closed nose. With some swirling and a few minutes a little dry leather and some earth showed up. About an hour later there were roses and bright, tart cherries coming out of the glass. The wine in the decanter remained closed.

When the beef was nearly done we made some polenta, adding cheese and butter at the end and finally stirring in black truffle salt. Amazing smells filled the kitchen and even got Scott away from the window where he was anxiously watching for squirrels, particularly the one that had a near death experience with him earlier in the day.

Then it all came together; hot steamy beef, creamy polenta that smelled of truffles and a rich, red wine. The wine was still somewhat closed but still offered a nose of fruit on a base of earth and leather with a few of the roses kicking in. The taste was tart cherries and clean earth. The big Barolo tannins were present on the sides of the tongue, but they weren't harsh in any way. The acid was more than acceptable. The routine became a bite of beef, a dab of polenta and a sip of wine. It's a routine I would like to be more frequent. Very lengthy finish on the wine, ending dry with a suggestion of the cherries. This is a wine nearing its peak, but certainly one that has some years of life ahead of it. As with my comment below about not drinking enough sparkling wine, I can repeat that sentiment with Barolo.

There's a small amount under vacuum left in the bottle and it will be fun to try it later today.

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