Monday, August 20, 2012

The Subject Was Roses

The subject of the evening was supposed to be a steak from the grill with olive oil, lemon juice and a good bottle of wine.  Instead it became an evening about wine, roses and stereotypes.  Read enough about Nebbiolo based wines and the aromas of roses generally finds its way into the discussion if there is some age to the wine.  The 2004 Luciano Sandrone Nebbiolo D'Alba, Valmaggiore is case in point.

There were two of these in the cellar and I decided it was time to open one.  I poured a small glass and decanted the rest and let both sit while the steak went on the grill outside.  When I walked back into the house and got near the table I smelled roses, sweet summer roses.  This soon to be eight year old wine just poured its heart into imitating a bunch of roses.   It was as fragrant a wine as I've had for some time.  After some swirling in the glass it was even more pronounced.  Fascinating.  I've picked up this scent before in barolos and babarescos, but not like this.

The taste was precise fruit, dark cherries mostly with a bit of red plum.  Wonderful mouth feel to this wine and great drying tannins on the finish which left the impression of the other sensation a good Nebbiolo is supposed to have - road tar.  This wasn't as strong as the scent of roses but it was there and easily identifiable.  There was a sweet earthiness to the after taste, but the finish was a little bit abbreviated.

By the time the steak came off the grill a fair portion of the wine was gone and it was obvious that it wouldn't see a second day.  Wonderful match with the richness of the prime steak.  The wine had the lush fruit in the beginning but ended with the drying tannin that simply made one want to repeat the process over and over.    Quite a pleasant evening.

2004 Luciano Sandrone Nebbiolo D'Alba.  14% alcohol and $39.

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