The nicest aspect of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is that it gives us a bit of “down-time” to explore the cellar and dig up a few wines to drink at our leisure. So, here is a brief report on a few wonders that have been hanging out underground for awhile …
We had the pleasure Tuesday evening of hosting Matt Straus (proprietor of Heirloom Café in San Francisco) and Caitlin DiZino (soon to at Nopa in San Francisco) and to honor the occasion we opened a couple of wines from growers who Matt has been fond of over the years we have known each other and worked together. We had an absolutely brilliant and very rare 1990 Hermitage Blanc “Le Reverdy” produced by Michel Ferraton, one of the finest and most enjoyable producers we have worked with; we followed the white wine with a tour de force from Luigi Ferrando, his Carema Etichetta Nera from the 1985 vintage, a seductive wine of exceptional elegance and complexity. The evening lasted long enough for us to finish up with a fine example of South African wine, Rozendal Farm 1987, one of a small group of wines we imported when we supplemented a wonderful birding trip to Botswana back in 1992 with a side trip to Stellenbosch and returned with a container of provocative wines. This red, a blend of Cabernet and Shiraz, is holding its own 27 years from its birth.
On subsequent days, Kerry and I, dining alone at home, had the dreamy experience of drinking a Barolo “Rocche” 1997 from Brovia, a vintage that I thought would not age well but which, at least in this fine example from that most ethereal of vineyard sites in Castiglione Falletto, is showing in stellar fashion, with a brightness and vivacity that belies the reputation of this vintage as marked by a touch of over-ripeness.
Then, we had a duo of wines from the 2001 vintage: De Forville’s Barbaresco 2001 and Bea’s Montefalco Rosso Riserva 2001. The Barbaresco is a testament to this great vintage and the consistently fine and classic wines produced by the Anfosso family. After 35 years of working side by side with Valter and Paolo Anfosso and their father, Bruno, I can only encourage our friends to rush to pick up these exceptional wines that are always offered at prices that scream “value”. Bea’s wine proves that the ferocious and savage qualities that frequently appear in the early stages of development can mellow into wines of elegance. His 2001 is “a point” now, a suave, generous wine offering all of its gifts to those fortunate enough to have set this lovely gem aside.
All in all, a nice week of drinking “wines from the underground” …. NIR