The long holiday weekend provided plenty of time to make some wonderful food and open a variety of wines.  The festivities started at lunch on New Year’s Eve.  

With some wonderful mozzarella di bufala I made decadent mozzarella in carozza sandwiches to nibble. It’s a simple preparation but it yields very rich results. To cut the fat in the sandwiches, I opened the 2010 Bastianich “B”, a crisp wonderful white from Venezia. Crisp, refreshing and wonderful, with very pretty floral aromatics.  87 Points.

2010 Bastianich “B”
As afternoon turned to evening, some heavier appetizers came out: cambozola, reggiano, aged gouda, soppresatta, smoked duck breast, olives… the reds were aptly poured, but I suspect there were a few ‘Tini’s in the mix as well, before the reds flowed in earnest.  We checked in on the following reds, in no particular order.

The 2007 Pio Cesare Oltre is a red blend from Piedmont Italy. It’s based in Barbera, but has components of Nebbiolo, Cabernet and Merlot.  This was consumed mostly with the appetizers and was decanted for about an hour. It needs it. What was bitter and astringent at first really smoothed out and drank nicely later on. Medium bodied, with lots of raspberry fruit and acids on the palate. The nose really had a lot of perfume, a lot of spice, and for me, was perhaps the most interesting aspect of the wine.  88 Points.

2007 Pio Cesare Oltre
Dinner consisted of roasted rack of pork along with broccoli rabe, with white beans and sundried tomatoes. Reds to accompany dinner were:
The 2001 Azelia Barolo San Rocco is starting to enter that peak plateau of maturity, where I think it will gracefully stay for many years. The color is a dark crimson/brick red and the nose is picking up some secondary aromas of earth, indian spices and anise. In the mouth, on its own, the wine is plenty tannic still, but really smoothed out with the food. It seemingly has a long life ahead with much potential.  91 Points

2001 Azelia San Rocco Barolo

Lastly was a surprise wine that a guest toted along and insisted we open.  These stories always make me smile. “I have a case of this wine in my basement, so I figured I’d bring one.”  Here I’m expecting $2 Buck Chuck – well, no, not really. But I didn’t expect the 1990 Chateau Gruaud Larose the classy 2nd Growth Bordeaux from St. Julien. What a wonderful bottle of wine.  Dark garnet red, still at 21 years of age. The nose is filled with mineral, black fruits, slight tobacco and stones. In the mouth the wine is very well balanced, medium bodied, juicy and fresh. I suspect a slightly higher proportion of Merlot in this blend just based on the weight of the wine alone.  My only complaint is that it seemed that it could have used a touch more fruit.  But wines like this are so special.  I can’t wait to try another!  (hint hint)   Solid 92 points.  Here’s the Gruaud in the decanter……..
1990 Gruaud Larose
Thus ended a wonderful dinner, and while the evening progressed with grappa, sambuca, and fernet branca, we did manage some Moet around midnight.

Buon Anno!

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