Piemonte is one of the greatest wine regions in Italy and indeed, in all the world.  What makes it so special, is that the wines produced there are unique. They are distinct to that place, and are not grown anywhere else in the world with the same level of commercial and critical success. They are truly indigenous and have their own soul.  There are dozens of varietals grown there, but the majority of wines are made from Dolcetto, Barbera, and Nebbiolo. It’s the latter that provides the great wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. 
Barolo and Barbaresco are both full bodied, tannic wines, with complexity and nuance. If a generalization is to be made, it is that Barolo is the King, and Barbaresco the Queen.  Yet the distinction between the two is not that great. I once summed it up as this:  Barolo can be like getting hit with a 2×4 three times.  Barbaresco only hits you twice. 
In this installment of CellarNotes, we pulled a wine from the Eurocave that was gifted to me quite a while ago.  The 1996 Albino Rocca Barbaresco Brich Ronchi was opened about 45 minutes before dinner and served alongside a roast pork covered in sage, garlic, and parsley.  Pan roasted cauliflower accompanied.
This single vineyard wine is dark garnet and still very youthful looking despite it’s 16 year age.  The nose was immediately striking and complex.  Aromas of dark cherry, new leather, fennel and smoked meats are noticeable.  Wonderful aromatics.  In the mouth, the wine is still very tannic, and more austere than I would have expected. It’s full bodied, with a moderate core of cherry fruit, that seems to have already faded a bit.  There are slight traces of mineral and anise as well, however, the wine is rather tannic and throwing a large sediment.  I wonder if there will be fruit left once the tannins resolve more fully.  Overall, very good – just not what I’d hoped.  89 points. 

1996 Albino Rocca Barbaresco

Check out the aftermath in my glass…….

There was at least this much crust formed inside the bottle.  Amazing!
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