Friday, July 2, 2021

Italian Barolo for Italian Cuisine

Italian Barolo for Italian Cuisine 

We dined with two of our boys Alec and Sean and their spouses Vivanna and Michelle at Angeli's Italian, our favorite neighborhood trattoria. I took BYOB from our cellar this vintage Silvio Grasso Barolo for the occasion. For our Italian dinner I wanted to take an Italian varietal wine, preferably a Sangiovese or a Nebbiolo, and this was one of the few that we hold in our cellar as most of our collection is comprised of Bordeaux and Rhone varietals.

Produced by the Grasso family who have been producing wine since 1927, but Federico Grasso only started bottling all their production since the mid 1980s, when Alessio Federico took over from his father Silvio. 

Grassos farm a total of 14 hectares of vineyards; 6 estate owned and 8 leased in the La Morra, Barolo wine district from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. Federico Grasso is backed by his wife Marilena and by his sons Silvio and Paolo. According to Robert Parker, they have  "produced a bevy of sensational efforts over recent vintages."

Despite their small overall production, they produce a dozen different labels, six of which are different  sophisticated, modern Barolos produced in a style noted for avoiding excessive wood aromas as Grasso prefers to use large barrels rather than barriques for maturation, and uses less than 30% new wood even on his single-vineyard bottlings. All the Barolos are 100% estate grown Nebbiolo grapes with this being their entry level estate bottled label.

They also produce several small production single vineyard labels, "Bricco Luciani", which is located just above Molino’s "Gancia" vineyard classic La Morra, which is soft and generous, while the "Ciabot Manzoni" was described as "Godzilla-like" by Parker, "multidimensional, compelling/prodigious... gigantic in scope and stature"; this wine was given 95 points for the 2004 by the Wine Spectator. Notably, all of Grasso's 2004 Baroli were awarded scores between 92-95 points.

This is 100% estate bottled Nebbiolo sourced from a small 4 acre vineyard from vines planted in 1982. Nebbiolo is characterized by aromatic wines with rich tannins and characteristics of old oak, these wines are considered by most to be some Italy's finest. 

Barolo wines are some of the most noble and expensive of Italian wines and are synonymous with the Nebbiolo grape.  The Nebbiolo grape does not travel well and is high maintenance, which is why it has never thrived quite as well elsewhere as on the Piemontese slopes and was not adopted by other wine producing regions. Like its top contender, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo reflects its terroir and displays the subtleties of its environment and sense of 'place' where it is grown.

Silvio Grasso Barolo 2010

This release was awarded 94 points by James Suckling and 91 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. 

Analyst notes: "This wine is robust with evident notes of red flowers on the nose. The palate will enjoy significant acid and strong, long, earthy finish. These wines collect well, although consult a specialist to get a hold of of the best vintages."

Dark garnet colored, slightly opaque, medium bodied, complex, concentrated with deep dark berry and black cherry fruits with notes of tobacco, leather, smoke, mineral and floral turning to approachable tannins on the moderate finish. 

RM 90 points.