First Kiss: 07 Produttori del Barbaresco and Gianni Brunelli olive oil

Maybe it’s because she knew I was depressed by the flurry of bad news from Europe.

But it’s definitely because I’m the luckiest guy in the world: when Tracie P came home from work yesterday, she brought me a bottle of 2007 Barbaresco by Produttori del Barbaresco, which — believe it or not — I still hadn’t tasted.

However bizarre the 2007 vintage in Langa, everything I’ve tasted so far from Barbaresco and Barolo has been simply sensational. Here’s what one of my favorite wine writers, Antonio Galloni, had to say about this strange but glorious (imho) vintage:

    The year started off with an unusually warm and dry winter, with virtually no precipitation. Flowers and plants went into bloom nearly a full month early. Growers had never seen conditions such as these. The summer was warm, but evenly so, without noticeable heat spikes. Towards the end of the growing season nighttime temperatures lowered, slowing down the maturation of the grapes, and allowing for the development of the perfume that is such an essential component of fine Nebbiolo. The harvest was earlier than normal, but the growing season started so early in the year that the actual length of the vegetative cycle was actually close to normal if not longer than normal by a few days.

At first kiss, the 2007 classic (as opposed to vineyard-designated) Barbaresco by Produttori del Barbaresco was very generous with its fruit. Arguably the most elegant bottling I’ve ever tasted from the winery that forms the centerpiece of our wine collection, the wine showed stunning balance before quickly closing up, with the muscular tannin dominating the wine in my glass for the rest of the evening (I’ve saved the great part of the wine in the bottle and will revisit it tonight and tomorrow night). If ever there were an expression of Barbaresco “Barolo-esque” in its power, this would be it: there was a delicate menthol note in the mouth that reminded us of some of our favorite “east-side,” “Helvetian” growers.

It’s too early for final judgment on this wine, but wow, my impression is that we have a lot to look forward to…

In other news…

I also opened a bottle of Gianni Brunelli olive oil that Laura Brunelli gave me when I visited the family’s amazing farm in Montalcino in October.

A drizzle over some still warm toasted bread was unbelievably good, one of the mineral olive oils I’ve ever tasted. (When tasting olive oil, please be sure the olive oil is room temperature and always taste with warm bread; the gentle heat of the bread will prompt the oil to release its full flavor.)

I used the oil to dress some fresh red leaf lettuce and some cannellini beans. Utterly and absolutely delicious.

Whereas Ligurian olive oil tends toward the fruity and Sicilian toward the spicy, great Tuscan olive oil leans toward salty: I added just a dash of kosher salt to both the salad and the beans and Laura’s oil imparted all the savoriness I needed to both dishes. Fantastic stuff… Enough to cheer a wine blogger up after a day of gloomy news from his adoptive country…

Stay tuned for a post on my visit with Laura, a tour of her amazing “biodynamic” house, and a tasting of some current and older vintages of her family’s incredible wines… one of the best tastings from my last trip to Italy… Thanks for reading!

7 thoughts on “First Kiss: 07 Produttori del Barbaresco and Gianni Brunelli olive oil

  1. Nice tip for tasting olive oil, and those beans look delicious. I’m going to have to try that (not to mention, hopefully, the Barbaresco). Sometimes it’s easy to forget how amazing relatively simple dishes can be.

    • you are absolutely right, Sir.
      Formal oil tasting needs an appropriate room, black official glass (without steam to allow the hand to bring oil to a gentle warmth, a specific fact sheet to fill. Absolutely no bread, nothing to eat. If the tasting includes more than one oil, the only thing to eat allowed is a bite of an non aromatic apple like a granny smith. Its acidity cleans the palate and helps to prepare the mouth to the next oil.
      However…Reading Mr. Parzen’s thoughts I have the feeling that he wanted to represent what he found using the oil on the bread and the white beans (cannellini beans). We have to remember that, different than wine, which is always a pleasure to taste and drink, olive oil is not fan to taste and this makes harder the job of the oil taster, opposite of a wine taster.

      • Adrian and Francesco, I am with you! And Francesco, you make an important point about how difficult it is to taste olive oil in a technical setting.

        And as Francesco noted, I wasn’t talking about formal tasting… There’s nothing better than a classic Tuscan bruschetta: grilled, saltless bread, rubbed with garlic, drizzled with olive oil… The heat of the bread causes the oil to release it’s flavor…

        Thanks for your insights here! I’m with you! :)

  2. Jeremy, how was the PdB on day 2 and day 3 (if you had any left)?
    Any heat (warm mouth feeling) on the finish? It was a hot year, but not as hot as 2003. But difficult to compare to any other vintages.

    It seems as the vintage will be drinking earlier than 2004 and 2006, maybe even 2005. It will give much early pleasure while we wait for the mentioned vintages, I think.

  3. i knew that would make you happy 2B! i wish i could have enjoyed some with you. but the beans and olive oil the next day on on a piece of toast with one extra indulgent drizzle kinda made up for it!

  4. On our recent visit to Piedmont, I marveled at the opportunity to walk into a wine shop in La Morra and pay the same price for a single-vineyard Produttori as I pay for the general bottling in the states. Wow! Either way, it’s a tremendous value for these wines.

    And I find it utterly unsurprising that Tracie did something like this. Man, did you marry up…

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