Ready or not: 07 Produttori del Barbaresco Asili vs. 07 Chiarlo Tortoniano

Unfortunately, it happens all the time: you find yourself at dinner with a good friend (in this case, a best childhood friend) who is new to the wine world and who insists on tasting you on a wine that they’ve discovered with no regard for your personal tastes or palate (how could she or he know?).

It’s exactly what happened when Yele and I visited a restaurant in La Jolla the other night with a close high school friend of ours (a Hebrew school friend for me; that’s how far we go back). I had a bottle of 2007 Produttori del Barbaresco Asili in my bag: however young in its evolution, I wanted to taste a bottle from my allocation just to check in with the wine, see where it’s at in its development, and indulge in one of my favorite wines of all time.

Said friend, who had eaten at said restaurant a few nights earlier, wouldn’t listen to our gentle admonitions and he insisted that he allow him to buy our table a bottle of Chiarlo 2007 Barolo Tortoniano in 375ml.

The 2007 Asili was extreme in its tannic expression and frugal with its fruit. California, where I maintain my cellar, gets a smaller allocation of Produttori del Barbaresco crus and I’m thrilled that I was able to get a case of this wine. I probably won’t revisit it for another few years but there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s going to become one of the gems of my collection. The practically winterless 2007 vintage in Langa has delivered some of the most muscular, opulent expressions of Barbaresco that I have ever tasted (remember when Tracie P and I tasted the 07 Asili with Bruno Giacosa on our honeymoon?).

My experience with Langaroli wines from 2007 was a stark counterpoint to the bright cherry cough-syrup fruit of the 2007 Tortoniano by Chiarlo. There’s no doubt that this is a well made wine but it’s just “not my speed,” as I like to tell folks when I politely decline to taste a given wine. The tannin was well-balanced in the wine but I just couldn’t get past its yeasted quality and its softness. It wasn’t bad (in fact it was very elegant). But it simply didn’t reflect the appellation or the vintage. It tasted more like a high-end Russian River Pinot Noir than it did Langa Nebbiolo — at least to me.

Having grown up in San Diego, I often find that my peers took paths in life widely divergent from mine — in wine tastes and ideology. Actually, I should say the opposite: I spent my entire adolescence leaving Las Vegas La Jolla, heading to Mexico, to Italy, to New York, and now Texas.

It’s often hard to taste wine with them. But ready or not, I love them just the same.

4 thoughts on “Ready or not: 07 Produttori del Barbaresco Asili vs. 07 Chiarlo Tortoniano

  1. Funny! My good childhood friend, “said writer of this wonderful vanity blog,” just a few nights earlier (he/she) was praising the maker of said Barolo… Having different palates is characteristic of everyone on earth. But having a lack of class when a good childhood friend purchases a wine to share with said blogger… As the old or new saying goes “you can buy a friend wine but you can’t buy them class!” Next time I’ll get a .750 ;-)

    • Not a matter of class, friend, although I’d never claim to have any.

      I was glad to taste the Chiarlo and happy to share my Produttori del Barbaresco with you.

      But more than anything, glad to have a friend with whom I share things much more important than palate…

      I love you, brother…

  2. sorry if my post came out sounding nasty, dude… thanks for being so cool and having fun with it… I need to call you later today: we need to figure out what we’re going to do with Riccardo Zanotto… we might have to play a U2 song or something! Evviva la birra Pedavena! Also, need to update you on Renato…

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