Above: Every once in a while you open the right bottle at the right time with the right people on the right occasion. The 2001 Barbaresco Pora by Produttori del Barbaresco left me and Tracie P speechless last night.
Yesterday, on our way back from Orange, Texas (on the Louisiana border), where we visited with Tracie P’s family and celebrated most-likely-soon-to-be-family-member Clark Dean’s graduation from Sam Houston State University with home-smoked ribs and brisket (Clark’s dating cousin Katherine), we stopped in Houston for an impromptu wine tasting and spaghettata with the Levy clan and family friend Taylor Holladay.
Cousins Marty and Joanne and Neil and Dana (of the Levy clan) are so generous to me and Tracie P and have so warmly welcomed us into their lives: we wanted to do something special for them by means of a wine tasting and — by request — Tracie P’s spaghetti alla carbonara.
Five wonderful wines were opened and you can imagine which wines they were, since they often appear here at Do Bianchi (the theme was our favorite wines to drink at home). But the wine that eclipsed them all — the bottiglia signora — was the 2001 Barbaresco Pora by Produttori del Barbaresco.
Above: After the tasting, the Pora was the wine that everyone wanted to drink for dinner. I just can’t begin to explain how much I love Produttori del Barbaresco — excellent price/quality ratio, honest and real wine, poop and fruit in a glass.
“Poop and fruit in a glass,” were Tracie P’s words: this nearly 10-year-old expression of old-school Nebbiolo, from one of the best vintages of our lifetime (delivered in a bottle I picked up at a close-out last year for $35!), left me (nearly) speechless (if you can imagine that!). A nearly perfect equilibrium of tannin, earth, fruit, and acidity, the right bottle, the right wine, opened with the right folks, at the very right moment.
Pora is arguably the “softest” of the Produttori del Barbaresco single-vineyard bottlings but this bottle surprised me with its impressive tannic structure, integrated nicely with the wine’s gorgeous fruit. I promise that one day soon, I’ll post my notes from tasting all of the winery’s crus with winemaker Aldo Vacca back in March.
In other news…
On Saturday, Taylor had been bamboozled by the behemoth of Texas wine retailers (and it’s not hard to guess who that is). He had visited the flagship store in Houston asking for a bottle of Produttori del Barbaresco (my recommendation) intended for his late-night date Sunday night. He was sold an under $30 blend of barriqued Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese from Bolgheri (in a very “naughty” bottle, i.e., deep punt, thick glass, etc.) by a salesperson who told him, “this is very similar to Produttori del Barbaresco. If you like that, you’ll like this.” Wrong grape, wrong region, and wrong style… Tracie P and I just couldn’t send Taylor on his mission with a bottle of tricked-out Cabernet! Luckily, I had a bottle of 2004 Rosso del Veronese (a classic blend of Corvina, Molinara, and Rondinella, vinified in stainless-steel and aged in large cask) by one of Quintarelli’s protégés Luca Fedrigo, owner of L’Arco.
How did the wine work out? “Great… It got me a kiss!!”
Available at the Austin Wine Merchant, under $20 (the wine, not the kiss).
In other other news…
If you haven’t yet read Alice’s “Modern Love” column in the Times… run don’t walk!