Every bottle of wine is a gamble.
Even when a bottle has been shipped and stored correctly, there are so many variables that can affect the fitness and quality of the wine.
There is always the issue of corks, corkiness, and premature oxidation. But there are even other factors that come into play. Even in the case of Produttori del Barbaresco, what some would call a highly reliable producer of collectible wines, what grower in the cooperative raised the grapes that went into a given blended bottle? Was it from their best rows high on the slope or from fruit at the bottom? There are infinite elements that can shape a wine’s future, even when it is stored in temperature- and humidity-controlled conditions.
But man, when it all comes together, the disappointments of the patient collector are all offset by a stunning wine that everyone at the dinner table will remember.
That’s what happened last night when we opened a bottle of 2007 Produttori del Barbaresco classic (blended) Barbaresco with friends who came over for dinner.
The wine was from an allocation of Produttori del Barbaresco I bought when Tracie and I got married in 2010. It had remained in my wine locker in San Diego since that time.
Honestly, I was afraid that my investment wasn’t going to pay off: last year, I opened a few 2007s and they were in good shape and good to drink. But the fruit was “closed,” “shut down,” as we say in the trade. I was worried that the ideal moment to drink these had passed.
But the above bottle fired on all cylinders and more yesterday. On the nose, the wine was extremely fresh, with hints of the berry fruit that would arrive on the palate. In the mouth, the vibrant acidity conveyed brilliant, glorious fruit flavors with just enough earth to balance the juicy, ripe flavor.
It was utterly delicious and worth every second that we have waited for it.
Looking back, 2007 was a vintage that gave us a preview of 2022: a mild winter with relatively little snow and little rainfall and a hot summer that accelerated harvest and cooked some of the fruit on the vine. The overarching quality was excellent but the yields were attenuated.
Last night’s bottle was a wager worth waiting for.