If you’re into food and wine, it must seem like a party everyday if you live in the Piedmont in northern Italy – truffles, cheeses, fine wines, and fresh
Alpine air. However, If you’re like most people on this earth, you’re deprived of the simple pleasures this region has to offer on a daily basis, but thankfully there are those in this world who like to uproot the party and bring it to all corners of the world. I’m talking about Antonio Galloni and his biannual “Festa del Barolo”.
On Saturday April 27, 2013 at Del Posto in New York City, Galloni orchestrated an afternoon seminar for some-200 guests featuring fifteen of Barolo’s most influential wine estates, including Borgogno, Conterno, Vajra, Cogno, Scavino, Voerzio, and Grasso – to name a few. The afternoon tasting and seminar was centered around the 2008 vintage of Barolo. One by one, producers waxed poetic about the soil, terroir, weather conditions, history, trends, and glamor of Italy’s most prized wine, including specifics regarding the current release, 2008 vintage.
Critics have hailed 2008 as an exceptional year for winemaking in Piedmont. Wine writer, Walter Speller, marks on jancisrobinson.com, “Although not without challenges to the growers, a long and cool rather than hot growing cycle resulted in healthy, thick-skinned Nebbiolo grapes full of extract and high sugar levels, balanced by great acidity. And although in most cases the tannins are unyielding for the moment, these powerful wines have all the ingredients for a significant gain in complexity and depth for years to come.”
As an honored guest sommelier for the event, I was smitten when tasting through the wines prior to the tasting. Many of the wines were more than approachable, meaning they offered up distinct flavors of fruit and earth equally matched by firm and supple tannins. Elegance was matched by power and muscle…the quintessential ivory fist in a velvet glove.
Following the afternoon session, the room was turned for a gala dinner where guests were encouraged to bring some of their finest Barolo bottles from their cellars. What ensued was a fantasmal collection of some of Italy’s most important wines along with exquisite vintage Champagne of various sizes. It was a decadent yet sophisticated affair that made each and every one of us appreciate the here and now, while we patiently await the maturation of the 2008 vintage of Barolo.
For those who missed out, you can redeem yourselves in two years when (hopefully) Mr. Galloni hosts the third “Festa del Barolo”.