The first full week of November means that fall is inescapably here. If it's not already downright frosty, the air has a nip of chill, and the leaves are well on their way to crackling under your feet. Like spring, autumn is a special, surprising season. It's fleeting, and it's beautiful. You never really know what to expect with fall, other than the fact that it will get colder and that, along with the color of the leaves, your tastes will change. Squash beckons. White truffles call. Game whispers your name. And you need to answer with appropriate wines!
Today, I've chosen a pair of delicious Barolo wines, Renzo Seghesio 2009 Barolo and Scarzello 2009 Barolo. 2009 was a hot, weird year in Piemonte, and I've been very careful in choosing wines from this vintage. Some producers nailed it. Others did not. Both Renzo Seghesio and Scarzello turned the '09 vintage into textured, powerful wines that pull you to the glass. Both of these bottles are traditional cuvée Baroli, and this blending gives them balance. Super-ripe grapes from warmer vineyard parcels complement more acidic grapes from cooler plots, and joined together, the wine makes a beautiful, seamless whole from entities that could be problematic on their own. Best of all, both Barolo bottles are under $80.
Small, family-run estates, Renzo Seghesio and Scarzello are hard to find in the US, so too is Montalcino's La Fornace. Like the two Piemontese wines in today's offer, the Brunello from La Fornace is pretty traditional and deliciously rustic; it's also very affordable, clocking in at under $70. Even more impressive, this 2007 La Fornace Brunello is a benchmark year, and it's outstanding. If you love Baricci Brunello, you'll probably also love La Fornace. Finally, serious Burgundy connoisseurs won't want to miss Georges Roumier 2011 Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru. It's outstanding, and it'll cellar beautifully.