Some of the world's greatest wines come from Barolo, and many of the world's greatest winemakers have gravitated there, pulled by the force of its terroir. It's easy to talk about a vineyard's terroir, what the soil is made of and how the tectonic plates shifted to offer up younger earth in one vineyard and older earth in another. It's easy to talk about how those fresh soils grow grapes that make graceful wines, while those older soils grow grapes that make austere wines. It's easy to measure a ten-degree temperature difference from the bottom of a slope to the top, and to show a correlation between the opulence of the wines at the bottom and the finesse of the wines at the top. But you don't really get Barolo's magic of nature and of human ingenuity until you visit, and the more you visit, the more it floors you. Barolo is beautiful beyond words.
Today, I'm proud to present the new 2012 releases of Aldo Contero's trio of cru Barolos. Aldo passed away the year these wines were made. He spent his whole life in Barolo and knew it intimately. Aldo was one of those winemakers who defied easy categorization--he was neither strictly traditional, nor was he modernist--and whose wines have been so good that easy definitions cease to matter. As much as today's trio of wines ensure Aldo's legacy, these Barolos show how, just as Aldo's dad trained him, he trained his sons. They're true to the estate and to the integrity of this great producer, and they evoke all the warmth of the vintage while maintaining the muscular structure of a heavyweight boxer.
Along with this trio of new releases, I'm delighted to bring back a pair of wines that my clients have loved. These two wines are very, very different, yet each is a terrific representation of its specific type, the people who made them and the land that grew their grapes. The first is an Italian sparkler, Barone Pizzini 2009 Brut Franciacorta. Lombardia makes Italy's premier méthode champenoise sparkler, and these half-bottles from Barone Pizzini are outrageously good--share one with a friend over lunch or brunch and you'll be smitten. What can I say about Comte Georges de Vogüé that Burgundy lovers don't already know? It's an estate that lives up to its hype, maybe even surpasses it. The magnums of Georges de Vogüé 2012 Musigny VV offered below are outstanding.