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13-Year-Old Barolo Riserva, Pinot with a Sassicaia Twist, Premier Cru Burgundy, and More
October 4, 2012

13-Year-Old Barolo Riserva, Pinot with a Sassicaia Twist, Premier Cru Burgundy, and More

A Note from Sergio

Currently on the road in Italy, I had to miss last Monday night's winemaker dinner, "Rising Stars and Historic Estates," that featured two of my favorite up-and-coming winemakers, Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, of Sassicaia and Bodega Chacra, and Alessia Antinori, of Solaia, Tignanello and Cervaro. These two cousins had never hosted a wine dinner together before, and knowing them as I do, I was sure this would be a really special event. It was--not just because of the two charming hosts but also because of the food and the wines, including selections from the fairytale Fiorano estate that I first premiered in 2004. I got reports that Chef Kevin Sippel really outdid himself, and all the wines showed beautifully, though the 2011 Bodega Chacra Cincuenta y Cinco, and the Fiorano '95 Semillon and the estate's legendary, near-mythic and exceptionally rare '88 Rosso were stand-outs. Nothing makes me happier to know that we put transcendent wines in the glasses of serious wine-lovers.

  

Our guests got to hear stories that I myself have heard and loved. How in Patagonia, Piero grows his grapes in what is in essence a desert, and how this harsh landscape translates into these mellifluous, elegant wines. How Alessia remembers visiting her grandfather, Fiorano's Prince Ludovisi, and watching him pour his wines for the dinner table directly out of large botti, where he kept them, very likely the reason why these whites are so incredibly age-worthy. And how Alessia, along with her two sisters, Allegra and Albiera, are restoring their grandfather's vineyards, making them biodynamic, and slowly, painstakingly making this work in progress a thing of beauty. Guests got a chance to taste a glimspe of the Fiorano estate's new and unreleased 2010 Rosso in the making, a wine that's not even labeled and bottled yet. It's exciting to ponder the renaissance of this fabled vineyard.

  

In honor of a night that all attendants agreed was magical, I'm delighted to offer some of the outstanding wines of the evening, including four vintages of Fiorano Semillon, the new-release Cincuenta y Cinco 2011, and a wine we didn't pour that night, Bovio Barolo Riserva 1999, which is a time-sensitive offer of a wine with some nice age on it. Here's to rising stars, wherever you are and whatever you're doing. Take the time to enjoy the brightness and the beauty.

  

My Best,  

signature

P.S. You can now follow me on Twitter: @Italian_Wine_SE.  
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Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir Rio Negro Cincuenta y Cinco 2011 750ml
Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir Rio Negro Cincuenta y Cinco 2011 750ml
Price: $60.00

This ’11 Patagonian wine exudes pure old-vine Pinot Noir fruit, a dusting of spice, a waft of earth, but its sinuous sophistication and elegance mark it as a member of the Sassicaia family--it is to Argentina and Burgundy what Sassicaia is to Bolgheri and Bordeaux. The child of a perfect growing season, this 2011 offers great structure for its ruby red body, lovely concentration, nice acidity, and great balance. Great aromatics, piquant minerality, elegant fruit and delicate sous-bois complete the picture of this Cinquenta y Cinco, and now with a half-decade of perfect maturity, this ’11 Pinot Noir is a velvety delight. Made with minimal intervention, whole cluster fermentation, and no fining or filtration, Cincuenta y Cinco is a single-vineyard Patagonian Pinot Noir that derives from a biodynamically farmed 14-acre plot of vines planted in 1955--hence its name. Fewer than 700 cases made.
Fiorano No. 47 Semillon 1994 750ml
Fiorano No. 47 Semillon 1994 750ml
Price: $124.00

This ‘94 Fiorano shows a golden yellow hue and offers a nose full of melon and honey tones followed by caramel mixed with apricots and kumquat. Airing the glass gives you baked green apples and slight tropical notes. The soft, creamy palate shimmers with a slight tangy acidic minerality and lingering sherry-like notes of almonds on a nice, soft, long, mineral-inflected finish. Compelling flavors and a bouquet that is endlessly intriguing make these vintage Sémillons true treats for the serious aficionado, and this organically grown wine will likely remind connoisseurs of drinking aged Bordeaux Blanc. The product of dedication and passion from Principe Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi and his Fiorano estate, whose avant-garde approach of organic agriculture and the use of a magical mold was way ahead of its time, this wine shows a rare ability to age.
Fiorano No. 39 Semillon 1985 750ml
Fiorano No. 39 Semillon 1985 750ml
Price: $149.00

The wines of the late Prince Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi created a phenomenon for their ability to age. However, to ensure that his legacy would not be misrepresented, Ludovisi destroyed his vineyards, passing his private cellar to Italian food and wine critic Luigi Veronelli and entrusting him to find individuals who could keep his vision alive. This mission continues today, as the vintage wines have been left to Sergio by the late Veronelli.