Aged to Perfection.

Not all wines are created equal…I suppose that’s a pretty obvious statement.  But those with an experienced palate can start to tell the difference between a $20 wine and a $60 wine, or in some cases, a $100 wine. Or, from an aged wine vs. a young wine.  Anytime I get a chance to taste an aged wine, I take note and pay attention.

And not all country’s wines are created equal either.  Old world wine (wines from France, Italy, Spain and Germany) tend to have deeper, earthier, more “aged” flavours, than a New world wine. (Wines from Australia, New Zealand, North and South America, and South Africa).  That being said, I had the opportunity to try (& pour) a LOT of Italian wines this past Friday.  As a volunteer at this event, I had a chance to go around and try as many of the wines as I wanted, then take my turn at one of the tables actually pouring some of this wine.  What a great way to try different wines and find those that appeal to your personal tastes, and to your food pairing endeavours!  And guess what?  There were wines there that I liked, some not so much, and some that I REALLY liked. Apparently, my tastes are getting more expensive, as one of my all time favourite wines was an Amarone worth $200!  But that’s another story…for another posting…

As volunteers, we all received a bottle of wine for helping out that evening. The hosts, Barb & Susan from WineQuest (who put on this event, donating all wines from their personal portfolio) also gave their volunteers the “heels”. These are the bottles that were opened for the tasting, but that have some left in the bottle at the end of the night.  And the bottles that I got?  Well, let’s just say..I was pretty excited, and a hint of jealousy was expressed by my buddy James, who was standing right beside me…

Not about this wine, but this one WAS good!  And the idea here is to compare young and old.  Most of the wines that “age” are reds.  Most aged whites you hear about, come from Germany, or France’s Bordeaux and Burgundy regions. This 2011Santa Maria La Palma “Blu” is made on the island of Sardinia from 100% Vermentino. This grape loves the sea and craves the Mediterranean heat.  This wine was fresh and fruity.  Lots of apples, crisp acidity, and hints of mineralty!  The beauty of this wine, was I never got to taste this in the evening, so was pleasantly surprised to have been able to take this home to enjoy! A young wine, but enjoyable right now! And for $20 retail, totally affordable.

“Brick-ish” colour of red wine is indicative of age.
As red wines age, they become lighter.  As white
wines age, they become darker.  This almost looks
like Coca-Cola in my glass!  Aged to perfection! 

Wow…THIS was the wine that caused the jealousy…As you can see, this is an “aged” wine.  It IS afterall, 14 years old…Early in the evening, I was told that this wine was drinking “beautifully”. What does that tell me?  It tells me that it was the right time to open it, but it also had some life left on it.  This is a $100 wine that was “not available for purchase”. To have been given this bottle to take home, I felt extremely blessed.

Barbaresco is located in the Piedmont region in Northwestern Italy.  It is sometimes said to be the “queen” next to the “king”, which is Barolo (region).  Both regions grow the Nebbiolo grape, and both are well known for producing oustanding wines.  I poured myself a glass of this last night to finish off the bottle, and I made it last about 3 hours.  Even in my glass, the wine continued to evolve.  The tannins were silky, and I could still detect some fruit up front, so from both, tells me that it could be aged even longer.  Still a lot of raspberries, cherries, but mushrooms too.  The Nebbiolo grape is naturally very tannic, so it’s aging potential is HUGE. And it’s been around since the 1st century AD, so I trust it.  I’m telling you, it did NOT disappoint.  I know I’ve already said it, but I was blessed to receive this wine, and now, blessed to talk about it….

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