Monday, June 4, 2007
Yes, you heard me right. The other night I enjoyed a white wine made from the grape that is at the base of all Barolos and Barbarescos. OK, OK, the Nebbiolo made up only five percent of the mix; the other 95 percent was Chardonnay. But still, it's unusual, particularly since the Nebbiolo was vinified without contact with the skins, and thus didn't render the resulting potion a rose.
The wine, called Solea, came from the respected Piedmont producer Roagna. I can't always afford their Barbarescos, so when I saw this Roagna priced reasonably at $19, I couldn't resist. What also made the wine interesting, and more of a bargain, was the vintage: 2000. Solea is held back for three years before release. What this bottle was doing the other four, I don't know, but Chamber Street Wines had just gotten it in when I tried it.
How to describe it? Well, it's unusual and doesn't really win you over at first. It packs a wallop, like a white red. It's medium-full bodied. There's little fruit. Minerality and petrol dominate. After a glass or two, though, it really impresses, the way an old white Rioja does. It has great presence. I haven't figured out what food it would go well with, but that's OK. It's quite fine on its own.