Sunday, November 22, 2015

Anniversary celebration with Valfieri Barolo

I always believe in finding things to celebrate in life no matter how big or how small. Along with that celebration in my home typically will involve wine as well. In October my husband and I celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary from getting married in Italy with my birthday following a week later so the perfect excuse to open a bottle that I've been holding onto. I have a wine fridge specifically for the wines of Italy that I have mostly brought back from my travels or maybe have picked up at one point or another. It's so hard to make the decision of what to open. Barolo can obviously be aged for decades, but that question of whether the bottle is still holding up well or has passed its peak is always a question. I decided to open a 2003 Valfieri Barolo from the Piedmont wine region.

About the Valfieri Winery
The Valfieri winery was established in 1961 by Rosangela Clerici Riccadonna and today is run by her children, Mariachiara and Angelo Clarici. The winery was orignally located in Alba and today is in Costigliole d'Asti.

Valfieri makes a variety of wines, but they only grow the barbera grape themselves in the Nizza cru, which used to be a DOC and has now been upgraded to it's own DOCG as of 2014. their other barbera production comes from the Tinella cru so this is what they really pride themselves on. The other wines they produced the grapes are sourced from other wineries of the area. I picked up this bottle years ago when I just started working in the wine business. Typically I like to purchase wines from wineries that are growing the grapes themselves and whom have complete control over the whole process.

Barolo from La Morra
There are 11 different comunes within Piedmont that are producing Barolo and they have their specific cru sites within those comunes. This particular wine comes from the comune of La Morra. Terroir is a huge factor when discussing Barolo and the nebbiolo grape as they are each known for producing different styles of Barolo. If you were looking at a bottle of Barolo, without even having tasted the wine, you would know what that wine may taste like if you had the knowledge of the typical characteristics from each of the comunes.

For La Morra, typically the characteristics of a Barolo are more feminine in style with aromatics and softer, more supple qualities. They are easier to drink in their youth than some of the other comunes producing Barolo. The soils in La Morra are tortonian, which is a sandier soil, that leads to wines that are softer, aromatic and more ruby red in color.

2003 Valfieri Barolo DOCG
2003 Valfieri Barolo
Grown in the La Morra district from 30-40 year old vines.  The 2003 Valfieri Barolo was smooth, with dark cherry and plum notes, a hint of tobacco and well integrated tannins that had softened well with age.  My preference typically is a Barolo with more power and complexityYou can typically find this wine though at very reasonable prices for Barolo about $25-30 retail.

Food Pairing with Barolo
I prepared a porterhouse steak with a salt, pepper and garlic rub topped with some drops of a balsamic vinegar I received as a sample from Emilia Delizia.  What a difference when you have real balsamic vinegar made with grape must than the cheap stuff they sell in the supermarkets.  Buyer beware!  Along with the porterhouse I made butternut squash ravioli in the same balsamic also with a butter and brown sugar sauce.  An amazing sensory overload.
Porterhouse with butternut squash ravioli
Balsamic vinegar made with grape must 

Most of the time I'm opening a special bottle it's a memorable event no matter the occasion that I may be celebrating. The holidays are around the corner and let's see what I pop open next! What are any special pairings you have enjoyed yourself?