“This moment contains all moments.” -C.S. Lewis
So it’s three days ‘til D-Day and all I can think about is la vendemmia. “Com’è stata l’estate? Faceva troppo caldo? Come sono i vigneti? … la Barbera? … la Freisa? … la Ruchè? … il Dolcetto? … il Nebbiolo?”
I can’t believe 10 months have passed since I last left Italy. I never thought the day would arrive when I was returning.
But it is. And not much else occupies my brain these days besides, “What bills do I need to pay before I leave?” and, “Who is going to let me pick Nebbiolo grapes in their vineyard this fall!?”
One of the best days I had in Piemonte last year was the day I got to help harvest Nebbiolo in Renato Corino’s block of Arborina, my favorite Barolo cru vineyard. I never wrote about that day and now it is just too late. But the Renato Corino series would be incomplete without it so here you go — Renato Corino 1.7.† Here I will simply take advantage of the old adage, a picture is worth a thousand words.
I’ve said before that the making of new friends is the best thing you can do in Piemonte — yes, even better than drinking Barolo. But actually, I might change my mind here and say that I think meeting up with old friends is the very best thing you can do.
But now that I’m anticipating it all, well, I’m better off anticipating the unexpected. (That’s always safest when traveling.) So I look forward to all the unique moments ahead of me, things I never could have dreamt up myself — because that is what I always get.
But while I’m on the subject …
The following Renato Corino wines are certainly some to look forward to:
Arborina 2007. Barolo DOCG. The ’07 is so elegant and so much less tannic than the ’08 and the ’06 Base (there’s no Arborina 2006). It is really full of perfume. I am looking forward to it and the ’07 vintage in general.
Arborina 2008. Barolo DOCG. For the bouquet: fresh cherries, pine needles, milk chocolate, and a bit of smoke and flowers. In the mouth (nella bocca) I get fresh tannins and tart strawberries.
Rocche 2008. Barolo DOCG. For the bouquet on this one, I will use the word sottobosco, meaning “underwoods” literally in English. But figuratively it means “wild berries which grow low to the ground in the woods.” With that I will add dark chocolate, pine resin, and cherry jam. In the mouth it is the smoothest, richest, and has the mellowest tannins.
Vecchie Vigne 2008. Barolo DOCG. Here the oak comes out the most. But that makes sense because the Vecchie Vigne gets more oak than the other Barolo. In the nose I also get tons of dark fruit – mostly blackberries. Strongest tannins of them all; deepest flavors with the most layers.
Vigna Pozzo Barbera 2008. Barbera d’Alba DOC. Spicy, invigorating, lots of dark fruit, and pine resin. A perfect balance of acidity with a full body and no shortage of elegance.
As a warm-up for my trip I opened my last bottle of 2004 Renato Corino Barolo the other night. This is a great one to open now. It needs about 30 minutes in the glass, but then it really starts to talk. Aromas of mineral, roses, and mint. Full, unctuous mouth feel with turgidly-ripe red cherries, milk chocolate, more minerals, sun dried tomatoes, dried cranberries, and a lift of clove in the back end.