Last week, the agency Vendemmia hosted their portfolio tasting at the venerable old Hotel MacDonald. I had received an invitation, but knew I was scheduled to work at Sherbrooke and so I had to decline.

Much to my surprise, my friend Hayley who works with Vendemmia arranged for Valentina Abbona who represents her family’s interests at Marchesi di Barolo to come do a mini tasting at Sherbrooke the morning of the big portfolio tasting. I was so excited because Barolo and the wines of Piemonte are some of my most favorite wines.

I was first introduced to them when visiting Max Gancia in the early eighties. I fell immediately in love with Piemonte and every morsel of food and wine I was able to consume there. Especially Barolo from the Cannubi vineyard.

In anticipation of Valentina and Hayley’s visit, I re-organized the entire Italian wine section at Sherbrooke! It is now set up almost like a map of Italy so the wines of Piemonte are where they should be on the map of Italy and all the products from the suppliers in each region are together on the shelf to facilitate easy shopping.

The day arrived and Hayley introduced me to Valentina Abbona, the latest in the many generations of winemaking history in her family. Valentina is one of those people whose beauty is not just skin deep but comes from a place of real inner beauty. She is warm and friendly with a beautiful smile but this doesn’t detract from her incredible knowledge of and passion for the wines of her home.

We tasted:

Marchesi di Barolo Dolcetto d’Alba Bosset 2013 – from a single vineyard in Barolo it offered aromas of dark cherry, black pepper, Fernet and savoury notes of wild thyme. It had a big fresh attack, densely packed with tannin and acidity just how I like it. Lovely and fun and astonishingly bittersweet with a long chewy finish. +447763 $$ ❤

Marchesi di Barolo Barbera d’Alba Piergal 2013 – single vineyard Barbera with a chalky deep savoury nose of cranberry, thyme and sandalwood. Silken attack with big dense fruit and a rich oaken backbone. Tangy bright fruit that clings to the teeth. Very upright and elegant with a little bigger window for aging that most Barbera. +403501 $$ ❤

Marchesi di Barolo 2010 Barolo – Pretty ruby/garnet hue, gorgeous rich dark chewy nose of fresh pepper, black licorice and wet stone. Velvet sweet attack that waits a beat and then spreads wide open on the palate. Mouthwatering acidity lifts the medium dry tannins and that great fruit shines through. Great long, long finish with a really stemmy earthiness. Lovely, elegant and athletic. Very fruit forward and round.  (sorry no cspc) $$  ❤  ❤

Zagara Moscato d’Asti 2014 – clear bright straw colour. Fresh rose petals with peony and snapdragon, mint and sunshine. Lovely fruity attack with a singular minerality. Great as an aperitif or digestif! Love, love, love. +729285 $$  ❤

After this tasting I was surprised to learn that I would actually get to go to the big tasting that afternoon! What a great day! Some of my favorite suppliers poured their wonderful wines. There were beautiful Soave from Pieropan, sparkling Falanghina from Feudi san Gregorio and the great wines from my friends at Giacomo Bologna’s Braida family.

Then of course there were a few more wines from Valentina’s table and as the day wore on my notes became shorter and shorter:

Marchesi di Barolo Barbaresco 2012 – Wet sand and clay with blackberry, blueberry and hints of vanilla caramella. Super fun sweet/savoury attack. Bright and chewy. Love,love love! (Lots of hearts)

Marchesi di Barolo Cannubi Barolo 2011 – Fresh lily, ginger and black licorice. Super elegant, silken attack. Very bright fruit and acidity. Compelling earthiness and an elegant, lingering finish. Absolute perfection. (more hearts)

Marchesi di Barolo 2009 Sarmassa Barolo – Single vineyard Barolo. Earthy, aromatic, herbaceous nose of fresh cherries, plum, menthol and black licorice. Super chewy attack with brilliant bright fruit and a crazy deep dense finish. (many hearts) omg. I may cry. I was lucky enough to get to taste this Sarmassa later in the day after it had opened even more and I think I actually did shed a tear.

We do carry some of the Marchesi di Barolo wines at Sherbrooke Liquor. Don’t hesitate to come by and pick up some for yourself. Your life will only be enriched.






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