Every few months I get together with a old friend in Toronto, and the first order of business is a visit to the wine store. I tend to select an unusual menu of wines, in an attempt to break his Aussie Shiraz habit. It's not a bad habit, per se, more of a rut. He drinks so many wonderful Shirazes, but he is missing other wonderful grapes and regions. Fortunately, he's ok with my experiment, and I have not been totally unsuccessful - he now likes a good Argentinian Malbec for a change!
Tonight's experiment featured two oddities (Italian wines are not odd, but these choices were not mainstream Italian):
2000 Allegrini "La Grola", C$30
2004 Elio Altare Barbera D'Alba, C$27
I have had the "La Grola" on a few occasions, and I always found it to be a wonderful wine for the price. I scored it a little lower on the nose - while pleasant, there were very few scents and those present were fleeting - blueberries and vanilla were all I caught this evening. However, the taste was excellent - full bodied with very nice fruit and structure, soft tannins with a hearty feel and a nice long finish. This wine should continue to improve, but is easy drinking now. Score: 16/20.
The Barbera was a more unusual selection, as I have not had many in my life and I have never tasted any of Altare's wines (famous for his Barolos). Dark purple with a fantastic wild and gamey nose, this wine was bursting with interesting aromas: Violet, citrus, raspberries, earth/undergrowth, leather, smoke - fabulous! On the palate the wine started out very acidic, powerfully tannic and a little off balance - a disappointment vs. the nose. A funny thing happened over the evening, and as this wine got more air it developed wonderfully - I am not sure my score captures how nicely this wine became with more air time. Definitely needs some more time in the cellar, and should improve. Score: 16/20.
Both wines were an excellent match for Domino's pizza.
To be fair, we decanted the La Grola and drank the Barbera out of the bottle - a little unfair to the young Piemonte upstart.