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King Barolo

As you know, all of us here at Eli’s List love old world wines, hence our penchant towards the wines of Burgundy and Piedmont. This week, we return to Piedmont, the land of kingly Barolos, most of which come from hamlets in the Langhe Hills southeast of Turin. That is the terroir of the indigenous nebbiolo grape. I have to say that Nebbiolo is an aromatic varietal that is tricky because it is incredibly sensitive to the earth in which it is grown. In fact Barolos from neighboring vineyards can taste remarkably different. Their acidity and tannins can take years to soften, so some Barolos can age for decades.

Anyhow…last week, Matteo Molino came to town. He is the son of Mauro Molino, whose vineyards are in La Morra, a picturesque, fabled medieval town with a panoramic view of the Langhe and the Alps. And he brought with him Barolo vintages from 2009 and 2010.

Molino is a small, family-owned estate. Mauro bottled his first Barolo just over three decades ago from vines he had inherited from his father, Giuseppe.

He built a small winery on the family farm, and over the years began to buy parcels in some of Barolo’s top top crus, including two of La Morra’s most prestigious vineyards, La Serra and Conca. Today, his children, Matteo and daughter, Martina are very involved in the winemaking process.

Molino farms his vineyards using sustainable methods. And, he uses a combination of oaks to age the wine with half the wine in big oak barrels known as Botte, and half the wine in small French oak barriques, resulting in Barolos that are beguilingly delicate and much more accessible than the ones from the region’s Monforte district, for example. They are fragrant and aromatic and when paired with food, they are wonderfully firm, yet polished.

We were really pleased to host a dinner for Matteo next door at Eli’s Table. He is a charming young man who is very knowledgeable about his family’s wine.

The dinner included:

Red Lentil Soup with Mint – 2010 Barolo

Braised Veal Tongue, Mustard and Pickles – 2009 Barolo Gallinoto and 2010 Barolo Gallinoto Oven Roasted Wild Mushrooms with Thyme – 2009 Barolo Gancia and 2010 Barolo Bricco Luciani Milk-Fed Veal Chop with Sweet Peas – 2009 Barolo Vigna Conca

U’Pecorinu, Sheep’s Milk Cheese from Corsica – 2004 Barolo

We have sold out of several wines from the dinner, but we still have the following at Eli’s List:

2009 Barolo Vigna Conca

2009 Barolo Vigna Gancia

2010 Barolo Bricco Luciani