Scarpa via NYC

*Disclaimer: Snooth provided transportation and lodging so I could attend this conference.

Where is Scarpa Winery, you might ask? On this particular night, it was found at Peking Duck in Manhattan, but in reality, Scarpa is in Piedmont, Italy. When I traveled to NYC a couple weeks ago to attend the Snooth People’s Voice Awards blogger conference, we were able to try quite the line up from this winery, which is not currently imported to the US, but is looking to come to the market ASAP. The Scarpa tasting kicked the conference off with a bang, with almost a dozen more tastings to follow. Lucky for Scarpa, being first, our palates were fresh and ready to taste.

Our first flight.

Our first flight.

We tasted through the following line up, in this order:

  • Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 2007, $72
  • Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 2006, $52
  • Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 2005, $68
  • Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 1998, $58
  • Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 1997, $95
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 2005, $74
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 2004, $88
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 2003, $98
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 2001, $130
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 1999, $105
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 1987, $250
  • Scarpa Barolo, Le Coste di Monforte, 1978, $500

As you can see, we were able to taste through a couple different verticals, as well as even older vintages of both verticals. And yes, the last bottle really does retail for $500, which may be the most expensive wine I’ve ever tasted. I’d have to go back through the last 6+ years of notes to check, but I’m pretty positive that tops my list.

One interesting thing I learned about the winery involved the use of large oak tanks to age the wines, rather than the smaller barrels most wineries in the US favor.  Their idea of the life-span of a tank is also quite different than the American notion that barrels need to be replaced every 2-3 years. The Scarpa tanks are on average currently 12-13 years old and they will use them for at least 30 years. They also use no temperature control in the winery, just open the doors when the weather is nice!

My two favorites of the tasting were the 2005 Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, and the 1978 Scarpa Barolo, Le Coste di Monforte.  When I’m looking for Italian wine, I often go for a Barbera d’Asti, just because I find it to be a delicious and more affordable alternative alternative to Barolo.

2005 Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona: Spice, herbs, orange zest, chocolate covered orange, crushed violets, black cherry, raspberry, fresh and vibrant, lots of acidity.

1978 Scarpa Barolo, Le Coste di Monforte: Mint chocolate, min, espresso, eucalyptus, coffee bean grounds, anise notes, fresh vanilla, red fruits, cranberry, bright fresh red fruit with excellent acidity. I was really surprised by how much life this wine has in it and can imagine  it could age for years to come given the acidity.

Overall, the strong line up of wines impressed me. In general, I could easily recommend all but the 1998 Barbera because I thought that particular glass had oxidized and so I didn’t get a fair impression of the wine. Here’s hoping Scarpa Winery will find its way to a wine shop near me soon.

Barolo for a Cold Winter Night

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Wine Chateau.

I don’t drink a lot of Barolo.  Mainly because I oddly don’t drink a ton of Italian wines in general, which is a shame.  There was a time there where I was in love with Negromara. I should probably revisit Italy through wine as I’ve had some fun ones lately, including a new grape to add to my list of grape varieties tried.  In any event, we plucked the 2007 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Tortoniano from the cellar to enjoy by a roaring fire one cold night.  The Chiarlo clocks in at 13.5 percent alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails for $37.09 from Wine Chateau.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I generally don’t drink much Barolo because I find it expensive. But I do love it, and this one is wonderful in the price point.

2.) I always want to put on a smoking jacket and play some refined card game when I drink Barolo. The roaring fire fit nicely with how I imagine Barolo should be consumed.

3.) While it was lovely on its own, I could easily see if with a duck ragu or a mushroom risotto.

4.) The wine felt a little young, it definitely got better and better as it aired in my glass.

On the nose I got cherry, raspberry, wood, anise, flowers, some earthy notes, spice, and other red fruits.  In the mouth I found tarter red fruit, with raspberry, wood, black cherry, spices, dried roses, dried cherries, and more black cherry. It felt expensive on the palate.

A Combo Post

I rarely take pictures of my wine and food in restaurants.  I don’t know why, but I’m afraid other diners and the waitstaff might think I’m bizarre.  I know lots of food blogger routinely snap shots of their food while out and about, so I should really just get over it. And I almost always have my camera with me, so I just need to suck it up and take the pictures.  But what say you readers? Would you think it odd to see fellow diners photographing their food and wine?

So that’s the first part of this post, leading up to telling you why I don’t have a photo of the wine I drank at the restaurant D’Acqua.  I think this is the 3rd time we’ve eaten at D’Acqua, and I’ve enjoyed it on each visit.  This time we went with Matt’s uncle who happened to be in town.  On Tuesdays they generally get in a fresh fish shipment and I took advantage, splitting a white fish (sorry, forgot the name!) prepared tableside with Matt’s uncle.

While waiting for Matt’s uncle, I perused the wine list and took the liberty of ordering the wine. A cold biting day in DC, a big red wine struck me as perfect, and I wanted a Barolo.  The ones on the menu gave me a bit of sticker shock, so I asked the waiter who had another Barolo in the back that wasn’t on the list. Score! We ended up with the 2004 Monte Degli Angeli Barolo. The price at the restaurant was $64…looks like you can find it online for between $24-$30…so ouch, that’s kind of a big mark up. It clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I found mushroom, earth, leather, cherry, strawberry, flowers, roses, and truffles.  Quite an inviting and promising nose. In the mouth I got flavors of strawberries, raspberries, earth, cherries, leather, and some more black cherries.  I found it to have great acidity and structure, showing lots of tart fruit and tannins on the back palate.  For $24, this is a steal. Drink up!

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