2005 Marchesi Di Barolo Barolo

Wine Review: 2005 Marchesi Di Barolo Barolo

Barolo is a tricky wine for me. The acidity makes a perfect match for food, but the tannin means you have to be careful exactly what you pair it with or else you run the risk of terrible clashes. If you aren't familiar, it hails from the Piedmont region of Italy and is made from the very noble Nebbiolo grape. High in both tannin and acid, old school Barolos were aged in neutral Slovenian Oak casks and weren't ready to drink for many, many years. Today, modern winemaking has influenced the region to make wines more approachable when young, but still very powerful.

Tonight's wine was no exception. I generally think of good Barolo as similar to Pinot Noir but with much more aggressive tannin.  In fact, perfectly aged old school Barolo has much in common with aged Burgundy. Using more modern techniques, there is some tasty Barolo to be had, as long as you give it at least 5 years. In fact, the 2007 vintage was so lovely, many 2007s were ready to drink right away, even though they probably would benefit from more time to settle down.

The 2005 Marchesi Di Barolo Barolo is beautifully clear, brick red and just beginning to age, but at first sip, boy does the tannin cut through. The nose to me was red licorice (think twizzlers) with wood (which leads me to believe there is at least a little French oak in the mix) and some granite/dust/soil. I was surprised that, while I did detect a floral note in the nose, I did not detect, roses, tar, or violets, which are traditional for me with Barolo. Nevertheless, the assertive tannins are nicely balanced with both fruit and acid. A real pleasure to drink. And while I paired it with my pasta carbonara tonight, I didn't actually enjoy the wine with the food. Instead, I savored my first glass, ate my pasta, then enjoyed my last glass and a half (splitting the bottle with my hubby who enjoyed the wine every bit as much as me). Wine Spectator rated this wine as 91 pts, and while I might not go that high, it was an extremely enjoyable bottle that I would happily purchase again.

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