Sunday, July 24, 2011

1998 Gaja Barbaresco

     While I generally think of Nebbiolo wines as something to drink in the winter, I decided to break my "rule" the other night and opened a bottle of 1998 Gaja Barbaresco on a hot, Houston summer evening. My husband's birthday is at the end of the month and we tend to celebrate for a good portion of July. He wanted a dry-aged rib-eye steak that we had seen at Whole Foods for dinner. This is why I try to keep him out of the grocery store, as this is not what I would typically pick on a hot Thursday night, but it is not my month we are celebrating.
     The label looked a little aged and the cork broke in half when I was opening it, I was hoping that I had not held this one too long. I decided to decant it although that proved unnecessary as most of the sediment was all stuck to the side of the bottle that it had laid on.
     In the glass, it was an opaque brick red with an orange rim. It had a medium+ intense bouquet of violets, leather, ripe red cherries and fennel. It was well-structured with a full body, high acidity, a comfortable 14% abv and thoroughly integrated smooth tannins. Complex flavors evolved through dinner- cherry and raspberry, smoke, tar, earthy truffles and a long, lightly spicy licorice finish.
     Absolutely fantastic- an outstanding, perfectly aged wine!
     The rib-eyes were just rubbed in butter and sprinkled with coarse-ground salt and pepper and were served with grilled vegetables marinated in EVOO infused with fresh rosemary and scalloped potatoes with Fontina and Parmesan cheese with white truffle oil. A ridiculous amount of beef but we somehow managed to finish them :)