The Bernard Roth Archives
We happy that Bernard, who has sampled so many wines, has shared his notes with us. We do have, or have had for sale a few of the wines Bernard writes about, and we include a link to our stock page whenever it is a producer we carry (but since the stock page is kept up-to-date and the wines are sold, don't expect any but the newest of wines to show up in our stock!). Mostly though, since we specialize in County of Santa Barbara Wine and Central Coast Wine, we don't carry a lot of the wines Bernard writes about. But we think it is important that you be able to have an idea what they're like in case you are planning to buy some somewhere, or have them in your own collection. Enjoy.
Here are Bernard's notes from November 9, 2000:
Dinner for Braida's Winemaker, Raffaella Bologna
|To start, we enjoyed Braida’s 99 Vigna Senza Nome Moscato
d’Asti with smoked salmon napped with white truffle oil, caper berry
and chives. The Moscato showed light effervescence and a sweet spicy nose.
The flavors are very cider-like. Well done, polished version, very refreshing
with slight sweetness.
97 Il Bacialé, a blend of barbera and pinot nero, has medium light red violet color. Bright, crisp red-fruity, floral and slightly mushroomy nose. High acid, light red cherry fruit, some light oak, very low tannin and simple mid-palate. The finish drops rather quickly. Decent, Beaujolais-weight wine, but rather overpriced ($29) for what it delivers.
The Bacialé was overwhelmed by its food partner, a truly inspired dish of Squab Ravioli served over butternut squash puree, with a deeply flavorful veal demi-glace butter sauce, fried sage leaf and shaved truffles. Bravo to the chef.
Next came a good Osso Buco, again topped with generous shaved truffles, served with a mini-vertical of one of their single vineyard barberas:
96 Bricco del Uccellone, medium ruby in color, with black cherry, gun flint, saddle leather and some oak aromas. In the mouth, dry, dark plum, fairly tannic, cherry, oak. Good acid, complex mid-palate, minerals. Burgundian structure and mouthfeel. Needs 2-3 years still.
97 Bricco del Uccellone, medium dark color, with gamy, earthy bouquet that opens up gradually to reveal black cherry fruit. Less fleshy, more tannic than the 96. Cherry and plum fruit with iron/earth/minerals. Needs 4-5 years.
Note on the Uccellone: For those unfamiliar with the style, these are big (for barbera), structured wines unlike the sappy, fairly simple traditional examples that dominate the market. These wines will likely disappoint those in search of Parkerized fruit bombs, though RP has been a strong voice in support of what Giacomo Bologna had accomplished with his barberas. The price on these wines has gone up considerably in recent years. They could be found for under $30 six years ago, but now fetch upward of $50, rather steep for barbera. These are not your everyday red sauce wines.
Next came an assortment of Italian cheeses that matched well with:
97 Ai Suma—This is a single vineyard late harvest barbera, left to hang until the berries begin to dry, and only produced in years in which no rain interrupts the drying period. Medium dark purple. Liqueur-like, cassis, black raspberry nose. Very rich, suave, oaky. Black fruit, almost Amarone-like richness. Dry fruit character. Excellent with a long finish.
I inquired about their other single vineyard Barbera, the Bricco della Bigotta. They stopped exporting it to the US market after the 93 vintage, apparently to avoid confusing the consumer with too many different barberas.
Lunch wrapped up with a pear poached in Bracchetto, served with a few more shaves of truffle. The 99 Bracchetto d’Acqui is a delightful sparkling dessert wine at 5% alcohol. It is dark rose in color. Muted bouquet with slight yeastiness. Fresh, medium sweet in the mouth. Raspberry, strawberry, and blueberry flavors. Slight nuttiness in mid-palate. Bit of bitterness on finish that does not detract but adds to its sophisticated flavors. There’s enough complexity in this wine to avoid the soda-pop tendency that sweet sparklers often succumb to.
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