MCF Rare Wine
A 'New' Gem of Traditional Barolo: Ferdinando Principiano
Welcome to the '20s, and Happy New Year to you all!
There's so much great Barolo available these days that, I'll admit, it's often tempting to think that, given the esteem of the place, all of the good stuff has been discovered already...
...and then I taste a set of wines like today's from Fernando Principiano, and I quickly remember how silly a notion that is.
Plus, I always feel like I'm not doing right by you if I don't continue to look for new and exciting things.
I should point out that 'new' in this context means 'new to me' and, to a lesser extent, 'new to the Barolo conversation'. This is by no means a 'new' producer...in fact, it's more accurate to call it a 'historic' estate from a Barolo perspective, but they've largely flown under the radar here in the states.
And, by 'exciting', I mean I'm really excited about these...in case you were wondering...
Principiano has been working within the guidelines of the natural wine philosophy since 2003, but these certainly aren't fun/funky 'glou glou' - this is textbook, classic Barolo made in a supremely elegant style...especially the baseline Barolo, which is as perfumed/flowery of a young Barolo as I can recall having...and it's from the 'hot' and 'dense' 2015 vintage.
(...as anyone who's tasted a lot of 2015s will tell you, most of them aren't nearly as 'hot' and 'dense' as the consensus floating around the ether will inform you...but that's another matter...)
This is a beguilingly focused and aromatic Barolo, and is one of the more unique expressions of this most famous of appellations that you'll find. The word 'cool' certainly comes to mind...in the 'light/fragrant/energetic' sense of the word, but this is definitely also a 'man, that's cool!' wine, as well.
The value here is off the charts, too - the $53 price tag (10% off a case) is a deal on wheels in my book.
Oh, and the best part is that I don't even have to implore you to take my word about how well Principiano's wines will age, either...
...because there are older bottles available as well...so lucky us...
The Barolo Boscareto, one of Fernandino's two single-vineyard wines, comes from a site in Serralunga that's rich in both limestone and clay, and displays the structure and muscle you'd expect from such a home. Here we have it available in two vintages, the classic, highly-aromatic 2008 and the rich, broad and muscular 2006.
Both of these wines are stunning already, and are showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The 2008 is the personification of 'less is more' or, maybe even better, 'expression through restraint', as the solidly mid-weight mouthfeel (in the spectrum of Barolo, that is) and hyper-fragrant, dark-fruited profile is focused, delineated and very mineral. Even though it doesn't shout, there's all kinds of engaging nuance sneaking around inside.
The 2006, on the other hand, shows more of the Barolo 'power', in the traditionalist (i.e. non-modern) sense, of course. Here, you're getting the rosy, tarry-ness you expect from a maturing bottle of old-school Barolo, but it's just reaching its stride. The rather expressive profile gets progressively firmer towards the finish. There are elements of it that remind me of catching a white label Giacosa Barolo on its way up.
(Big words, I know, but that was really the first thing I thought when I tasted it...)
There's no good reason I can think of that these wines shouldn't be on the short list of every old-school Barolo collector...and, by extension, allocated and hard-to-get.
As of right now, though, they aren't...so, again...lucky us!
(as in, 'we're really lucky to have these', that is)
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MCF Rare Wine, Ltd
249 West 13th Street NYC 10011