MCF Rare Wine
Cordero di Montezemolo
You know, I was just thinking - if you have a child, grandchild, niece/nephew, godchild, etc. that you plan to buy birth year wine for that was born in 2016, they were pretty lucky.
I mean, just look at it...it was a benchmark vintage all over the place - Bordeaux, Southern Rhône, Beaujolais, even the Burgundies are solid.
And that's just France...
Napa Valley, Spain and, of course, Tuscany and Piedmont...
I honestly think you can make the case that it's the best all-around 'Wine Birth Year' maybe ever.
I mean, yeah, their pre-K years are being upended by a pandemic, but they're gonna have some pretty amazing 21st Birthday bottles!
(Please note, as a parent of elementary school kids, I certainly don't take that issue lightly, but I intended to use a bit of humor to soothe, if only momentarily, the anxiety that online learning causes us...lest you think otherwise...)
...back to 2016, and its super-hot Barolo releases, for a producer who I haven't newslettered in a while, Cordero di Montezemolo.
While I certainly wouldn't put them in the 'traditional' camp in terms of winemaking, to say they have a long tradition in the region would be a bit of an understatement.
The Cordero di Montezemolo name is basically royalty in Piedmont, besides the storied aristocracy and the generations at the heights of prominence in the Italian military and international business, they've also got over 600 years of wine production on their résumé, producing the 'Wine of Kings' for, well...Kings, since 1340.
Their wines are weighty, smooth and delightfully 'Barolo' in nature, showcasing a very pure, supple, red-fruit expression of Nebbiolo wrapped around some rather muscular, if deceptively polished, tannins.
I've always thought of their wines as redder, slightly friendlier and significantly cheaper versions of what Aldo Conterno's wines were like in their heyday.
By that I mean that, while they definitely aren't styled after the oldest of the old school, they also aren't oaked/extracted so aggressively that the Barolo-ness becomes hard to pin down.
This kind of 'straddling-the-line' expression gives them, like Aldo's wines, a remarkably long window of drinkability - they're absolutely approachable young, and they age gracefully, too, getting more elegant and nuanced as they go.
If you or someone you know is looking to get in on this whole Barolo thing, these are a perfect place to start.
I've been selling their wines since I opened my shop, but these two 2016s - the Barolo Bricco Gattera and Barolo Enrico VI - are easily the best Montezemolo I've tasted.
(Sure, I've had some really old ones in the past, but they did things very differently back then...)
The Gattera is the rounder, sexier of the two, with supple red fruit and floral richness that makes it really delicious right now. Don't let the forwardness fool you, though. Inside all of that delightfully pure Nebbiolo fruit is a solid frame that's built to stand tall for years.
The Enrico VI, showing its roots from the Villero Cru, is chiseled, fragrant and incredibly focused. Its bright, nimble profile hangs deftly from the refined, yet tightly coiled frame of tannins.
Again, it's enjoyable now...but will only get better.
These kids and their lucky birth years...
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MCF Rare Wine, Ltd
249 West 13th Street NYC 10011