Vinous Table: Barolo Masterclass at Scalini Fedeli
“This recent private dinner at Scalini Fedeli hosted for a small group of wine lovers provided a fabulous opportunity to delve into the wines of four reference point Barolo estates and enjoy the cuisine of one of New York City’s most highly regarded Italian restaurants.
“Located in New York City’s Tribeca, Scalini Fedeli has a distinctive Old World feel that sets it apart from many of its peers. Executive Chef Michael Cetrulo presents an Italian-inspired menu with a few twists. The penne with Italian sausage and wild mushrooms in a tomato basil sauce and seared and roasted pork chop with vodka-mascarpone sauce and truffle butter potato purée were two of the highlights on this night, although most of the focus was on the wines. And what wines they were.
“For this tasting, I chose four producers whose Barolos encompass a wide range of styles. The flights were a combination of younger wines that are still possible to source with a few older vintages sprinkled in for added perspective on how Barolos develop over time. It’s hard to know where to start with a tasting such as this one because the producers, wines and vintages essentially represent a string of top hits over the last two decades or so. With the exception of a less than stellar bottle or two, the wines were fabulous. Moreover, it was a great deal of fun to spend a few hours with this collection of fine Barolos and a group of people who deeply appreciate them.
Flight 1 – Elvio Cogno
“A flight of Barolos from Elvio Cogno kicks off the evening. I have been following this small estate in the Ravera district for some time. The wines have never been better than they are today. Family patriarch Elvio Cogno passed away earlier this year, but the wines have really been the work of Walter Fissore and his wife, Nadia Cogno, for as long as I can remember.
“The 2010 Barolo Bricco Pernice makes for a luxurious start to the evening’s proceedings. Just as striking in its aromatics and precise as it has always been, the 2010 is utterly magnificent. The flavors are bright and finely sculpted in a Barolo that captures the pure pedigree of this great vintage. The 2008 Barolo Ravera seems to be putting on weight in bottle. Dark, pliant and powerful, the 2008 is also going through a period of dormancy, so it is best left alone for at least a few more years.
“Cogno’s 2005 Barolo Ravera is impressive. Complex and deep, the 2005 hits all the right notes, with expressive tobacco, spice and leather nuances that wrap around a core of intense, vibrant fruit. This is a strong showing in a vintage that continues to surprise. The 2004 Barolo Ravera comes across as a bit burly in this setting, with more of an earthy character than I recall seeing previously. I suspect this is not a perfect bottle…”