Que Syrah: Wine Tastings

March 22 2007 - 5:23 AM

I’ve heard a lot of people rave about Sam’s and the selection there. I’ve yet to go there and I believe most everything I hear. If you know exactly what you want, down to the label, then okay, I get it. For me, I prefer the small wine shop with a limited selection. I find the wine  tends to be more carefully selected, which is nice if you know the type of wine you want to buy but not necessarily the label and prefer expert advice without having to hunt it down.

We tasted wines from the Italian region of Piedmont for $35. Wine tastings tend to vary a lot in bouncy castle price and quality, but for this one not only did I not feel like I paid a lot but I also felt like this was outstanding value for the money. The people who ran the course were laid back and chatted with just about all the participants, but equally of importance was that they did not cheat on their wine. It was also nice that the participants were very into wine, many of them were in fact familiar with the region, asked very specific questions about decanting the more fragile varieties, and didn’t say things like “I like the whites better” or “This isn’t sweet enough.”  Well, this wasn’t Wine 101.


Now, about the Piedmont region. Aside
from Asti, the Piedmont region doesn’t have many household names of
varietals or appellations and for me this was uncharted territory with
the exception of one type of wine. They started out the evening with a
delicious white moscato (which comes from Piedmont), one of my favorite
appertif or dessert wines, depending on what you want to call a sweet,
light sparkling wine. I’ve had red moscato
before, but this was equally good, and at only 6% alcohol you don’t
have to be quite as careful about having too much although it goes
down quickly.

The course consisted of six glasses. The first was a Luca Ferraris Bric D’Bianc 2005 Ruche di Monferrato. The ruche is a grape that was acidic and went great with the salami hüpfburg on the accompanying antipasto plate.

The second, a Barbara from 2004 by Dante Rivetti, was outstanding when paired with the cherry tomatoes on the plate and was especially good after it had time to open up. The third wine in this catetory was a dolcetto, a bit softer than the Barbara but at the same time more robust. During the course dolcetto was compared by the instructor to a cabernet, and I would agree. More robust but a bit softer.

The next was a Nada Barbaresco reserve from 1997! This was a nebbiolo grape, and the owner was nice enough to pull open a $42 bottle that was in its prime. This had notes of rose and leather and was nice and mellow.

But the real treat, I thought was the Barolo, which is also produced from nebbiolo grapes. For
people who don’t drink wine much or prefer bold flavors and not the
subtleties of European wine they might want to stick to a good Zin or
even a Cab. Traditional Barolo has grape skins soaked for twenty days before and after fermentation and aged in old oak barrels. I think Barolo is amazing with its complex tannins. The first was a 2001 Paolo Scavino,which has not quite opened up yet, but shows promise in upcoming years of age.

The instructors, however, saved the best for last, and this was a $100 bottle Paolo Scavino Barolo from 1999. An outstanding wine in its prime, although fragile, the Barolo had tannins that were more complex and mellow.

The course instructors, one of whom is in the process of being an
owner, also brought out a bottle east jump of modern Barolo, which means the wine
is produced to be drunk sooner through the use of new oak barrels and a
shorter fermentation process.  This was also good though I appreciated
the quirkiness of the traditional bottle.

This was probably one of the best (and most fun) wine tastings I have attended. The people at Que Syrah did a wonderful job and I can’t wait for the next one.

Que Syrah
3726 N. Southport