Everything You Need in a Barolo for $40

Overall the 2009 growing season over most of Europe was mainly hot and dry, leading to ripe, powerful reds and round, fruit driven whites. It’s generally assumed that the downside to such warm vintages is a loss of structure, through lower acids and softer tannins – not something most of us associate with grapes like nebbiolo. Yet luckily in Piedmont the proceeding winter and spring provided plenty of snowfall and rain, ultimately providing enough moisture in the soils and reservoirs to add balance to the warm and dry conditions that lead to optimum ripening of grapes across the board.

One of those producers that benefitted was Silvio Grasso, a favorite of ours thanks to his value-driven entry level Barolo. While we (and it seemed like most of our restaurant guests and customers here at the wine boutique) drank up the deliciousness of the 2008 vintage while it was still available, we weren’t sure 2009 would pick up where that previous vintage left off. Well we were wrong…it has completely surpassed expectations in a fleshier, bolder frame that still evokes everything we love about nebbiolo.

Grasso’s 2009 Barolo balances fruit and earth, with inviting aromas of dark fruits, flowers and tar. The ying and yang of richness and tannin extends it pleasure into a sizable finish that drinks well on its own or provides plenty of ammunition at the table. Turns out Wine Advocate agrees, awarding it 92 points and the following rave review:

“The 2009 Barolo shows the powerful side of the vintage with a brooding, dark color and lively aromas of cassis, forest fruit, anise, fennel, licorice and tar. A dark, inky appearance is followed by smooth richness and long lasting flavors of black fruit and spice.”

We’ve got this wine at the boutique for $39.99 and on our restaurant’s current wine list as well. It’s just a superb Barolo at a price unbeaten by most.

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