Pio Cesare Ornato Barolo 2001

I’m generally a Bordeaux girl (left bank, specifically), but I went to Tuscany recently and discovered some rather exciting wines there, courtesy of Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina.

I also had a very nice Barolo from Huntsworth Wine a while ago, which added to my enthusiasm for Italy. So when I discovered that Jeroboams in Holland Park was having a sale on all their Italian wines, I decided it was a sign from the universe and I went along to buy a Pio Cesare. 

Oh boy, it was good. Ironically, I felt like this Italian wine helped me to understand the French concept of terroir better than anything I’d tried so far: it tasted like Italy.

Drinking it, I could tell that it came from the same land as the excellent balsamic vinegar I’d picked up on my trip there. It had a similar flavour to the vinegar, in that it was fruity but not too sweet; just the right mixture of fruits, wood, smoke and something that almost tasted like tea?

The fruity flavour… I’m not going to describe this very well because I am, after all, not an actual wine reviewer… but it tasted kind of like jam. As if the fruits had been worked on, not just plonked into the bottle and then matured there, but like each fruit flavour (cherry, blackberry, a bit of blackcurrant) had been through some processing of its own, before being perfectly blended and then inserted into a bottle, via some wooden casks which gave it an extra layer of complexity.

Pio Cesare Ornato Barolo 2001 was also exactly the right level of dry for my palate: too far and I find it distracting; not dry enough and I feel it’s underdeveloped. This one, though: perfectly balanced. I liked it very much and I might have to go back and buy a few more bottles. I just hope their sale is still on.

Buy it from: Jeroboams

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