Every time I plan to open a bottle of Barolo, I have high expectations: the complexity of flavours, the elegance, the length of the finish. Yet it is probably the moodiest and most volatile grape of all. Variations between producers and between years are mind-boggling and difficult to predict.
Tonight I went for a 1997 Pio Cesare Barolo. This had to be a sure bet. I knew the producer who comes up with a good wine in most years, as his plantings are larger than most, and 1997 was a stellar vintage. I decant the wine, the aroma is fine.
My god! Much of the fruit flavour is gone. It is high time to drink this wine. This is bizarre, because most Barolos last 20+ years and this vintage produced wines with deep fruit concentration. I am puzzled. The wine still has complexity with savoury flavours dominating, but its strength and power is gone. What a shame!