When I looked for something hedonistic last night, I came across this 2000 Elio Altare Barolo Brunate. I am putting a picture on (it is only 'blackberry' quality), as there won't be many bottles of this wine in Australia . Now, going for Barolo is probably more serious than hedonistic, but anyway, I was looking forward to this special treat.
Altare is one of Piedmont's superstars. He is at the forefront of the 'modernists' who advocate shorter fermentation times, less oak and earlier drinkability.
The Brunate vineyard is perhaps the most famous in the whole district and shared by half a dozen producers (Burgundy-style). 2000 was an outstanding vintage. The wine scored 98 by Wine Spectator. So I am in for a treat. - Well, not quite.
The wine is based on cherry fruit, but it is very much in the background. The wine is very savoury, tasting of rose petals, tar, spice and earth. It is mouth pluckingly dry. The strong points are a tremendous structure, a huge mouthfeel and tasting of one complex flavour, rather than an agglomeration, and a wine that lasts and lasts in your mouth. On the other hand: the long finish is based on fairly coarse tannins and acidity and I would have expected more fruit. Barolo takes some getting used to, but I like this grape and have drunk it from time to time over the years. There is definitely better. But: a different experience. The wine will mellow with time.