Rare vintages tasted at Vail’s Wine University | VailDaily.com

Rare vintages tasted at Vail’s Wine University

Vail Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado –The tiny, medieval hamlet of Barolo, Italy, has been producing wine since the 1700s. Set in the Langhe region in the Cannubi Valley, Barolo is in the heart of Italy’s Piedmont. The town is surrounded by vineyards growing nebbiolo, the primary grape of the wine that bears the Barolo name.

For centuries, Barolo has been known as the “King of Wines” and “The Wine of Kings.” In more modern times, it has been referred to as the Burgundy of Italy. Barolo’s nebbiolo grape has similar qualities to France’s pinot noir of Burgundy and Italy, too, has strict rules on growing and labeling within its wine regions. For example, most Barolos appear on the market four years after the harvest, after spending three years aging in oak in accordance with Italy’s Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita regulations.

One of the first winemakers in the region was the family of Borgogno, who began producing in 1761. The winery has passed through the family for generations, keeping the traditional methods and style and ultimately producing wines of exceptional character. This company is famous for cellaring their wines for many years before releasing them for sale, allowing the flavor to mellow and the tannins to soften.

At Larkspur’s Wine University this week, wine director Kevin Furtado will open five of the Borgogno Barolos from the restaurant’s collection.

“In a vertical tasting, different vintages of the same wine type from the same winery are tasted,” Furtado said. “This emphasizes differences between various vintages. We have some very rare vintages and I will open the ’61, ’67, ’74, ’82 and ’96 for tasting and comparison.”

Furtado said he notices similarities between Burgundy and Barolo.

“I love pinot noirs, and taste many characteristics in nebbiolo that remind me of soft burgundies,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to learn about an Italian wine that might have been intimidating. These Barolos are exceptional wines that will last forever.”

Strong in structure and rich in flavor, Barolos are an excellent pairing with braised meats, especially beef and game. Furtado and Larkspur chef Armando Navarro also recommend drinking Barolos with any dish that is accented by truffles. “

Truffles are native to the Alba region of Italy close to Piedmont,” Navarro said. “Grapes grown in the same region with another fruit or vegetable will always make complimentary wines for those foods.”

What: Larkspur’s Wine University

Where: Larkspur, Vail

When: Thursday, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $60 per person

More information: 970-754-8050, http://www.larkspurvail.com

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