Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bricco Asili Barbaresco Bernardot 2001 – A perfect wine for a savory meal

Bricco Asili Barbaresco Bernardot 2001, owned by the Ceretto group, is a great wine. To understand why this wine is perfect for wild game, strong aged cheeses and savory red meats I want to take you through our experience. Bricco Asili Bernardot is a new wine for us although we were fairly confident that it would be a good choice because it is part of the Ceretto family and a Barbaresco which is one of our favorite wines.

Rarely do we wait for a red wine to decant properly before tasting it and this time was no different. About 5 minutes after popping the cork both Raffaella and I had a half glass in hand. We sniffed and sipped. Immediately we picked up a taste of mature fruit, probably dried prunes, and a bit of tannins. This wine needed to breathe.

We set the glasses aside and chatted about the preparation of the Pheasant. About ½ hour later, as Raffaella began cooking dinner, we sipped a bit more on our half-filled glasses. The mature fruit taste had become dried flowers. We thought and the first thing that came to mind was Chamomile, rather pronounced but not dominating. The tannins had subsided a bit and an aftertaste of citrus became evident. At this point we were somewhat concerned about our choice of wine for dinner and in unison commented that the Ceretto Monsordo we had a few night earlier was a better wine.

Raffaella placed the Pheasant on the table and we sat down to dinner. I filled both our glasses. The Pheasant was lovely, savory, not dry and the sauce was a delicate balance to the wild fowl. Another sip of wine, I thought, “wow the wine is good.”

I looked at Raffaella and could see that she was thinking the same as she quickly took another sip as if to confirm what her mouth was telling her. Another bite, another sip of wine and our discussion about the wine swung into full force. The Pheasant was marvelous but we were complete taken by the transformation of this wine. Each sip completely cleaned the palate, accentuating the flavor of the Pheasant as if each bite were the first. By this time we were both in agreement that the Monsordo would not have been a good match for the wild fowl and how wrong we had been with our initial considerations of this wine.

By the time we had finished dinner the wine had mellowed considerably. A slight hint of tannins and while the Chamomile was still the primary flavor it no longer was as evident. Interestingly as we continued to sip our wine after dinner, each sip brought back the sensations of the Pheasant and the Bay leaves. It was as if our dinner continued, without the calories or the sensation of eating too much.

Our experience is a testimony to the importance of choosing the right wine to accompany dinner. I would not offer this wine for before dinner drinks but this is a great wine, perfect for a hearty or savory meal.

Grape: Nebbiolo.

Color: A brilliant ruby color, with orange highlights in the fingernails

Bouquet: Rich and complex, ripe fruit and liquorices, balsamic and a finish of delicate oak.

Flavor: Earthy, tending toward dried flowers with a hint of Chamomile.

Alcohol Content: 14 %

Serving Temperature: 18-20 c.

Decanting: 1 hour.

Pouring: No special conditions.

Glass: use a clear wide bellied, deep, stemmed glass. This will allow the wine to continue to breath and will release its aroma as you move the glass toward your mouth. This will allow the wine to continue to decant.


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