A Vindaloo Summer

So this is what an ‘Indian Summer’ is in America! Vindaloo on steroids! Personally I hate it – 3 shirt changes per day, constantly sweaty, walking in and out of air-conditioning and my hair? God, what a mess. Only thing I look forward to is a very sensible, English sized glass of wine – we call them pints over there. So I’ve been drinking a lot. And the more wine I ‘sip’ the less inclined I am to either go outside or remember how piss awful it is outside. There’s a moral there somewhere.

As for wine…I got in some of the awesome G.B. Burlotto wines this week. I know I’ve written about these wines before, probably every vintage, but until you have tasted them you really don’t know what Piedmont can do for you. Fabio Alessandria – the newest generation to be making the wines (great-great grandson of GB), follows in the rare footsteps of his G-G-Grandfather and makes ethereal wines. Because the allocation of these wines is so ridiculously miniscule I had to offer the 2011 vintage Barolos to those that had bought before (and even then, I know I missed some people). However, my relationship with Fabio and his importer, Filippo Pistone, also meant that I broadened my horizons this year and after tasting his exquisite Pelaverga, Langhe Nebbiolo and Langhe Sauvignon Blanc I brought those wines into the store too.

Pelaverga is a grape that was almost extinct 30 years ago. A handful of Piedmontese wine makers colluded to grow the grapes on some of their lower Barolo slopes and turn water into wine. In the 1960s they purposefully gave the wines to friends, enemies and family. In the 70’s they may have used a little to blend into some wines, but by the 80’s they began to see greater and greater demand. 30 years on and Burlotto’s Pelaverga is an allocated wine! Think of it as a very young Nebbiolo. It has a unique floral aroma that stretches from un-ripened cherry to rosemary and thyme. With a slight chill on the bottle it is the quintessential ‘table wine’. I have drunk it with salmon, with a shrimp cocktail, and tonight I shall drink it with a beef Stroganoff. I will probably keep drinking it whilst we continue to have a Vindaloo Summer! It is a beautiful, light, round, buxom wine – not anorexic but not obese. And for $24.00 per bottle it knocks the socks off most Californian Pinot Noirs price at 3 times that much (I had another one of those wines today – retails at $80 and it was like a glass of undiluted Ribena! Yuk) (google Ribena).

Burlotto’s Langhe Nebbiolo is the genie in the bottle. You have some friends coming over for dinner. They are quasi into their wines – more wine porn than actual Oscar quality. But you sort of want them to have something that they can go home and boast about. Enter Langhe Nebbiolo from Burlotto. It’s baby Barolo. It’s totally quaffable, totally delicious, totally in-tune with whatever you put on the table and it absolutely looks the part. I remember during a lengthy morning tasting Fabio leaned over his oak desk and imparted the following words of wisdom (adapted for memory loss): I make wine that makes you want to continue drinking after the first sip. I love those words! This is a wine that can be happily consumed all at once.

Burlotto isn’t known abroad for his white wines, but Piedmont does grow some excellent white grapes and with this northern geographic and high altitude Fabio’s Sauvignon Blanc – Viridis is an amazing point of reference for the varietal. If you like Sancerre you’ll love this wine. The aroma is soft gooseberry and sweaty hay with a hint of crushed strawberry. On the palate the lovely, slightly sour, flavors of gooseberry shine through, along with wet grass and kumquat. This is a savory, sipping sauvignon blanc that will take you to the Alps and beyond. Like all Fabio’s wines it is a food wine – pair it with fish, pair it with Asian food and above all, drown your Vindaloo summer with it!

As ever, these wines are highly sought after. I have a few cases of each and a very few bottles of his 2011 Barolos – Monvigliero, Cannubi, Aclivi and Classic. The prices for the above mentioned three are:

Langhe Nebbiolo: $30.00

Pelaverga: $24.00

Viridis Sauvignon Blanc: $23.00

If you want some I would hurry – remember 10% discount on a case, mixed or straight.

Other news from #4 – if you are inclined to visit our new web site you will find an exciting new feature. It’s not quite live yet but we plan to be later this month – free local delivery of wines bought off our new web site shopping basket – visit the site at www.wineatfive.com and take a look. Any feedback of the site will be very welcome.

Buy some Burlotto wines and have an even better weekend!

Stay cool, stay thirsty.