It's B (Barolo) and B (Barbaresco) time

Here is its the last week in August, the beginning of the end of summer. The backyard birch tree is shedding its leaves and the dogwood is signalng a color change that makes me realize I’m a year older too.
Depressed? Not really.
I arrived home from Saratoga to find the September issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine on my desk. The lead headline gave me a new thrill after watching my horses fade in the stretch: “140 reviews of 2009 Barbaresco and 2008 Barolo.”
Ah, Italian wines. Just the thought of them takes me back to my childhood growing up in Providence where la famiglia bought grapes at the open-air market in the downtown and crushed them in the basement “wine cellar.” Uncle Frankie, who weighed over 300 pounds, had the best feet in the business for slamming juice out of the grape skins. He was also an experimenter. He’d mix and match the grapes just like the garigistas do today.
As for the wine, I guess it was OK. I was too young to drink it – except for a taste at Sunday dinner – but everyone seemed to enjoy it, judging from the laughter that ensued when Uncle Louie, reaching his two-glass limit, swooned and swayed to my parents’ bedroom and just plopped down for a nap.
Uncle Frankie died 45 years ago in the prime of his life. He was a big bear of a man with a big heart. If he had lived, he’d probably look a lot like Francis Ford Coppola, the director of one of the greatest movies ever made, The Godfather. Coppola is the owner of the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Napa Valley and producer of some very good wines. His picture is on the WE’s cover.
The magazine lists two Italian Barolos that are rated highly by the experts and sell for a moderate price. The big question is how to obtain a bottle or two of the precious grape. Elvio Cogno 2007 Cascina Nuova is rated 95 points and sells for $50. Made from the Nebbiolo grape, the reviews says this wine is “gorgeous, showing power, intensity and complexity “very long on the finish.” Vias Imports is the distributor.

The other is a 2008 Barolo from Beni di Batasiolo that costs $40 and is distributed by Boisset Family Estates. It is a 92-pointer. “It seduces with attracftive aromas and flavors of wild berry, ginger, cola and dried mint,” says the review. Wow.

The 2009 Barbaresco from the same winery sells for $36 and is rated 90 points by the WE staff. “This opens with a fresh, floral quality that recalls blue flower and pressed rose,” say the winetasting notes.There are many good Italian wines listed in this month’s issue in a price range that is worthy pursuing. I am going to my local dealer to see if we can track some down. You should too.