Posted 28 June 2015

This column was first published as Cheers in Living magazine in The Herald on Sunday, Auckland, New Zealand, 28 June 2015.

Feel the big reds

Two tastings, one night, France or Italy?
Burgundy or Barolo? Second mortgage or half your right arm?
Half an arm is not as far fetched as it sounds. Barolo is a bit of an insider’s red and made in north west Italy from the nebbiolo grape, which is so highly prized that thieves of it had their hands chopped off a few hundred years back. These days, it just feels like it costs that much.  Like Burgundy, Barolo is code for ‘second mortage’ or telling your partner that those bottles you just squirelled away into the downstairs cupboard were ‘not much pricier than usual’. And since Barolo is in even shorter supply than Burgundy (and lured by the promise of home made ciabatta) we headed to Paul Sharp’s Auckland pad to try some. Barolo is a town and the wine made from it in Piemonte; whose name means foot of the mountains. This region is surrounded by 550 kilometres of snowy peaks, which act like a giant air conditioner to the high priced real estate that blankets the rolling foothills where the towns of Barolo and Barbaresco are. Aucklander Paul Sharp has just begun to import wines from there into New Zealand, and my picks so far are:
2010 Cantina del Pinot Barbaresco, $55; tastes like delicate red fruit (cranberries and cherries) with massive dark savoury dried herb flavours.
2006 Castello di Verduno Barolo; classic staunch big smooth tannins and surprising floral aromas.

The wines are available at Accent on Wine in Parnell or find out more at: wineconsultant.co.nz/