Wednesday 9 March 2011

A Nebbiolo encounter

There are only eleven villages in Piedmont making Barolo but they all have different identities. Some producers respect tradition and make Barolo the way it has been made for generations, resulting in bold and powerful wines with ageing potential. At the same time, there are producers now experimenting with modern techniques such as shorter maceration time and ageing in 100% new French barriques to make Barolo more approachable when released. And there are yet others in between who believe a combination of tradition and modernity is the way forward. Whatever the techniques, they all believe in one thing: it is the soil in which the Nebbiolo vines are grown that gives the backbone character of any Barolo.

Five Piedmont producers were in town recently to present their Barolos and Barbarescos, the king and queen of wines. Their wines represent the different styles from the traditional to the modern, with varying combinations of boldness, power, elegance and finesse, all different but equally perfect in their own right. Regardless of wine style, these winemakers have two things in common: they are passionate about their wines, and they are excited about Hong Kong.

The Barolo style may be more akin to Bordeaux but Davide, one of the winemakers, prefers to compare Barolo with Burgundy – both are from a single varietal, most are from small producers and terroir plays a major role. Barolo, source of the finest, long-lived Italian wine, only has a vineyard area totalling about 1% that of Bordeaux and 15% that of Burgundy. Will its scarcity drive up the price when investors (especially the Chinese) discover them?

Hong Kong distributors: Berry Bros & Rudd

Thursday 3 March 2011

Grüner Veltliner, Laurenz V, Austria

Different from the bone dry, highly acidic and austere traditional Grüner Veltliner, Laurenz V is softer and creamier with a floral note but still retains the essence of Grüner that appeals to many female and younger consumer. The secrets, according to Lenz Moser, the owner, are low yield in the vineyard, and yeast management in the cellar. Laurenz V only makes Grüner Veltliner: Sunny, Singing, Friendly, Silver Bullet and Charming, each of which has different characteristics and is expressive of the vineyards it came from.

Hong Kong distributor: Montrose