In a world of Yellow Tails, Little Penguins and 47 Pound Roosters, it's refreshing to find an enterprise that is more concerned with the wine in the bottle than the label on it. Acille Boroli recently paid a visit to Boise, representing his family's winery in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. Their understated labels avoid the hype, but still manage to catch your attention on the shelf, highlighting the family name and region of origin. And the wines themselves, while definitely showing the influence of New World technology and style, convey a sense of place too often missing in the homogenized offerings of many popular brands. Here are a few favorites from a recent tasting with Mr. Boroli.
2004 Modonna di Como Dolcetto D'Alba, $13.99
From the Cascia Bompe vineyard (Como, the Celtic god of feasts) this lovely Dolcetto offers lively fruit and floral aromas with violet, sweet cherry and ripe berry. The wine, fermented in stainless steel, sees no oak, resulting in a fresh, fruit forward style that strikes a nice balance between subtle tannins and crisp acidity. Charming for it's supple berry and cherry fruit flavors with a hint of almond on the finish, this wine would be perfect with pasta or poultry.
2003 Boroli Bricco 4 Fratelli Barbera D'Alba, $14.99
A deep, dark red with aromas of lush berry fruit, soft oak and vanilla. Wood aging has softened the tannins and added layers of toasty oak and vanilla to the raspberry and blackberry fruit flavors. Future labels will drop the "Bricco" in favor of "Quatro Fratelli" in reference to the four brothers of the Boroli winery.
1999 Boroli Barolo, $37.00
Made from the Nebbiolo grape, Barolo is the King of the Piedmont wines. The aromas are subtle and elegant, slowly building to reveal dark berry, leather, mushroom and tobacco, all wrapped in a subtle coat of light oak. The flavors similarly evolve with time in the glass, starting with plush berry and black cherry fruit, soft oak, ripe tannins, hints of chocolate, anise and cream. The finish is long and velvety with just the right splash of acidity. A very good buy on an intro level Barolo with some bottle age to it.