PIGS will fly this weekend
Today's edition of The 30 Second Wine Advisor is coming to you a little early today, and it's going to be brief, as I'm out of here on a flight to the Detroit area early tomorrow for one of my favorite wine-related events.
I'm talking about "MoCool," mentioned briefly in the footnotes of Monday's edition. This non-commercial, informal gathering of Internet-surfing wine lovers takes place toward the end of every summer in and around Ann Arbor, the pretty little city to the west of Detroit that's home to the University of Michigan and a large collection of 'net-wired "wine geeks."
I shaved a year off the event's chronology in Monday's comments - this is actually the 14th annual outing of an event that goes back to the roots of wine talk on computers and actually pre-dates the Web: The early events brought together participants on the wine forums of the old Prodigy and CompuServe computer services.
Every year's event is loosely focused on a wine-related theme that sets the tone for the foods and wines of the weekend. This year it's "PIGS," whose initials cover the wines of Portugal, Italy, Germany (plus Greece) and Spain. The agenda has been pared back a bit from past years - MoCool had evolved into a three-day or even four-day extravaganza of wine-related dinners, brunches, luncheons, seminars and tastings that had become challenging for an ad hoc team of volunteers to organize.
So this year it's "back to roots," as it was in the early years, with only one formal event, a Saturday afternoon and evening picnic with foods and wines reflecting the nations whose names collectively spell "PIGS." Thus, "PIGS will fly," the joyous shout of some 100 wine enthusiasts who'll be there, bringing wines to share. Many participants will also gather informally for dinners and tastings before and after the main event.
I'll be reporting from the scene with photos and tasting notes. If you would like to follow along, check in periodically at our MoCool Home Page,
Registration is closed at this late date, but if you live in or plan to be in the Ann Arbor area this weekend and are aching to join in (registration is $40 a person, a non-profit charge calculated to recover costs of the picnic and food), contact me by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll see if we can persuade the organizers to set another place or two at the table.
Now, with a bow to the "I" letter in the "PIGS" acronym, let's share a tasting report on a first-rate Northern Italian wine we tried the other day. A "Langhe" geographical wine from the Piemonte region, made by the Barbaresco producers cooperative, it's an all-Nebbiolo red that offers more than just a hint of Barbaresco style without a Barbaresco price.
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Produttori del Barbaresco 2000 Langhe Nebbiolo ($15.99)
Clear garnet in color, not overly dark. Pleasant and complex aromas rise from the glass, dark fruit with subtle floral and herbal notes, an attractive blend of violets in a grassy lawn after a rain. (No, I couldn't make this stuff up.) Ripe fruit flavors, forward and tart, black plums and lemony acidity, nicely balanced, clean and consistent in a long finish. U.S. importer: VIAS Imports Ltd., NYC. (Aug. 22, 2004)
FOOD MATCH: It went very well indeed with a butterflied and charcoal-grilled free-range chicken; also a natural with rare red meat or even game.
VALUE: No, it's not really a Barbaresco. But it offers a lot of Nebbiolo character and charm in an open and accessible wine at a price that's more than competitive.
WHEN TO DRINK: Drinking now and probably not as long-term ageworthy as serious Barbaresco or Barolo; tannins are subtle at most. But its fullness, power and balance, and its Nebbiolo-based construction, suggest that five years or more in the cellar wouldn't see it go over the hill.
WEB LINK: This is the U.S. importer's page on Produttori del Barbaresco, with links to the various wines:
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: Research Produttori del Barbaresco on Wine-Searcher.com:
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Friday, Aug. 27, 2004