A combination of the extended holiday weekend and my approaching 39th birthday compelled me to dust off a wine in my collection given to me a number of years ago by Joe Fernicola at his wedding. It was a 1999 La Spinetta Barbaresco Vursu Vigneto Gallina, currently retailing at a staggering $141.00. While my interest in wine collecting in 2002-2003 was really non-existent, I was strongly encouraged to take good care of this bottle, as it would yield dividends after a minimum of 5-6 years of aging. So I did.
On July 7, 2008, my efforts to preserve this gem were put to the test. This wine was matched up with some good BBQ chicken and mushrooms. Sharing the occasion was a 2006 Colosi Sicilia Rosso Nero D'Avola provided by Dawson, priced at around $8.00. This wine had a nice medium-heavy body to it with an unbelievably pronounced strawberry and creamy vanilla nose. It had a very sweet, jammy, almost strawberry preserve kind of taste--a 'fruit bomb', to say the least. This wine was very enjoyable and for the price, it can be argued it 'brought the thunder'. The average Score for this wine was a 4.0.
Ok, so onto the La Spinetta. It had a rusty red coloring to it, and had a medium-heavy body. After a blast of alcohol to the nose, it calmed down very quickly, then presented a very leathery and cork aroma, with hints of earth and vegetal tones (Dawson even detected manure). The taste was an unmistakable bowl of unripened berries to me with very little, if at all, sweetness on the mid-palate when tasted. Despite the early concern of alcohol (14.5% reported on the bottle), it was very subtle and very smooth, medium tanins, and very dry, but not mouth-puckering. It had a tremendous length and was extremely well balanced. Dawson detected tobacco on the back end, and though the wine got a bit hot on the tail end, we were both very satisfied. Dawson rated this wine a 4.0. Having a personal interest in the upbringing of this wine and seeing it pay off huge dividends in the end, some bias did come through in my final rating of 5.0, thus giving this wine an average score of 4.5. Both Dawson and I thoroughly believe Anthony would have given this wine a HUGE seal of approval.