Some people would say that I have the best job in the world: people send me wine, I taste the wine, I write about the wine.
A lot of great wine has made it across my desk in 2013, but there were few bottles that thrilled my palate as much as the Barone Pizzini 2004 Franciacorta Riserva Bagnadore (note that the current vintage of this wine, not available yet in the U.S., is the 2006 Bagnadore Decimo Terzo).
This wine, sourced from the estate’s top growing site, Roccolo, is made from 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir, vinified partly in stainless steel and partly in barrique, and then aged in stainless steal and in barrique.
While its bubbles are lively and bright, you almost feel like your drinking a red wine when you taste this extraordinary expression of Franciacorta.
Not only is its mouthfeel intensely creamy, but its Pinot Noir character gives it a range of flavors — from fruit to savory — that few sparkling wines can achieve. This is due, I imagine, to the rich quality of the fruit as well as the fermentation in cask.
I doubt he’s ever tasted this wine but it was such a great example of a sparkling wine that needed air (and possibly more aging) to express itself fully in the glass. Looking back on the experience, I wish I would have decanted it (and I’m not a fan of decanting wine).
Its tannic structure was complemented by brilliant, nuanced white fruit and stone fruit. But it was the note of hazelnut, which gently pervaded the other flavors, that made the wine truly unforgettable on my palate and in my mind.
According to WineSearcher, the wine is not currently available for sale retail in the U.S. But that should change in 2014 when the current vintage begins to arrive here.
Wow, what a wine!