This week, I’m struggling about the wine I am about to recommend, not because I don’t like it, or I’m on the fence about it. Au contraire mon frère, I’m a big fan of this wine. My struggles are for much more selfish reasons: if I tell you about it, there will be less for me!
So after much debate and a few phone calls, I have managed to secure me the right amount of bottles for my enjoyment – now it’s time to let you in on the secret. My recommendation this week is a grape you’ve probably never heard of from a country you have: Ragali La Lus 2008 Albarossa ($24.95 – #291575). Albarossa is the grape and it is a cross between the two most important grapes of the Piedmont region of Italy: Nebbiolo and Barbera.
The famed Nebbiolo grape is THE grape in Barolo wines, while Barbera is the workhorse that gives us fresh and fruity wines from the region. The result is a grape that has the fruity aspects of one and the acidity needed to be with food from the other. Albarossa means “red dawn” – and because there is such an interest in this new grape, it’s the dawning of a new era for Piedmontese winemakers. A decade ago, there was only one hectare planted; today there are between 50 and 60 hectares and they are well on their way to 100 hectares or more. I have had several tastings of this wine over the past eight months and each time I try it, I am convinced that the more people who try this wine, the more they’ll love it. My last tasting was on Monday at the ICE tasting (Pronounced Eee – Che, as in Guevara, the Italian Trade Commission event held at Roy Thompson Hall) and that’s what convinced me to pass the message on to you (even at the risk of less for me).
My first tasting was six months ago. At that time, I found the wine to be deep and rich with cherry and cranberry notes on the nose and cherry, strawberry and spiced oak on the palate, and it had great acidity with a long finish; a non-aggressive wine with plenty of fruit… juicy and delicious. Five months later, I tried it again, and it was even better the second time. I wrote on my blog: “A wonderfully fruity wine that’s juicy and incredibly tasty. Red and black berries with nice spice and a red licorice finish.” The wine had evolved and I expect to continue to do so for a few years. Now it’s your turn to try this amazing wine, get your hands on a few bottles and enjoy it over the holidays or, better yet, lie it down for a few years and watch it evolve (consuming a bottle every year, of course).
Ragali La Lus 2008 Albarossa – $24.95, #291575 (Rating: 4+ stars out of 5 – very good plus)