A rather hedonistic wine review this time. At 20.600 OMR the Feyles Barbaresco Riserva 1997 is by no means cheap. But as true wine lovers we were very happy to see this wine on the shelves of African & Eastern. Why? Well, it is always fun to try a wine with some age on it, and this could just be in its perfect drinking window.
Wines from Barbaresco (a small village near Barolo in the Italian Piedmont area) are made from the Nebbiolo grape. This grape variety shares some characteristics with Pinot Noir, mainly its lack of colour and earthy flavours. Good nebbiolo wines have an impressive ageing capability, and can be very tannic and hard when young. Feyles is a small, but well regarded producer, that makes wines meant to age for a long time. The wines are very classic in character: not fruit driven, but with lots of secondary notes and strong tannins. They are best enjoyed with food.
So how is this particular wine? It looks deep rusty brown/red, and is initially quite funky on the nose. But this blows off quickly. Lots of earthy aromas, porcini, and fresh forest ground, as well as coffee and some forest fruit. This is a dense and concentrated wine. Lovely dried blueberries, some balsamic and currant notes, again earthy, and a long, spicy, tannic finish. On initial taste (without food) it came across as a bit old, but the combination with food really lifted the wine up a great deal. It juvenated it, and made it more complete and complex. Lovely wine: enjoy with a very good meal. And at 12 years of age, this is perfect for drinking now.
So, if you have a special occasion, or if you need a good excuse to finish your monthly liquor budget, head over to African & Eastern and buy this wine. It's a great wine and certainly worth its money.