Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Vietti Barolo Dinner @ OTTO Ristorante





Barolo wines are derived from the Nebbiolo grape and produced in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. This is truly one of the world's best red wines and is an example of a wine that gets better and better with age.

Barolo is not cheap and definitely not everyone's entry-level, everyday drinking wine (At least not for me). Besides the high quality nose and palate, one main reason for its high price tag is that the Barolo is a wine that is difficult to make.

The Nebbiolo grape ripens slowly and is harvested late in the season. Traditionally, the fermentation process takes place for many weeks before the wine is aged in large Slavonian oak casks for a prescribed number of years. Even when the wine is finally released in bottles, it’s still not ready to drink. It can take many more years of cellaring for it to mature enough for the tannins to soften and the acidity to mellow.

However, modern Barolo makers have succeeded in reducing drastically the fermentation time from weeks to days by controlling the temperature of the grape juice using modern steel rotary fermenters. By using smaller oak barrels that result in higher surface area-to-volume ratio, the aging time is further reduced and you get to drink the wine sooner than later but not necessarily cheaper.

Last night, we had the chance to attend an outstanding Barolo wine dinner organized by the Singapore Straits Wine Company at the classy modern Italian restaurant, OTTO Ristorante.

Vietti winemaker Francesco Cordero was the guest speaker for the evening. He shared with us how his grandfather, Alfredo Currado, broke the norm in the 1960s and became one of the first to select and vinify grapes from single vineyards to produce Barolo wines as opposed to the traditional way of combining grapes from many vineyards with different qualities. Most importantly to me, this producer of Barolo still uses the traditional method of slow fermentation and aging in large casks.

Although not very fluent with the English language, Francesco was very eager to introduce the fine Vietti wines to us. He was at our table for quite a while before the dinner commenced, answering our questions, showing us maps and pictures from his iPad and sharing his childhood stories at the vineyard. We thoroughly enjoyed talking to him.

We tasted a total of 8 outstanding wines and I love almost all of the Vietti wines. All of us have different opinions and favorites but for me, if I have to pick one for special mentioning, it has to be the Barolo Rocche. This is a single-vineyard Barolo DOCG. The grapes are selected from the 46 year old vineyards in Rocche of Castiglione. The Rocche shows much intensity mixed with balance. The tannins, although strong, are balanced and smooth leaving a long and elegant finish which lingers pleasingly on your palate.

If you do not want to spend so much (S$320 regular and S$240 discounted price) on a bottle of wine, I would recommend the Barbaresco Masseria (although not exactly cheap too at S$209 regular and S$150 discounted price). Also made of 100% Nebbiolo grape, this Barbaresco is also a wine of high quality with outstanding balance, integration and a long, lingering finish.

For hundreds of years, Barolo is often referred to as the King of Wines and the Wine of Kings. Last night, I truly comprehend that saying through the Barolo of Vietti.


** Apologies for the quality of the photos taken with mobile phone camera.

With Vietti winemaker Francesco Cordero

Francesco Cordero sharing with us his winemaking experiences

The range of Vietti wines

Hokkaido Scallop and avocado tartare with clear tomato jelly
Wine pairing - Roero Arneis 2011

Homemade cocoa tagliatelle with duck ragout, raisins and pine nut
Wine pairing - Barbera d'Alba Scarrone 2010

Homemade Dutch veal agnolotti with ossobuco sauce
Wine pairing - Barbaresco Masseria 2007

Rosemary scented rack of lamb with milk baked potatoes
Wine pairing - Barolo Castiglione 2009, Barolo Brunate 2009

US Prime beef tagliate with "Bagnet Vert" Italian parsley sauce
Wine pairing - Barolo Lazzarito 2009, Barolo Rocche 2009

Lemon and Italian meringue tart with assorted berries
Wine pairing - Moscato d'Asti Cascinetta 2012





34 comments:

  1. Nice experience... so many lengjai and lengluis in your dining group ;P

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  2. A great night with fine dining with great wines.

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  3. Wah!!! You're built like that black & white Greek god picture on the wall! LOL!!!
    I'm afraid I don;t drink. Food looks interesting, never tried anything like these before.

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    1. Haha Arthur! I actually put on some weight lately... cannot tell? :D If you compare above photo and the one I posted in the Phuket Kamala travel post more than a year ago, you would be able to tell the difference...

      Food with the right wine pairing is a very enjoyable experience. You should seriously give it a try.

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  4. Bro, I am not eye on that great wines but adore with the Lemon and Italian meringue tart, hehehe..anyway, a wonderful night with great wine!

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    1. Haha, I like the lemon tart too... but with the Moscato d'Asti!

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  5. Hi Alvin,
    I'm eyeing the dessert, Lemon Meringue Tart! Looks divine! And would indeed be lovely with a glass of wine!

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    1. Oh yes, Joyce. Just mentioned the same to sister Sonia above. :D

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  6. Alvin, this is way out of my league but it is interesting to learn about the Barolo wines. I think Arthur's imagination has gone a bit wild. And he isn't even drinking :)

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    1. Hi PH, you need not drink Barolo all the time. As I mentioned in the post, it's not a everyday table wine due to its price tag. For special occasions, it's definitely worth opening a bottle.

      Our dear Arthur! As humorous as always!

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  7. Alvin, you know how wine gets better and better with age, do you think that's the beauty secret of your dining group? ;P My FIL says red wine is good for his blood, thus his excuse of a glass with his daily meal :O ...Nice of you to share with us your expertise and experience:)

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    1. Haha.. Thanks Annie!

      Your FIL is correct, it's not an excuse. A glass of red wine is actually good for the heart.

      No problem... My pleasure!

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  8. Sorry , Alvin ! I'll skip the wine and just try those scrumptious food :D

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    1. Huh Anne! I hope to change your perception of wine... and hopefully you would learn to appreciate it... :D

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  9. what an awesome experience! so you got to taste piemonte barolos lucky thing! glad you had such an enjoyable experience! were they all 2008???

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    1. Hi Anna! Indeed, it was!

      Nope... The Barolos were '09... The Barbaresco '07.

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  10. The dessert caught my eye ;P

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  11. Alvin,
    I love the lemon meringue tart too.
    I don't know much about wine but I learn a lot from you: )

    Er..Is that '帅哥' holding the bottle of wine ... Is that you?
    mui

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    1. Thanks, Mui! Yes, that's me... :D

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    2. Oh! So I saw the real you. : )
      I show my hubby your post, he is eyeing for the beef tagliate. He loves the way it is cooked :p

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    3. Haha... Let me know when you and your family visit Singapore... We can meet up for some makan session and then you can see the REAL me! :D

      Oh I love the tagliatelle too... I'm thinking of making my own pasta at home... homemade definitely taste better... That dish should not be difficult to replicate at home.

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  12. Oh wow! Another delicious evening! Envy! :)

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  13. The lamb looks a bit too rare for me:P the rest looks wonderful!

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    1. Hi Jeannie! It looks rare but the texture was very nice... My favorite dish for the night.

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  14. Great write-up and nice photos. I thoroughly enjoyed myself on my very first wine pairing dinner. Yes Alvin, please include us in your future wine appreciation dinner....cheers!

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    1. Hi Peter! Nice meeting you and your missus. I'll keep you informed...

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  15. You and my husband can be a great wine buddy while I will finish up all the food in front of me. Sounds like a great evening with great food and friends (and wine! haha, you can tell I am not much of a drinker)!

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    1. Hi Nami! Your hubby must be drinking a lot of California wine? Napa and Sonoma Valley?

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  16. Hi Young man, you looking good and very macho. I give you 9/10, mind if I ask your height?? Aiyoh... I so kaypohchi instead of talk about food ask your height for what. LOL

    Very delectable and fine dining. Great posting.

    Have a great week ahead.

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    1. Thanks Amelia! I'm of average height... 1.78m.

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