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BAROLO ITALY’S FAVORITE WINE UNVEILS ITS SECRETS TO THE LOVERS OF ITS LUSCIOUS FLAVORS AND SENSUAL SCENTS BY

CLIO BRUNO

Master of Reds

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Image of the Langhe region, in the Piedmont territory where the celebrated wine is produced.

The vineyards of Barolo sit in the Langhe Hills, in the southern end of Piedmont, just southwest of the town of Alba (the white truffle capital of the world). Only vineyards situated in the hills with suitable slopes and orientations are considered right for production. This small area only stretches for about 3,000 acres, not much more than the vineyard land in Margaux, a single Bordeaux commune. The wine comes entirely from Nebbiolo grapes, a name derived from the fog (nebbia in Italian), that frequently envelops this hilly terrain. This microclimate makes this a blessed, but also cursed area with a marginal climate in which determinate conditions must exist. Only occasionally these conditions lend themselves to

piedmont region

iedmont can be considered one of Italy’s most significant wine regions. Here you encounter three of Italy’s four Bs: Barbaresco, Barbera and "the king of wines and the wine of kings,'' Barolo. The fourth B, Brunello, is Tuscany’s precious jewel. Barolo may be the greatest Italian red wine. It is a masculine, fullbodied wine with aromas and flavors of, among others, strawberries, chocolate, licorice, tobacco, roses, and Asian spices. The experts find in it a garnet red color with orange reflections, an intense, appealing and ethereal odor, while the dry and full flavor inspires words such as hardy and austere but velvety. Several factors contribute to the magic of Barolo, most derived from the region itself.

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BAROLO

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Land of great wines


The Fontanafredda Estate The buildings are still colored with the shades of the Savoy family.

DAMILANO IN THE TOP 100 WINES O

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n the Wine Spectator list of the TOP 100, four of the 15 Italian brands come from Piedmont and one of them is the Barolo 2001 by Damilano, scoring a very good 92 points, with 4,100 cases made last year and $33 a bottle (not bad if compared to other Barolos, which price can raise up to over $60). Barolo Damilano 2001 is a DOCG (Registered and Certified Designation of Origin). It has a red color with orange reflections and a dry, full and austere taste, perfect with dishes of red meat and game. It comes entirely from Nebbiolo grapes and it is ready to be savored but will be excellent also in the next 8-10 years. “Being among the first 100 wines in the world is a huge success that motivates us and rewards the work we have been doing with passion for years.” Says Paolo Damilano who, with brother Mario and cousins Guido and Margherita, runs the firm since 1997, continuing a family tradition of over a century. The credit the wine obtaines is also due to the important contribution of enologist Beppe Caviola and agronomist Gian Piero Romana, who helped the four Damilano turning the family small production into a successful business. The company’s vineyards are situated in the famous Langhe region, the limestone- clayey hills, blessed by a unique microclimate that allows the fragile Nebbiolo grapes to fully ripe. With these grapes, the finest of Piedmont, Damilano produces each year around 80 thousand bottles of great Barolos: Barolo Liste (7 thousand bottles a year) rough and deep, with accents of cacao aroma; Barolo Base (50 thousand bottles) characterized by warm notes of cherry and mint; and above all Barolo Cannubi (7 thousand bottles) a sumptuous wine with a deep perfume of spices, coming from a 15e, qui sopra, vineyardCavour. more than 50 years old. il Castello hectare di Grinzane The Wine Spectator entry “is an important recognition of the quality of our Barolo on an international level” continues Paolo “on top of prestigious Italian awards we recently received.” In fact also this years the Barolo Cannubi won, for the second year in a row, the “Tre Bicchieri” Italian Wines Guide 2006 Gambero Rosso/Slow Food; it won for the first time the “Cinque Grappoli” Duemilavini 2006 by AIS (Italian Sommeliers Association) and the “Super Tre Stelle” on the Oro I Vini Guide by Veronelli 2006. “Our biggest satisfaction” says Paolo “is to see the pride my father, now 80, has when he sees the new generation continuing the family’s tradition. It was a great gift for him, and this gives us great energy”.

Camillo Cavour

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Marta Mondelli

producing a "classic" Barolo. The region has more in common with Burgundy than with perpetually sunny California or Australia. In fact Nebbiolo grapes generally ripen in late October, long after other varieties have been picked. They struggle to ripen in this difficult climate. However, with the help of hot summers and both international and traditional artisanship, they can produce a uniquely perfumed and powerful red. The goal is to keep the grape on its vine into early November to allow it to fully develop. The wine gets its name from

Barolo, a pale-brick city village of 760 inhabitants, one of the 11 communes of this area, five of which produce 87% of the wine. Castiglione-Falleto, Monforte d'Alba, Serralunga d'Alba, Barolo, and La Morra. Particularly the wine produced by the latter two communes is more refined. The wine’s quality was evident as far as the beginning of the 19th century, when Pope Pius VII exclaimed, after having tasted an excellent Barolo: "Ah, La Morra! A beautiful sky and good wine!'' Afterward, he ensured that the wine would always be available at his court.

Barolo Chinato, a well-kept secret I

ts color is deep garnet red, its bouquet is full, rich, heady, and opulent, exuding spices and aromatic herbs, and its palate is sweet, full-bodied, velvet-smooth, pleasantly bitter in the finish…A glass of a hearty Barolo Chinato is a veritable and unique way to enjoy a rich chocolate dessert or any favored sweets. Flavored with the cinchona bark, rhubarb root and gentian, this wine is a well kept secret that should not be a secret anymore. The active ingredients of the plants listed previously are extracted by means of a maceration process at room temperature, at the end of which a selection of aromatic herbs are added, including cardamom. After a 20-day, 30oC maceration, the wine goes into the traditional oak barrels where it matures for at least two years. Barolo Chinato was born in Piedmont at the end of the 19th century and quickly became popular for its reputation as a medicinal wine. The recipe followed for this wine calls for a natural infusion of China Calissaja bark, rhubarb root, and about ten other aromatic herbs. By the mid-1900s, Barolo Chinato had practically disappeared due its costliness, the years required to produce it and shortage of supply of the basic ingredient (Barolo). Nowadays production is limited as it takes a long time to be produced. The alcohol content is relatively low, in order to enjoy the wine leisurely between friends and sip it with no rush. It makes excellent after-dinner wine, as it has enough character and flavor to stand on its own, but with a splash of seltzer water is a delicate and refreshing aperitif.

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107 experienced a winning streak from 1996 to 2000, with each vintage displaying different levels of fruit, balance and elegance. Wine Spectator has awarded the 2000 Piedmont vintage as the first ever to receive 100 points - this is a first worldwide. In addition, Robert Parker didn’t hesitate calling the 1997 Piedmont vintage so good that it's "freakish." It is not an inexpensive wine, although it can reach $200 for a bottle of Riserva, you can find good bottles for as low as $40 to $60. To taste this phenomenal wine the Italian way it is ideal to pair it with the region’s cuisine, which consists of hearty, rich food. It can be enjoyed with the majestic truffle, shaved on pasta, but also with a mushroom risotto, braised beef or the Piedmont traditional Toma cheese. Surely this is not a wine for everyday use, but it can be enjoyed at any age, as the people from Barolo do. It is a rich wine for the young, a solid and less obvious wine for the middle aged and a mature wine with which to savor the pleasures of the wisest years. ★

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Continuing an appreciation that started from medieval times, Barolo was often found on the table of Louis XIV, while other admirers of the wine included King Charles Albert, the Marquises of Saluzzo and of Monferrato and Maria Cristina of Savoy. But this admiration never diminished and now Barolo belongs in the cellar alongside elite Grand Crus of France and cult wines from California. Barolo must be aged for a three years period in barrels, of which at least two in oak or chestnut casks. When subjected to aging of at least five years, the wine can be labeled a Riserva. But many of the wines produced deserve ten or fifteen years of cellaring. So if you are looking to drink young wines from Piedmont, better choose Barbera and Dolcetto for everyday occasions. Barolo represents a superior investment. That is why it has gradually become popular in the United States. It is just as frequent to drink Barolo as it is to store it for later. There has never been a better time to invest in it. Piedmont has

Barolo flavored chocolates.

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The different flavors of pasta

t seems like we are never happy with the simple and plain taste of a food product and that flavored ingredients are slowly creeping into our kitchens. Flavored pastas are made by adding ingredients, such as garlic, parsley, beets, spinach, basil, or bell pepper to enhance the flavor, aroma, and visual appeal of plain pasta. Flavored pasta comes in several shapes and sizes, including macaroni, spaghetti, bow-ties, corkscrews, shells, linguini, and others. Flavored pasta is also available fresh. Made with semolina, Barolo wine and beets, Barolo DOCG flavored pasta is a real delicacy. The perfect shape for this pasta is that of the tagliatelle, nice and thick. These tagliatelle are best tasted with rich sauces and, of course, with a nice glass of Barolo wine!

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Grinzane Cavour and its castle - The native town of Camillo Cavour, famous politician of the Risorgimento.


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Master of the Culinary Arts

AT RISTORANTE BAROLO, EXECUTIVE CHEF MAURIZIO MARFOGLIA RECREATES THE RICH CUISINE OF PIEDMONT RENDERING A MENU LADEN WITH RISOTTOS, FRESH PASTAS IMPORTED CHEESES, GRILLED FISH AND SEAFOOD, ALL MADE WITH A TWIST OF INNOVATION AND MUCH CREATIVITY BY

MARTHA SUENEGA

hen in New York, just mention this address – 398 West Broadway – and anybody would know where you are going. You will find yourself in the fashionable quarter known as Soho, among fine boutiques and art galleries, and across the spacious front of a restaurant.

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Maurizio Marfoglia

Barolo is not just a wine, a delicious and sensual red wine from Piedmont, but the place to be in Soho for a taste of traditional Italian cuisine with a sassy twist. Established in 1990, Ristorante Barolo has a reputation of excellence among local and international guests for its exquisite Northern Italian cuisine

complemented by an award winning wine list of over 1200 precious wines… all selected by a Master Sommelier and personally tasted by the staff! As I am sipping a delicate and light glass of Soave wine, sitting in the first room of the restaurant, my old friend, the Executive Chef Maurizio Marfoglia, is in the kitchen preparing a nice filetto with a green peppercorn sauce for the owner, Paolo Secondo, who is watching a soccer game on a giant screen. The same screen attracts hundreds and hundreds of clients during the summer when it is placed by the entrance to show the activity surrounding the fountain in the back garden. Maurizio Marfoglia, who is from a small town just north of Milan, has trained in the best kitchens throughout Italy, France and Germany. He launched a successful early career owning two popular Italian restaurants by the age of 27and his success continued when, in 1994, he ventured to New York City. Since then he has had an amazing career as Executive Chef at some of the city’s best Italian restaurants including Sette MoMA. At Ristorante Barolo since 2001, Maurizio continues to innovate and perfect his specialty, Northern Italian cuisine, while overseeing a staff of thirty cooks in his kitchen. He has also served as the private chef to the Italian Ambassador to the United Nations and taught at the Cooking Institute of America. It is amazing and unbelievable at the same time, thinking that he was destined to become a dentist! And this is how I met him, years and years ago, as an assistant to his father at his dentist studio…but that didn’t last long and Maurizio ran away to the kitchen! Because I know him so well it’s hard to interview him, he’s joking around and

making me laugh, giving me silly answers, challenging me to get anything out of what he is saying. The reality is that Maurizio likes to play and his ability to do is reflected in his menus and his recipes. “I like to reinvent classic Italian cooking by using traditional recipes revamped with new or unknown ingredients,” Maurizio declares, “see for example my green apple ravioli served with a lamb ragù, or the chocolate tagliolini, which by the way are not my invention but it is an old recipe that has been forgotten.” Having been a vegetarian for many years, Maurizio loves vegetables and is always looking for new ones; his most recent find are purple potatoes. “Looking for new ingredients is probably the best part of an Executive Chef’s job,” he admits, “You speak with the purveyors, you hear what they have and from there you start to create something new. Sometimes I get really drunk at night, then the following morning I have inspiration for a new dish…” Of course this last part is a joke! Maurizio is indeed an artist who, instead of having colorful paints, uses food to put together real masterpieces for the taste buds but also for the eyes. There was a time, a year or two back, that Maurizio, was experimenting with geometric food and pasta & fagioli was served as a small jello cube that, when pierced, released the pasta and bean in the plate. The idea was great but the preparation process was too messy so the dish is not on Barolo’s menu anymore. But the Executive Chef is not only a creator of recipes, he is also a manager and a teacher who overviews a kitchen of numerous cooks who have to feed up to 450 people at a time. Every April, depending on the weather, Barolo opens the doors of its outdoor garden a favored destination of many. Hostesses get dollar bills from clients who want to sit there and enjoy the nice weather

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The Executive Chef is not only a creator of recipes, he is also a manager and a teacher who has to feed up to 450 people at a time.

surrounded by cherry trees while sipping a glass of Barolo. “Every dish on our menu complements a good glass of Barolo,” Maurizio explains, “we have a fillet in a Barolo sauce that is out of this world. But, you know that I am a bit unconventional, I think that a nice glass of young Barolo would go perfectly with a strong fish soup…I know many would hate me for that, the idea that fish goes with white and all, but I think they will marry really well.” It’s a belief that can be changed as the role of the Executive Chef is also that of an educator who, combines for us, ingredients we would have never thought would

go well together. Who would have imagined that parmigiano reggiano ice cream would be a delight? I had to try it from Maurizio to believe it. “Yes, I am the soul of this restaurant,” he continues to joke, but in reality he is telling the truth…no actually a half truth, because the location of the restaurant is important at 50%. Ristorante Barolo is an exceptional setting for a formal dinner or a romantic rendez vous, but if the food were not as sensational as it is your experience there would not be a complete success. ★

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O n the Wine Spectator list of the TOP 100, four of the 15 Italian brands come from Piedmont and I ts color is deep garnet red, its bouquet...