It is that time of the year again when the cooler air of the fall season descends upon us here at The Fearrington House. One by one, we exchange the crisp and refreshing white wines of summer for the richly textured red wines more suitable for the cooler months.
This year, Max and I are delighted to be able to offer our guests some iconic wines that are rarely seen on any restaurants’ wines by the glass offerings -– Guido Porro’s Vigna Lazzairasco Barolo, and Angelo Gaja’s highly regarded Super Tuscan, Ca’ Marcanda Promis.
Known as the “King of Wines and the Wine of Kings,” Barolo is a wine that elicits poetic feelings to its drinkers with its rich, full-bodied texture, offering earthy nuances from its Italian heritage. Brandied Morello cherries, stewed wild strawberries, dark plum skins, and Christmas spice are some of the more common descriptors for this wine. There is also that unmistakable wilted roses and violets, as well as freshly shaved trifola d’Alba –- the most expressive indication of how terroir comes into play with this wine. But more often than not, beyond those fruit, earth, and spice lies the intense structure that only Barolo has –- vibrant acidity, silky texture, and a firm structure that is perfect with our robust fall menu.
The Guido Porro Vigna Lazzairasco Barolo 2009 is a traditional-style wine, aged in Slavonian botti, which means that there is none of those distracting, cloying flavors that French new oak can impart, if handled clumsily. Vigna Lazzairasco is also a monopoli, a vineyard that is farmed only by this winemaker, located in one of the most prized areas of Barolo, mainly due to its famed southwestern exposure in Serralunga d’Alba. At $18 a glass, this elegant and understated wine is definitely one of the more affordable luxuries that you can sip and enjoy with your dinner.
On the other end of the spectrum, there is Angelo Gaja’s Ca’Marcanda Promis 2010, a Super Tuscan that is a blend of Merlot, Syrah, and Sangiovese. Angelo Gaja is highly renowned for his Barbarescos and how much aging potential his wines have. Beyond Piedmont are some of his vineyards, including the Ca’Marcanda Estate in Maremma in Tuscany, which focuses on more international tastes, as well as their approachability.
The first few flavors that came to mind when I tasted this wine were raspberries and cherries covered with dark chocolate ganache, black pepper, cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean -– very plush and smooth on the palate, with a very comforting, warming finish. This would be my wine of choice to drink, sitting in front of The Fearrington House’s roaring fireplace. The next time you come and visit us, do ask our knowledgeable staff in the restaurant about these wines and join us in welcoming the new season.