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swirl and savor

Wine of the Year, 2004 Cigliuti Barbaresco Serraboella

Beth Ribblett

Every once in awhile you come across a truly exquisite wine, one that you can't stop thinking about, whose memory haunts your olfactories and taste buds until you finally have it again. Even in this business where tasting 75 wines a week is the norm, I rarely run across a wine that makes me salivate like this. But knowing my love for Italian wines, our friend Matt Lirette nonchalantly popped this 2004 Barbaresco at his house one evening for dinner and I've been thinking about it ever since. Our trip to the beach this weekend gave me the perfect excuse to have it again as Rachel was making her friend Matko's Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce for dinner on Saturday.

In the glass, the first thing that throws you is the color, a rich ruby tone that tells you this is not a typical Nebbiolo. A true "meditation" wine, the aromas are so intoxicating you never want to take your nose out of the glass, but know you need to start drinking or your wine loving friends will finish the bottle before you even have a sip! But the earthy, leather, cherry and tar perfume keep hinting at the treasures that await your palate. And once you do actually take a drink of this exquisitely elegant yet rich and complex wine that coats your mouth with its velvety texture and flavors of violets, spice box, sweet tobacco and dark fruit, you find that somehow it tastes even better than it smells! Even at its $60+ price tag, it far out shines anything in its range!

Made by a female wine maker, Silvia Cigliuti, this Barbaresco is from Fratelli Cigliuti winery situated on the Serraboella hill, 350 metres above sea level, overlooking the village of Neive, in the Langhe region of Piemonte, Italy. Neive is one of the three villages that produces Barbaresco from the Nebbiolo grape and the Cigliuti is made from 30 year old vines.

Robert Parker says: "The flagship 2004 Barbaresco Serraboella is made in a generous, expansive style that provides balance to the wine’s structural components. Sweet spices, toasted oak, dark fruit, tar and menthol are just some of the nuances that emerge from this harmonious, complete Barbaresco. This is a very representative wine in this vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2024." 92 points

Believing in the fact that there is a lot of good wine out there if you take the time to find it, I'm one of those people who rarely drinks the same wine twice. I've now had the 2004 Cigliuti Barbaresco Serraboella twice and I can't wait to find another excuse to have it again...that's why it's not just my wine of the moment, it's my wine of the year!