We got lucky when Paul Smith moved his wine shop from the north end of the West Valley to the South end. Changed my ten mile drive to one mile in his new shop, the Woodland Hills Wine Company. Son Kyle runs the place now but you can
usually find Paul glad-handing everyone and selling some of the outstanding selections domestic and international in his store. I love the place for more reasons than the presence of the sardonic Paul. WHWC has an excellent staff from veteran Kai to newbie Lily. They hire good people. I also like the vibe which is helpful if you want it. WHWC has a W-I-D-E selection of wines from the very well priced to the collectible trophies; from DRC – you will have to ask, it isn’t on the floor – to the discount wall on your right as you walk in from the parking lot. However, what I like the most about WHWC are the superb wine tastings they put on throughout the year.
Almost any Friday or Saturday there is something going on. But every now and then there is a tasting that you cannot afford to miss. Such was the case a few weeks ago when APS Wines and Spirits Import Company poured 24 of their top selections at my local wine store.
Who is APS? Alan Sobczak founded APS Wine & Spirits in California with Robert Chadderdon as Wine Director in 1998. Chadderdon who is already a very private if not downright mysterious figure, apparently retired or at least is no longer with APS so Alan now runs that show and he was present at the tasting. Featured wine houses imported by APS were Domaine Romain Collet of Chablis (Romain Collet was on the scene!); Fattoria di Fubbiano of Tuscany, and Gianfranco Bovio of Piedmont. “Bovio – Comprised of 10 hectares of crus in the prime Barolo slopes of Arborina, Gattera, Rocchettevino, and majestic Bricco Parrusi, Bovio’s project has been an unprecedented success, elaborating a range of vineyards that exemplify the terroir of La Morra.” [ed. rather than paraphrase we admit lifting the preceding statement straight from Lily's WHWC blog post]. tBoW attended with Dotoré whose company is always an asset. We focus on the Barolo selections from Bovio…which were ample and impressive. This is a 35 year old enterprise based in La Morra which is arguably the prettiest town in Piemonte, narrowly topping Monforte. The premium wines are produced in relatively small quantities of approximately 500 cases each. The total production is about 5600 cases. Bovio is not one of the big names in Barolo. The Bovio name is associated with a couple of quite famous restaurants in Piemonte. The winery project is a 70s era resurrection of some old vines owned by grand Papa. The winemaker Walter Porasso has been there from the beginning. La Morra is known for producing the most feminine of Barolo wines. However, there was nothing girly about the Bovio lineup. Here are our tasting notes.
2007 Bovio Barolo Vigna Rocchettevino $45: Brick red color after 5 years. Youngest vines at 50 years! Nice nose, light tannins. The most feminine of the wines.
2007 Barolo Vigna Arborina $51: More of a floral nose. Pretty even from what is regarded as a tighter vintage than the 2006.
2007 Barolo Vigna Gattera $51: Dark red color. Apparently, the top line vineyard in Bovio selections. These younger wines are tight. Need an aerator!
2004 Barolo Vigna Gattera $63: Brick red color. With the tobacco nose and the tarry flavors. Lean and muscular like a farmer.
1996 Barolo Vigna Gattera $76: This is a great vintage that tBoW knows pretty well so we were anxious to get into it. Still young and tannic! Confirms Bovio makes tough wines old style Barolo. Think Rinaldi-light. Beety flavors. Showing some sweetness. Could still go but we would drink it now. Again and again.
1995 Barolo Vigna Gattera $72: This vintage was less friendly than 1996 which was luscious. This is a tough wine, showing little fruit. We have enough 1995 Baroli to regard this as typical to that vintage. Drink it up.
2000 and 2005 Bovio Barolo Bricco Parussi: These are the selection bottlings from the only vineyards outside La Morra. The 2004 which was served in mag showed dark bittersweet chocolate flavors. We preferred the 1996.
Having never before tasted wines from Bovio we would say these are not delicate wines. They are serious wines meant for aging. Winemaker Walter Porasso keeps the alcohol levels near 14%. The wines represent the old style of making Barolo in Piemonte, aged in the monster oak barrels and then in cement prior to bottling. Baroli wines are never inexpensive. The opportunity to taste so many vintages and vineyards was a bargain at the $30 admission. This was a fantastic tasting with plenty of wines to satisfy the most curious enophile, novice and sophisticate (that would be us). Gratitude to WHWC for putting on another super special Friday late afternoon event. Special thanks to DobléM for the label fotos.