Today I received a visit from the noted English wine expert and writer, Mr. Stephen Brook. Mr. Brook’s career as a wine connoisseur has spanned 25 years, but this was my first opportunity to meet him in person. My biggest concern was to be able to offer wines at an optimal temperature. At 30 degrees, the alcohol becomes more pronounced and can create a misleading experience of wine. And so I took care to put a selection of wines in the refrigerator for about an hour prior to our appointment: the Dolcetto Ercolino 2009, the Langhe Nebbiolo 2007, the Barolo Serralunga 2005 and the Barolo Riserva 2004. I know, it seems sacrilege to put a Barolo in the fridge, but trust me, when the temperature outside is so hot, this is the only option for truly appreciating the organoleptic qualities of wine. Mr. Brook is professional and gentile and in addition to talking about wine he indulged me with conversation about cricket, a typical English sport that has piqued my curiosity (although I still don’t quite understand the rules). I showed him the nebbiolo vineyard, planted in 1970 and the new plantings of Zio Nando and Briccolina, but the thing that interested him most was the climate control system in the wine cellar, where we maintain a temperature between 10 and 20 degrees year-round using clean energy.
Mr. Brook and I will see each other again in London on September 20 at the Institute of Directors, where he and the staff of Decanter will host a tasting of the best Barolo wines of Langa. I’ll be waiting for you!