When we invited friends for dinner yesterday, we had not realized that it was the day of the Super Bowl. Since it had taken a long time to get this group together, Michele, who was doing the cooking, and Ernie, who was bringing most of the wine, did not want to change the date. Needless to say, everyone showed up.
We began with a bottle of non vintage Krug Champagne, my favorite. It was big, luscious, and toasty.
The wine theme of the dinner was Taurasi, made from the aglianico grape, from the Azienda Vinicola Michele Mastroberardino located in the town of Atripalda in the province of Avellino in Campania. The first bottle opened was the 1985 Riserva. It had a very low shoulder which made us wonder if it would be good. Fortunately, it tasted fine, with hints of leather and smoke. The next bottle, a 1977 Riserva was off. The aroma reminded me of bad cigar smoke. The smell would not go away, or so we believed. It was disappointing because 1977 was a good year and I have had this vintage before and enjoyed it. I guess we do not drink great wines but rather great bottles.
Fortunately, I kept what was left of the bottle. We tried it with dinner tonight and the wine was great. It was not showing its age after being open for 24 hours. All of the off aromas were gone. My conclusion is that we should have decanted it and given it more time to breath.
With the meats, we drank the 1973 and 1972 vintages of Taurasi which were both showing very well. The last bottle was the1971. It was the oldest wine but still had plenty of life. We enjoyed it with cheese, an aged Piave and mild young Pecorino Toscano.
A few months ago I drank the 1969 and 1961 vintages of Taurasi. Before that, the oldest I had ever drunk was the legendary 1968 which I was lucky to have on a number of occasions. The 1961 was drinking as good as any of the 1968’s that I have tasted.
I have always been a big fan of the Mastroberardino Taurasi. The 1995 Taurasi “Radici” is a great wine and will last a long time.
Unfortunately starting with the 2001 vintage they have changed their style and the wine has become more modern. It is still a very well made wine but I wish they would have left it alone.