Sunday, July 17, 2011

Giacomo Conterno Barbera with cheeseburger

I mean, what DOESN'T go with a juicy cheeseburger?! - IMHO, the greatest creation of American gastronomy! To continue his annual tradition of pairing vinous greats with burgers, Dan pulled out Giacomo Conterno!

Conterno is one of the top three names in traditional Barolo - the other two are Bruno Giacosa and Bartolo Mascarello. Yes, there are many others, commanding great respect and high prices. But you mention the name of Giacomo Conterno, and drooling starts. Barolo is Conterno's top expression, but the winery also make impressive Barbera - structured, deep, balanced, and not cheap. Now, of course I have asked in the past - why should Barbera aspire to greater heights than an everyday drink that Piedmontese have traditionally taken it for? But be that as it may, this year my friend Dan "the gour-man-d" served his fantastico garlic shiso burgers with two 2008 Conterno Barberas d'Alba - Cerretta (new vineyard) and Cascina Francia (venerable old vineyard). Cascina Francia which spends two years in large Slavonian oak barrels is even more serious than Cerretta. Excellent wines, especially for those who want to see how high a Barbera can climb, figuratively speaking. (For another example of spectacular, high-end Barbera, check Vietti's Barbera d'Alba "Scarrone Vigna Vecchia").

Dan's half-pound cheeseburger was amazing as always - juice-dripping hunk of melt-in-your-mouth ground cow, accentuated by shiso in place of lettuce. With burger though, a heartier wine such as Tuscany's Sangiovese (Brunello) or Cab-based wine (Bordeaux, Napa Cab, Super-Tuscan), or Umbria's Sagrantino or Veneto's Valpolicella, in my opinion, probably would have worked even better!

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