01 Antoniolo, Gattinara
We'd driven so close to the tornadoes, going south toward the flatlands, that the antenna had bent over on itself. Listening to the static dialed in through the hail, we gunned the V10 home. The paint had started peeling off from the hood. The door panels felt electric. And I was hungry. The storm had whetted my appetite--that faint smell of wet earth, the sweetness of the day breaking through, the cigarette we'd needed to calm our nerves. If you could bottle that, you'd have one shivering 750 of this Gattinara--a pure nebbiolo wine that comes close to capturing Barolo's mystique. Fitting, as the sister DOCG, that it would. It's the rare early-drinking version of that sternly traditional 2001 vintage, already picking up a heady aroma of black truffles, tamarind, and dried beef. The flavor's as lean as Bourgogne, quaffable but permeating with dark berry fruit, sliced almonds, and violets.