Boca is the New Black (Especially for Nebbiolo Enthusiasts)

I am now officially fascinated with a little Piemontese region called Boca.  Thanks to the fine wine importers at Vinity Wine Company, I had the opportunity to meet Christoph Künzli at a trade tasting in LA’s Terroni.  Christoph bought his winery, Le Piane, from a legendary Boca winemaker named Antonio Cerri, back in 1998.  He had been visiting Boca for years, and had fallen in love with the wines and the place.  Today he keeps the tradition alive, of growing Nebbiolo and other native grapes for a traditional “field blend” of sorts.   These are stunning, delightful wines- and oh, how they can age!

We tasted the most current releases on the Le Piane wines- all delicious, mouth-watering examples of Piemonte’s diverse terroir.  It is always so fun to taste wine in a setting like this- a small vertical of vintages can tell you so much about the course of a wine’s life.  For example, the 2004 had already begun to mellow into that tea-leaf, brown butter kind of melty deliciousness, while the 2006 was still incredibly bright and fruity on the nose.

However the real treat of the afternoon was tasting these recently bottled examples of Antonio Cerri’s work from older vintages.  When Christoph Künzli purchased Le Piane from the Cerri family, he inherited many old casks of wine, still ageing in the cellars.  The 1984 was truly beautiful- all Worcestershire sauce on the nose, with hints of tamari and dusty soy.  On the palate there was an intriguing nori-wrapper quality, that, when coupled with the still-bright red berried fruit, equaled something completely new to me- a kind of perfect umami I have never tasted before in a wine.  I adored every sip.

Boca, I’m coming.  And I’m itching to know more about you.