I am no stranger to using a fine bottle of wine for cooking. As some of you may know, I have been known to use a Châteauneuf-du-Pape when making lamb stew, not that I would do that every time, mind you. So when I found this recipe for a Brasato al Barolo, I was excited about giving it a try. Having said that, I was not prepared to use an entire bottle of Barolo to prepare it. Even with the lamb stew I only used about half a bottle of the Châteauneuf. Perhaps someday I will follow the recipe more closely.
But I did pull out from the closet a 2005 Barolo by Silvio Grasso to serve with this dish. If you find any 2005 Barolos still out there, you should grab them, for the year was an outstanding vintage for that region. This one still has a lot of cellar time left, even in my closet. Lucky for me I still have a few bottles left. The tannin remains firm, but it is rich with dark cherry and even a hint of tobacco. It was an excellent wine, but I am dreaming of the day in maybe another year or two when this wine will be heavenly.
For the Brasato, I used a bottle of Damilano Marghe, a 2009 Nebbiolo D'Alba. I figured it would be a suitable substitute for the Barolo in the dish considering the grape was the same. It wasn't badly priced and I was familiar with the house of Damilano. The dish is relatively easy to prepare, but does take a long time because the meat is braised at a low temperature of just 250 degrees. It was served with Brussels sprouts roasted with dried cherries and walnuts, and roasted parsnips (which, sadly, were overcooked).
I'll rate the Barolo a 9 for now, but it wouldn't surprise me if this reaches 10 status in another year or so.