The bottle was unlabelled so only I knew what its contents were. In some circumstances this could be thought of as a mean trick but it was genuine: Laura Gallino had given me a couple of bottles of her family's 2008 Roero Riserva "Sorano" when I visited last year before the label had been finalised.
This is one of those wines that too many wine enthusiasts just won't get around to trying. How many have heard of Roero, for example? I hadn't until I was dragged there a couple of years ago - well, OK, I was called up by Fabrizio Battaglino who persuaded me to visit him as I was staying just a few miles away. The Gallino estate proved even trickier to find than Fabrizio's parents' house!
It was striking that this is a family that lives for its wine. The house (or row of houses; it seems the whole family lives together) is ramshackled but the winery is immaculate. This comes through in the wines which are made with great care and precision.
Sorano is certainly the best wine I have tasted from this estate, though. In fact, it is unlike just about any Roero I have tasted before, offering a more ethereal quality, somewhere between Barolo and Barbaresco. It has dusty tannins which need time but the fruit is simply gorgeous and the potential of the wine quite phenomenal, offering everything you could ask for from Nebbiolo. Certainly, there are some very good Nebbiolo wines selling for considerably less money than this one but few are going to offer as much as this one does.