AG Pick: 2006 Pier Asnas Langhe Rosso

With the many varieties and styles of Italian wine, it’s hard to know how to pick out a good bottle.  Fortunately I had some help finding the 2006 Pier Asnas Langhe Rosso.

I heard about this Italian red from Michael Bittel, wine connoisseur and owner of Sunset Corners Wines & Liquors in South Miami.  Michael, whose longtime passion for wine is evident in every story he shares about a bottle or tasting experience, made me thirsty for a sip of the Langhe Rosso with one vivid email.

Try to resist this description:

Langhe Rosso

“Like many wine lovers there are certain memorable wines that are benchmarks in our appreciation of the grape.  Unique moments that when experienced just snap back the head and make one simply think.. WOW!  This is what it’s all about!  These wines are rare and epiphany moments that are etched in our wine experiences forever.  I do not use the term loosely — I’ve had only a handful of such wines in my lifetime.

“1971 Von Simmerin Hochheimer Domdechaney Spatlese, 1947 Chateau Cheval Blanc, 1996 Bryant Family Cabernet, 1983 DRC Montrachet are all included in this list.  The first, and usually only time, I had these wines the angels sang, the lights grew brighter and I was buzzed!  Not from the alcohol but from the ecstasy of the experience.  About two months ago it happened again.  To say I was surprised is a mild understatement, because it wasn’t an expensive wine.  So I drank it again.  It blew me away again!  Then I bought a case for my own cellar and drank it again!  I love this wine!  What’s more, every person whom we recommended the wine to has come back and said how extraordinary it is!”

Want to know more?  The 2006 Pier Asnas Langhe Rosso is from the Piedmont region in northwest Italy.  It’s a blend of Nebbiolo, Barbera and Petit Verdot from hand selected estate-grown grapes from the family’s vineyards in Treiso, Neive and Barbaresco.

The wine is special because it’s really the first high quality wine from the Pier estate.  For years the winery had produced wines with mixed results, until skilled winemaker Dante Scaglione (formerly of Giacosa) came on as their enologist and consultant.  He saw a lot of potential in the estate’s terroir and tradition, and with hard work was able to produce this delicious wine.

This red has the delicacy and finesse of a fine Pinot Noir, with pleasant red fruit notes that are reminiscent of a good Merlot.  It has an intense, fruity bouquet and a warm soft touch on the palate with elegant flavors of cherries, raspberries, plum and a hint of spice on the lingering fruit finish.

Here is Michael’s take:

“If you are looking for big heavy over the top reds, this isn’t for you.  But if you are looking for the kind of power that can come from delicacy, from intensity of flavor, from uniqueness of complexity, this wine is overwhelming!  I love it!  It’s not from a famous estate, it hasn’t been reviewed, it has no points, but it has our unqualified recommendation.  And the truth is I almost hope you don’t buy it. I’ll drink it all myself!”

Michael is not only a great storyteller, he’s a great salesman — his pitch for the Pier Asnas Langhe Rosso certainly worked on me!  And now I’m passing along this wine, suggesting you give it a taste.

Sunset Corners sells the 2006 Pier Asnas Langhe Rosso for $29.99.  Michael guarantees that once word gets out about this wine it’ll cost much much more.  So buy a bottle to drink now and a couple to enjoy later!

Sunset Corners Wines & Liquors is located at 8701 SW 72nd Street in Miami.  For more information call (305) 271-8492.