Sylla Sebaste 2001 “Bussia” Barolo

Posted by Keith Wallace

For the past few years, there has been an ongoing debate regarding what constitutes a “true” Barolo…or makes a Barolo truly great. On one side of the aisle are the Traditionalists, the Modernists, the line dividing them shifting and blurring as the controversy meanders on its unresolvable way.

It’s a microcosm of the old vs. the new in Italian winemaking, of the forces promoting change in all manners viticultural and those who understand the need for some alterations, but not at the expense of authenticity or singularity.

In that sense, Sebaste’s Barolo would definitely belong in the Modernist camp. Only six years removed from the spectacular vendemmia of 2001, it is already drinking well, unlike the tannic brutes of the recent past that required at least ten years in bottle before you’d consider opening them. That’s not to say the tannins aren’t tangible, just that this comes across more like a mature Barbera or a well-crafted and subtle Barbaresco. The characteristic “Profumo di Langhe” that distinguishes Barolo is still developing, the notes of roses and leather in their early stages. The flavors are redder than the evolved darker berries that should appear with age.

The point is that this can be enjoyed now; it is not an intellectual wine that needs to be “understood” or worthy of deliberation… those are descriptors commonly used when assessing so-called Traditional Barolos. My advice…drink it for what it is and leave the philosophical wrangling to people who wander around banging into trees while ignoring the beauty of the forest.

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