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PB Veo 07 I might come off as an inkhorn when talking about wine, especially since I ‘ve had to immerse myself in books to fill in the gaps, but the other elements of service and sales will often help round out my delivery. When I regurgitate information, it’s to solidify my own foundation—not to be pedantic—and share a discoverer’s excitement for producers carrying on long…centuries-long, traditions. In my studies one producer has always stood out even without tasting the wines; in Umbria, a land renowned for truffles and Sagrantino, among other things, Paolo Bea is the cognoscenti’s king. The modest family history and their felicitous wines are always well regarded. Perhaps it was the winery’s labels that conveyed epochs of the vintage and treatment of the grapes with such transparency that had first attracted me. Whatever the connection, I had stockpiled numerous vintages of Paolo Bea.

A sommelier acquaintance had prodded me to try the Beas immediately and was incredulous of my never having opened a single bottle while having bought so much—the thought was incongruent. And in a reflex, I purchased more, this time the 2007 Rosso de Veo, which had been described to me as the younger vines of Sagrantino; more approachable and a glimpse of what was cached.

That night I joined the 70-90% of consumers said to drink wine the same day they purchase it, removing the foil of a relatively inexpensive bottle at forty-seven dollars (!), with surgical precision. The glass and carafe were left to air out for a while.

A shimmering garnet, opaque in the stemware, casting a developing scent of boysenberry jam, lavender, balsamic reduction, cedar and worn leather. Dry and powerful, a formidable medium body, with round, prevalent tannins (medium-plus) and acid to match, that flooded the palate with blackberries, dried herbs and sweet spices.

The youthful and robust table wine had put things in perspective and had eclipsed studying in a sip. One seven-fifty isn’t enough to change my approach to learning about wine, but it does suggest that there need to be shorter intervals between books and tasting, whenever possible. Grand Cru and First growths welcome, as is any wine from Paolo Bea!

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