When looking for a special bottle to bring to a dinner party, you can't go wrong with a Barolo — unless, that is, the main course is fish. But for anything else, especially braised meats or roasts, a Barolo can hold its own with the best of California, France or Australia.
This one comes from the grand old house of Pio Cesare, founded way back in 1881, one of the first to bottle in Piedmont, Italy. The firm is now run by Cesare's great-grandson Pio Boffa. It's a fine example of classic Barolo and at a very good price for the quality. Fresh and round, it has a chiseled structure and wonderful balance. No need to wait on this one unless you want to: It's drinking beautifully now, superb with a roast duck or brasato (beef braised in red wine).
Region: Piedmont, Italy
Price: $47 to $57
What it goes with: Roast duck, braised short ribs, roasts
Where to find it: Amazing Grapes Wine Store in Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 888-9463, http://www.amazinggrapeswinestore.com; Green Jug in Woodland Hills, (818) 887-9463, http://www.greenjug.com; K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, (323) 464-9463, http://www.klwines.com; Los Angeles Wine Co. in Los Angeles, (800) 854-8466 and Palm Desert (760) 346-1763; Mel & Rose Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood, (323) 655-5557, http://www.melandrose.com; Wally's Wine & Spirits in West Los Angeles, (310) 475-0606, http://www.wallywine.com; and Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454, http://www.winex.com