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Francesco Rinaldi e Figli Barolo 1974

Barolo, produced entirely from nebbiolo, is one of the most long-lived reds in the world. Full of structure, acidity, and pent-up fruit that releases itself like a slow-motion incoming tide, this great Italian is never in a hurry to impress. The occasion of this bottle was five school friends born in 1974 all turning 45 this year. Until Saturday night, I knew only one of them, Ron Khoo, wine buyer for Cathay Pacific. Originally from Malaysia, they came to Siem Reap for the celebrations, arriving from Melbourne, Hong Kong, and Kuala Lumpur. Francesco Rinaldi e Figli, founded in 1870, was the top red of the evening. Decanted an hour ahead (two would had been better as the wine kept opening up), ruby in complexion, sandalwood, mint, red cherries, freshness, energy, verve, and a finish from Piedmont to Rome. Stunner of a wine!

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