“The wine of kings, the king of wines” is the famous saying regarding Barolo, and, indeed, Carlo Alberto di Savoia, the King of Savoy (which then ruled most of Piedmont) and the father of the first King of Italy, was so enamored of the wine that he acquired vineyards in the area and produced his own Barolo. Named after the Commune of Barolo, the core of Barolo has always been the communes of Barolo, La Morra, Serralunga, Monforte d’Alba and Castiglione Falletto. The two main types of soils in Barolo are conveniently delineated roughly along the line of the Alba-Barolo road, with the heavier clay and limestone soils on the west side giving more pronounced aromatics and softer tannins to the wines of Barolo and La Morra. The lighter soils to the east give more structure and color to the wines of Serralunga, Monforte d’Alba and Castiglione Falletto. A wine labeled as simply Barolo will usually pull grapes from both sides of the divide to make a wine that incorporates all the characteristics traditional to the wine, but more and more there are Menzione Geografica Aggiuntiva indicated on the label. They may be the broader sub-zones, as is the case in this wine, or specify the exact vineyard, if 85% of the grapes come from the indicated vineyard. La Morra has always been considered the finest of the zones, despite Barolo having pride of name, with more intense floral and spice notes and elegant tannins that are ready to drink years earlier than the average Barolo. With modern winemaking advances, better farming and warmer growing seasons, the rule of thumb for when to open a Barolo is now 5-10 years after harvest. In early drinking zones like La Morra that means that they will be ready soon after their release, which must be no earlier than 38 months after harvest. So this seven-year-old La Morra, from a vintage considered to be one of the best ever, is near or at its peak right now. Osvaldo Viberti is the third generation of his family to make wine in Barolo and his style of wine is quite traditional. He farms organically to let the special soils of La Morra express themselves and to ensure that his kids inherit vineyards in the same or better shape than he did. The grapes ferment in temperature controlled tanks that prevent the over extraction of tannins and oxidation that used to plague Baroli that experienced very slow ferments in frigid cellars. Aging is done in botti, large oak casks that impart no oak flavors while simultaneously limiting exposure to oxygen. Pair this with any meaty dish, even intensely flavored ones like spiced lamb.